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BRICS Introduction

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BRICS PROJECT PLAN

 

  • BACKGROUND
    • Since its inception in 2009, the Brazil, Russia, India and China BRIC(S) grouping has grown in stature internationally. South Africa joined BRIC in 2010, becoming a fifth member of this bloc, hence the acronym BRICS. BRICS countries have met annually to enhance cooperation among themselves and discuss issues of common concern, including global governance reforms, development challenges and security concerns.
    • South Africa has assumed the rotational chairship of the BRICS formation from the People’s Republic of China from 1 January to 31 December 2018.  South Africa has a pivotal role to play in the BRICS formation to promote our foreign policy globally and to achieve our domestic policy objectives.
    • South Africa enjoys recognition as a dedicated and committed global and regional player within the ranks of BRIC countries. Key issues to anticipate during our chairship of BRICS would be outlined amongst the recovery of our economies, macroeconomic policy coordination, improving global economic governance, promoting international trade and investment, addressing income inequality and achieving sustainable development.
    • The world has since seen the BRICS grouping emerge as a powerful formation with 43% of the global population. Their combined nominal gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at US$13,7 trillion and between 20% and 25% of global GDP, as well as combined foreign reserves estimated at US$4 trillion. Due to its increasing role and influence in global politics and other multilateral affairs, new areas of potential cooperation are constantly being explored. One such area of potential cooperation is Communications.
  • TOWARDS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A BRICS COMMUNICATORS FORUM
    • South Africa’s tenure as Chair of BRICS in 2018 provides us with a superb communication opportunity to raise awareness about BRICS, South Africa’s role in global affairs and its significance for growing and transforming our economy, creating jobs and attracting investment. BRICS brings together the five major emerging economies which make up 43% of the entire world population; it has 30 % of the world’s GDP and 17% in world trade share. South Africa’s membership of BRICS brings access to the markets of the other countries and their regions.
    • Through leveraging on communication tools, we should also aim to strengthen informal, cultural and social connections between peoples of BRICS countries. Communication and socio-economic development go hand in hand. The BRICS Communication Workstream have developed a BRICS 2018 website which has been fully populated with information, and will be announced at the first BRICS Sherpa meeting.
    • The establishment of a BRICS Communication Forum will enhance cooperation on matters of communication, thereby accelerating the establishment informal, cultural and social connections between our peoples.
    • The idea of a BRICS Communications Forum under the institution of BRICS is not new, and was previously discussed at different levels within the South African government. A work session was held in June 2012 where relevant stakeholders participated. The various engagements at government level revealed that a similar idea has also been mooted by the Russian Federation. One amongst the many objectives of the proposed Forum is the scaling up of marketing and communication of BRICS programmes, its achievements and possible challenges in a coordinated manner.
    • Ideally, the BRICS Communicators Forum should offer its member states an opportunity to amplify their collective voices towards advancements of issues of common interest and mutual benefit. The Forum will give heightened impetus to the level and extent of information sharing amongst BRICS member states as a collective.
    • A BRICS Communication Forum will help to build a sustained and synchronised communication effort, using common messaging and in support of the overall BRICS strategy. We must also inculcate the responsibility of patriotism and a positive image of our countries in every citizen.
    • The BRICS Communicators’ Forum may be introduced through the respective BRICS Sherpa meetings in line with agreed protocols.
    • After, endorsement by BRICS, the Department of Communications, in conjunction with GCIS and DIRCO, will take a leading role in establishing and coordinating a BRICS Communicator’s Forum in 2018.
    • A Task Team should immediately be set up to direct the establishment of the BRICS Communication Forum. It is expected that the BRICS Sherpa will guide the process, which should be led by the Heads of Communications of respective Communication Ministries and Foreign Affairs Ministries of the BRICS countries, at Director-General level. The members of the Task Team should be limited to the two representatives from each country. It is suggested that the host country chair the BRICS Communication Forum for that year.
  • PRACTICAL COLLABORATION
    • Global media and information technology is certainly one of the pre-eminent carriers of information worldwide. Given the nature of the BRICS bloc, and its objectives, it is critical that all the necessary mediums of communication – including the BRICS 2018 website - are utilised to continue sharing information amongst and outside BRICS member states. The BRICS 2018 website can be turned into the formal BRICS website for the subsequent years, by the Communication Forum. These various platforms will ensure that BRICS member states themselves are strategically positioned to tell their own stories and how the bloc has managed to elevate their individual and collective status at a global level.  
    • While more work needs to be done to assess this issue, it can only be considered that a high degree of curiosity may exist between the peoples of BRICS countries considering a relatively low base currently existing for information exchange and communication and media partnerships. 
    • The BRICS countries represent a unique emerging economy but are also connected by a shared common history, including their developmental challenges.
    • We, therefore, believe that there is much to share between the member states of the BRICS bloc, and indeed, a number of untapped opportunities for exchange of ideas. Such ideas may range from narration of stories, sharing of historical perspectives, exchange of socio-cultural experiences etc.
    • Practical collaboration and the exchange of platforms can take place through strategic engagements such as:

