Malesela Maubane, a public relationsstrategist and President of the Public RelationsInstitute of Southern Africa (PRISA).
Maubane, currently the President of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA), delivered his address, Communication for development in the era of fake news during the three-day long conference held at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa in Livingstone, at the end of February 2019.
Maubane highlighted the role that digital media plays in perpetuating the dissemination of fake news, as well as its impact in undermining the positive efforts of communication practitioners. He said; “There is no argument that fake news thrives mostly on digital media. To some extent, this has resulted in public relations practitioners and the media losing control over content development and distribution.”
However, Maubane also pointed out that these challenges could assist public relations and communication organisations to raise the bar in their communication strategies and plans. “The fake news phenomenon has the potential to undermine the developmental objectives of public relations and communication efforts, whilst on the flip side it presents an opportunity to raise the bar in terms of industry skills sets.”
Maubane also formed part of a panel that sought to give delegates a clear understanding of the development communication concept. The submission was based on the characteristics of development communication as outlined in the South African Government Communicators’ Handbook: It is responsive; It relies on feedback; It must be creative and innovative; and It is about continuity and sustainability.
Maubane concluded with a quote from Stellenbosch University (SUN) Law Faculty Trust Chair for Social Justice and retired South African Public Protector, Professor Thuli Madonsela, “Through life I have learned that the most important critic, whose judgement of my actions matters, is my conscience.”
Conference delegates included representatives from the Zambian public and private sectors. The Zambian Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Dora Siliya, delivered a message of support at the gala awards dinner.
Also in the speaker’s line-up were the Honourable Eugene Mapuwo, Mayor of Livingstone; His Excellency Emmanuel Mwamba, Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa; Dr John Kunda, Director of Communications and Outreach at the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Zambia; Jacqueline Purcell, International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Board member and consultant; Nelson Chanda, Special Assistant to the Zambian President: Press and Public Relations; and Reuben Walobele, Senior Protocol Officer at the Zambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
@MaleselaB is a public relations strategist and President of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA)