Broadcast live on SABC Africa last night, Tuesday 11 September, the New Media Awards at the annual Highway Africa media conference at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, saw South African websites rewarded for innovation in Africa. The awards highlight the new media tools used in the information revolution that is taking place on the continent, despite technology challenges.
The winners last night were:CORPORATE CATEGORY: Vincent Maher, blogger and strategist at the Mail & Guardian Online, for his South African blog aggregator www.amatomu.com, South Africa.
INDIVIDUAL/STUDENT CATEGORY: Ismail Farouk for www.sowetouprisings.com, South Africa, in a collaboration with Babak Fakhamzadeh, and presented by The Hector Pieterson Research Project.
NON-PROFIT CATEGORY: The winner was www.islamonline.net, South Africa.
The 1820 Settlers monument was the setting for the slick show presented by SABC Africa and opened by South African music sensation, Mafikizolo, followed by a dinner hosted by SABC for the Highway Africa delegates.
Winners in these awards were rewarded for the innovative use of new media on the continent. The awards, now an annual feature of the Highway Africa conference and Digital Citizens Indaba, serve to highlight the opportunities and challenges of using new media in Africa, as a publisher, developer or journalist.
The main aim of the annual Highway Africa gathering of the continent's journalists and editors is to make news more accessible on the continent by focusing on new media tools.
The SA director-general of communications, Lyndall Shope-Mafole, opened proceedings, saying that young journalists had a challenge in reporting on Africa. “I am confident that with the calibre among you we will meet the challenges that come from our African soil.”
Professor Fackson Banda, acting head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, said the awards highlighted the new media revolution taking place. He said technology facilitates people's interaction in democracy: “Technology is engaging people in participatory democracy. It enables people to own media. Citizens can be part of the body politic more than ever before. They are taking on the media in cyberspace… truly connecting people with their lives… to counter the disconnect.”