The Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) says lack of availability of information on programmes and projects implemented in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has hampered regional integration.
CUTS Center Director, Angela Mulenga, has therefore encouraged the media to assist spreading information on these programmes and projects, which was critical in fostering visibility and awareness of the SADC policies.
Mulenga said at the SADC regional media workshop on Monday in Lusaka that the media could also assist in highlighting benefits, opportunities and challenges of belonging to a regional community.
She said media played an important role and acted as agents of information dissemination and increased viability of SADC to the ordinary citizens.
“The effective use of the media in regional integration can help inform, empower and persuade citizens to actively participate in the integration agenda as well as foster public debate and policy change in SADC.
“It is therefore, in this regard that this workshop is being held with the aim to enhance the capacity of media and their participation in generation of quality and quantity of reporting on SADC integration matters in the regional and national media,” she said.
Mulenga said the objective of the workshop seek to increase awareness of and knowledge about SADC regional integration agenda, policies and structures.
Read more: Civil society organisations urged to scale participation in regional integration projects
She said other objectives were to provide a platform for improving access to and exchange of information and knowledge by SADC member states and regional citizens among others.
“The meeting complements on the SADC communication and strategy in enabling the media to communicate the benefits, opportunities and challenges of SADC achieve its longstanding vision of the United integration and prosperous region by adopting new and innovative communications strategies in the past, present and the future,” Mulenga said.
At the same event, SADC Official, Wazha Omphile, said there was still a gap on regional integration and media can come in and play an important role in disseminating information.
“With information the citizens will be knowledgeable and effectively participate in regional integration,” Omphile said.
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