Govt, media share common responsibility - Ramaphosa

2015-11-21 12:08
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Pretoria - Government and the media share a common responsibility of being accountable to the public for the way they perform their functions, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday.

"Each of us – politicians, journalists, editors – are custodians of our democracy, of development, of justice and equality," he told the SA National Editors' Forum during engagements at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

"We all therefore have a profound and abiding interest in the progress we are making towards the realisation of that promise of 1994."

Ramaphosa said government and the media should therefore be encouraged by every accomplishment and concerned about every setback.

The relationship between the two in any democracy was underpinned by "healthy tensions".

‘Media critical in informing citizens’

He said government was committed to a free and thriving media and its engagement with the media was grounded in this.

"We hold the view that the media is critical in informing citizens about the work of government and educating them about their rights and responsibilities.

"To be successful as a country and nurture a functioning democracy we need to partner with the fourth estate so that it can empower citizens," Ramaphosa said.

He said South Africans expected the media to scrutinise the actions and policies of government and they expected to know what government was doing and not doing.

Formal news media

However, they also wanted to be part of the engagement and with the emergence of new media platforms, citizens were increasingly able to shape public discourse, but traditional media still played an important role.

"Even in the age of citizen journalism and social media, the formal news media remains an institution entrusted with the task of informing, explaining, interpreting and making sense of the complexity of current affairs and modern life."

Ramaphosa said government appreciated the role the formal news media played and has been working to improve its ability to facilitate that role.

Read more on:    cyril rama­phosa  |  pretoria  |  media

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