 

  • Content exchanges and collaborations between the Public Broadcasters of BRICS nations (and other content carriers).
  • Strengthened engagements between the media institutions of the BRICS countries and this would include joint collaboration efforts between print and electronic media within BRICS, many being public/government in nature, but also the enabling of interaction platforms between the private media and media owners of BRICS countries for mutual collaborations. 
  • New platforms, thought forums, publications etc. such as the Ambassadors Club pioneered by the Russian Federation collaborating on a range of topical areas in the communication spectrum. Such platforms would be key in the BRICS countries telling our own story in the global context as opposed to the manner in which media of the developed world position BRICS.
  • Social media engagements as well as collaboration in information technology fields.
  • BRICS website for information exchange.
  • Capacity exchanges between communicators from the BRICS nations especially at a government level.  This would also serve as a foundation for greater collaboration in the areas of marketing and communication in support of the BRICS Summits and meetings as and when they happen.
  • Possibility of shared perspectives on key issues for common messaging.

 

  • PROPOSED PROGRAMME FOR 2018
    • Practically, the BRICS Communication Forum will have a terms of reference that outlines the frequency and means of engagement between the Chief Government Communicators of the respective countries.
    • The second task of the Forum will be to develop the BRICS Communication Strategy with an annual plan that should be endorsed by member countries during South Africa’s tenure.
    • Beyond 2018, it should be the responsibility of each future host country to lead the implementation of an aligned annual communication plan for that year.

 

PROPOSED SECTORAL MEETINGS – COMMUNICATIONS


DATE

ACTIVITY

DESCRIPTION

VENUE

RESPONSIBILITY

29 January 2018

(done)

BRICS Stakeholder Roundtable

  • A stakeholder roundtable on BRICS was convened by GCIS and DIRCO. Attended by 70 delegates including media, Diplomatic Corp, youth and civil society stakeholders. 

Auditorium, GCIS Head Office, Tshedimosetso House, City of Tshwane

GCIS: DDG ICSM

3 February 2018

Announcement of the BRICS website

  • Announcement of the BRICS Website by the Chair of the BRICS Sherpa
  • Media statement amplified by a social media plan and interview schedule

Cape Town

DG: DIRCO

10 April 2018

BRICS Forum of Journalist Bloggers

  • A BRICS Forum of Journalist Bloggers will be catalytic in driving the BRICS narrative supporting change in the Global space.
  • Bloggers are people who write independently for the Internet by definition.
  • In general, the key difference between bloggers and journalists is one of process.
  • Bloggers tend to offer opinion and analysis that links to news stories reported by mainstream media, while professional journalists tend to gather and report facts and opinion from expert sources.

Skype session – online

GCIS: DDG CPD

19-20 July 2018

Inaugural meeting of the BRICS Communication Forum

  • First BRICS Inaugural Communication Forum Meeting – to launch:
    • Draft Terms of Reference for BRICS Communication Forum;
    • BRICS Communication Strategy
    • Signing a declaration

Auditorium, GCIS Head Office, Tshedimosetso House, City of Tshwane

GCIS: DDG ICSM

20 July 2018 (afternoon)

BRICS Forum of Photo Reporters

  • Breakaway session with Photo Reporters ahead of the BRICS Summit (briefing, and agreement on key protocols and sharing of photographs, also use the opportunity to share experiences)

Venue proposed as Freedom Park, City of Tshwane

GCIS: DDG CPD

20 July 2018 (morning)

BRICS Media Forum (breakfast)

  • The purpose media cooperation and international forums is to promote sharing of information amongst journalists from different countries. Sharing of best practices on the operations of media and communications amongst countries is pivotal in the era of globalization.
  • The Media Forum is a platform for engagements by journalists or reporters. Journalists from time to time engage on issue that are in their industry for example issues of training, agenda setting and media freedom. The advent of social media and internet revolution has changed the landscape of media forums, journalists now host media forums using online platforms as well

Auditorium, GCIS Head Office, Tshedimosetso House, City of Tshwane

GCIS: DDG ICSM

14-16 September 2018

14th BRICS Ministers of Communication Meeting

  • At this meeting, the BRICS Communication Forum will discuss a progress report on the implementation of the BRICS Communication Strategy

Led by the dtps

Led by the dtps