Pretoria – There is a need to tell the story of the relations between South Africa and the Russian Federation using the different media platforms of the two countries, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
“We need to tell the story of the relations between South Africa and Russia using the different platforms at our disposal. We need to tell the stories that will also reach the ordinary men and women in our respective countries, so that they should understand the significance of our bilateral and economic relations,” she said.
Minister Muthambi was speaking in Pretoria this morning as she welcomed the Deputy Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications, Alexey Volin.
Deputy Minister Volin is in the country for a three-day working visit. He is being accompanied by the head of International Projects of the Sputnik News Agency Vasily Pushkov and the Deputy Director of the department of external affairs representing the Tass News Agency, Natalya Alexandrovna.
Minister Muthambi said it cannot be that the two governments have made major progress over the past 25 years with regards to formal relations, yet people-to-people exposure and contact remain low.
“By enhancing our shared communication efforts, we will promote not only valuable trade and investment but we will exchange skills in the technology sphere. We will also be opening opportunities for the peoples of our two countries to learn more about each other and champion the common developmental and political goals our two nations share,” she said.
Minister Muthambi said the cooperation with the Russian Federation has been created to exchange best practices in the area of communications and media.
South Africa is currently migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting. The first analogue switch off took place in October in Carnavon in the Northern Cape.
Minister Muthambi said she hopes that the two countries will share the best practice in the area of digital migration as part of their exchange.
Also speaking at the event, Deputy Minister Volin said: “Today we are starting … on our long way for the development of our cooperation and I hope that our cooperation will be successful and it will be of mutual benefit for the peoples of our countries.”
The Russian Federation is also in the transitional period of switching off analogue transmitters and creating space for digital television.
“In Russia, we are finalising the biggest infrastructure programme…the programme for creating the infrastructure of digital television, we will be build up more than 5000 digital TV stations to spread digital signal in Russia.
“Another sphere of the cooperation is that we should use the new forms of spreading the content not only in the national markets, but all over the world, and here we are ready to cooperate with our South African friends, because we have the good technologies, good mobile platforms which give us an opportunity to spread the video TV content all over the world.”
He said he had requested Minister Muthambi to link the Russian federation with the South African partners in the media space such as TV companies as well as communications companies.
He said in the near future the main traffic in the communications networks will be from data.
“We are also ready to enter into cooperation in movie production, spreading of movies and TV series and TV programmes. Russian movies and programmes are currently successful, we are starting to export our TV programmes and series abroad and we want to stress that in this activity, we don’t want to be alone … we want to work with local partners and with the help of the local partners, we will be ready to spread our content and share the profits,” he said.
With the two countries’ news agencies, Sputnik news agency and SAnews expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, the Deputy Minister Volin described this as a very good signal to Russian media to improve and to develop cooperation with South Africa.
He added that he also hoping to sign another agreement relating to broadcasting between the two countries.
South Africa enjoys strong bilateral relations with Russia. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992.
This year, the two countries are celebrating the 25th anniversary of lasting diplomatic relations.
South Africa is the biggest trading partner of Russia on the African continent. The two countries enjoy strong trade relations in the area of mining, energy, agriculture, communications, science and technology.