Communication Minister Nomvula Mokonyane at the Brics Media Forum. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Independent Media spoke to Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane on the sidelines of the Brics Media Forum which took place in Cape Town last week.

What would you say is the biggest value-add from a government perspective to be part of this initiative?

The value add is primarily on making sure that there is sharing of information that would empower the nations of the affected countries in appreciating why this Brics block is so critical for their own empowerment, for their own development, for the growth of their economy but most importantly for just world order. It is also quite critical because within the context of the fourth industrial revolution, there’s a need also to exchange  new ideas around mass media communication and for all of us that then requires sharing of new technologies, sharing of  researched source of information and thirdly making sure that we all are able to tab and have a common reference point  unlike being fed the information about  Brics  members without us having been able to contribute to the content and therefore content also becomes important.

What are some of the key content information that Brics should focus on?

It is about enhancing the livelihood of all the affected nations that there’s no individual dominance of one nation against the other., irrespective of their years of democracy or what is perceived but that there is a shared vision, a shared agenda which focuses primarily on people to people development around the areas of cultural diversity, issues around the economy, the issues around the peace and stability in the world and most importantly on the content it is also about bringing in young smart ideas, young people’s views because of them having to take charge for the future and therefore the content has to also respond to empowering and capacitating young people to make informed decisions.

Independent Media spoke to Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane on the sidelines of the Brics Media Forum which took place in Cape Town. Video: Tamryn Christians/ANA
What do you see young people from all across the Brics countries benefiting from this in real terms?

It has to be through the programs and decision that are going to come out of this. We need to move beyond just the deliberations to a plan of action that says we will absorb young people to the media platform. Secondly, we will collaborate in terms of exchange programs. And thirdly, we will expose young people to new technologies and will support their own ideas so that they are not only fed with the information, they are listened to and their views and ideas are implemented. And what would be of importance is to make sure that there is always be a monitoring of adherence to the decisions that have been taken. And the media forum becomes very important if we have said we are all about a just world order. It means we must then invest in the emancipation of young people, on the co-operation of young people, on the consultation with young people and most importantly on affording the young people to take the lead.

What would you identify as the biggest challenges in terms of implementation from this forum?

There a few challenges that I don’t think they are insurmountable though. One is that there are those bilateral relationships outside the Brics relationships and that may actually become a priority for one on one relationships with, there has to be that recognition. The second one,  it would be about the existing relationships outside of the  Brics bloc, say with Western countries and so on. That must not actually deter this forum and the entire Brics from also putting what makes them to become relevant both in terms of their human capital, in terms of their economic opportunities but also in terms of their level of development because there is everything that is quite good for the future within the Brics block and looking at globalization and its impact on the most marginalized, particularly from developing nations

What do you feel most excited about after listening to the critical panel discussion?

I got excited when there were concrete proposals just now of saying let’s create a Brics TV station. Where you will find all national strategic announcements coming from Brics nations. For me, that would be a major breakthrough. Secondly, that let ’s have exchange programmes, I think it came from the Russian representative. Let’s exchange, let's bring young people, let them be exposed to what we are doing so that we can also contribute towards equal development. And the other exciting issue was around investment in distribution and dissemination of information on time and unmitigated. That becomes very important because of the perceptions that are being thrown around and I do believe that with everybody saying we need a plan of action with timeframes and sharing of tasks is actually a major breakthrough.