India hosts media training programme for South African cohort

Zama Sigwebela, media liaison and parliamentary officer, during the inauguration of the Journalism and Public Relations for Officers from South Africa training programme held at the MCR Human Resources Development Institute in Hyderabad, India. Flanked by Professor Mohammed Abbas Ali, left, course director Dr Madhavi Ravulapati, right, and the Institute's Director General Dr Shashank Goel.

Zama Sigwebela, media liaison and parliamentary officer, during the inauguration of the Journalism and Public Relations for Officers from South Africa training programme held at the MCR Human Resources Development Institute in Hyderabad, India. Flanked by Professor Mohammed Abbas Ali, left, course director Dr Madhavi Ravulapati, right, and the Institute's Director General Dr Shashank Goel.

Published Feb 28, 2024

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Cape Town - To coincide with 30 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and India, a group of 30 media professionals from South Africa is participating in a specialised journalism and public relations programme in India.

The two-week Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme is funded by India’s Ministry of External Affairs and is hosted at the MCR Human Resources Development Institute in Hyderabad.

The South African cohort, comprised of journalists, government and private communications officers, will be attending workshops, facilitated by leading Indian editors and media and communications experts.

The focus of the workshops will be developing and implementing effective communication strategies between media and government with the purpose of driving positive change in society and combating disinformation and fake news during what will be a critical election year for both countries.

Speaking during the inauguration of the programme, the institute's director-general, Dr Shashank Goel, highlighted the critical role that media played in a democracy.

“In this rapidly evolving landscape, the role of media and public relations officers is more critical than ever.

“We are not just messengers; we are facilitators of unbiased and public-interest dialogue. We are nothing less than guardians of truth and integrity, and it is our responsibility to act so,” he said.

Course director Dr Madhavi Ravulapati, the Institute's Director General Dr Shashank Goel, and Professor Mohammed Abbas Ali.

“While we must harness the power of all available mediums including social media to connect with citizens, at the same time we need to explore means to make news and communication as truthful and accurate as possible and ensure that the public or the government institutions are not on the wrong side of this double-edged sword.

“Effective communication is not just messaging, but it is all about building bridges, fostering understanding and driving positive change.

“We need to upskill, update our knowledge and adapt to the changing trends.”

Next week, the group will visit New Delhi to meet with the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankaras, as well as visit media organisations in the capital.

Course director Dr Madhavi Ravulapati, the Institute's Director General Dr Shashank Goel, and Professor Mohammed Abbas Ali on stage

Cape Argus

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