Remarks by Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on the occasion of the Media Briefing on the Launch of Ubuntu Radio and Ubuntu Magazine
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the Media,
Today marks a very important milestone for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). We are proud to announce the official launch of Dirco’s online, 24-hour radio station, Ubuntu Radio. We are also proud to officially launch our external, quarterly magazine, named Ubuntu Magazine.
The magazine is widely distributed, including at the SAA lounges, and is available on our website, at www.dirco.gov.za. The magazine will also have a link on Ubuntu Radio’s website, www.ubunturadio.com.
DIRCO published the first edition of the magazine in August 2012. Since then, four editions have been published and were very positively received by its readership.
The main objective of the magazine is to communicate with and educate stakeholders on South Africa’s international relations policy positions, achievements, objectives and goals. It covers issues ranging from current affairs, bilateral and multilateral milestones, upcoming key events, as well as international work done by other government departments, parastatals and the private sector.
The publication is distributed to, among others, business, labour, research institutions, South African missions abroad, foreign missions based in South Africa, government departments, Parliament, parastatals and Chapter 9institutions. From September 2013, it is also available in the business lounges of South African Airways and digitally on www.dirco.gov.za.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The launch of Ubuntu Radio, South Africa’s first government-run, 24-hour, online radio station, is consistent with the active and prominent role that South Africa plays in global affairs.
The idea behind its conception was a need to create a platform for exchange of views and opinions by key players who contribute to shaping South Africa’s Foreign Policy. These would include government institutions, the diplomatic community, civil society, academia, media, students and other role-players in the field of international relations.
South Africa’s Foreign Policy has been consistently in the spotlight since the country became a member of various global and strategic formations such as the UN Security Council; the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping; the India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) initiative; and the G20.
In addition, South Africa’s continuous role and engagement in the activities of the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have positioned our country firmly as a formidable contributor in the regional and global political scene.
Due to South Africa’s increased role and mandate in the international arena, it is important that immediate and accessible platforms are used to communicate South Africa’s Foreign Policy and to promote Brand South Africa domestically and abroad.
Ubuntu Radio aims to create a fair and balanced representation of the work of the Department and the Government as a whole, and to clearly and consistently present the policies and decisions of the South African Government.
In essence, the station is a reaffirmation of the South African Government’s continuous commitment to ensuring that its work and contributions in global politics are widely understood, recognized, appreciated, and most fundamentally, located within the context of the country’s Foreign Policy.
In choosing an internet-based radio station over a mainstream radio station, DIRCO was inspired by the results of extensive research conducted on the effectiveness, influence and listenership of internet-based radio stations throughout the world.
Research indicates that internet-based radio has gained momentum over the past 10years, and its benefits are visible.
South Africans are no different from the rest of the world and are also embracing digital technology to communicate in ways that could never have been imagined just a few years ago.
Researchers at World Wide Worx said in their Internet Access in South Africa 2012 study that broadband access in South Africa more than doubled as mobile operators slashed the cost of data and network roll-outs accelerated.
In the annual South Africa & SADC Media Facts 2013, Optimum Media Direction (OMD) CEO Josh Dovey stated that the digital platform will eventually become the portal for all media consumption and, as has always been the case with media of any kind, content is what will drive success and attract the consumer. OMD has the largest media network in Africa with 10 registered offices covering 30 markets on the African continent.
It is clear that online radio is here to stay, bringing with it endless variety, more commercial stations, including public/government stations.
For Ubuntu Radio, this is a breakthrough. It is historical. By design, the targeted listenership of South Africa and Africa’s first government online radio station is not limited to South African citizens, but includes the international community.
This station will be able to reach many parts of the world, especially those people with access to the internet. For those without access, South African Missions abroad will complement this through their regular outreach programmes.
The shows on Ubuntu Radio will set in motion, dialogue on South Africa's foreign policy, and stimulate public discourse on issues of national and international significance. The shows will also seek to create a platform, and promote an ongoing conversation between the Department of International Relations, and its key stakeholders at home and abroad. The content of the shows will be knowledge-based, focusing on current regional and global affairs, as well as on social and cultural issues.
The uniqueness of the station lies in the state-of-the-art technology used in the creation of its website. It has an active web link to DIRCO’s official websitewww.dirco.gov.za, which extends access to social networks such as facebook, and twitter
On the same note, access to DIRCO’s website will also allow users to browse through, amongst others, our two official publications: the Diplomat and Ubuntu Magazines. These options – which are all available on this website - allow users and listeners easy access to important information about ongoing work of the Department in promoting South Africa’s foreign policy.
We are currently working towards the development of an “App”, linking listeners to our website. So, very soon, listeners will access Ubuntu via their smart phones and other mobile devices.
We acknowledge that internet connectivity in South Africa and the rest of the African continent requires greater penetration. To overcome this, Ubuntu Radio will exchange content for broadcast with identified media partners, including SABC’s Channel Africa and community radio stations, for greater reach and influence.
As a multimedia platform, Ubuntu Radio is immediate, and will run live broadcasts, including the live coverage of and live crossing from our events, media briefings, and conferences. Most importantly, this station will be a major source of reliable, recent and trusted news on South Africa’s foreign policy, 24/7. We believe the media will find the station dependable. We invite you to tune in and interact with the station.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road