UJ hosts 2023 MTN Media Innovation Summit: exploring SA media business opportunities

The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) School of Communication in collaboration with the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) hosted the 2023 MTN Media Innovation Summit under the theme: Business Journalism and Media Business Opportunities: The South African Perspective.

The summit, which took place on Monday 18 September 2023, was a culmination of the MTN Media Innovation Programme which is a certificate course offered to journalists and media professionals at the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU) in partnership with MTN Nigeria.

Part of the PAU and MTN partnership entails training and exposing the programme participants to innovative media business practices aimed at building much-needed sustainability in the industry.

During her welcoming speech, Professor Kammila Naidoo, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, emphasised the significance of collaborative interactions, highlighting their crucial role in creating room for fresh and innovative ideas to flourish.

“What we hope for is a strong and proactive media with relevant skills and expertise with transformation at the forefront of agendas and with platforms that share and inspire and that will be sustained by its drive for social justice and making a difference to the lives of ordinary people.”

Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, JIAS Director, spoke on the importance of media in strengthening democracies and the critical role free media has to play.

“That is the reason why this summit is so important. There are so many changes and challenges that face the media today. In a continent like Africa, we welcome this partnership.”

The program of the summit was made up of two panels – Business Journalism and Media Business Opportunities in Africa: The South African Perspectives and The Imperatives of Development Journalism in Africa.

Mr. Funso Aina, Senior Manager of External Relations at MTN Nigeria, stressed the media’s vital role as a societal watchdog and a source of public trust. He underscored the necessity of empowering the media to consistently hold those in power accountable and ensure people are well-informed. To ensure the media’s continued growth and success, this program aims to cultivate both professional and entrepreneurial skills among media professionals.

Mr. Isaac-Ogugua Ezechukwu, Director of Professional Education at PAU, emphasised the significance of elevating the media, as it contributes to strengthening economies, democracies, and fostering cultural ties that promote social cohesion.

Speakers for the first panel included Prof Nixon Kariithi, CEO: Tangaza Africa Media, Prof Admire Mare, Associate Professor, School of Communications, William Bird, Director: Media Monitoring Africa, and Prof Mandla Radebe, Director: Centre for Data and Digital Communications.

For the second panel, speakers included Dr Prinola Govenden, Senior Lecturer, School of Communication, Pontsho Pilane, Award winning journalist for The Mail & Guardian, Lumko Mtimde, ICT, media and regulatory expert in Government capacities.

The summit was attended by civil society, government, media professionals, and renowned academics locally and internationally.

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