25 May 2009
CALL FOR INDUSTRY TO JOIN PEACEFUL PROTEST ACTION
AGAINST SABC ON 4 JUNE 2009
The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) has come together in response to the current monetary and management crisis that is unfolding at the SABC. The entire industry is feeling the effects of the SABC’s crisis – writers, producers, actors, crew and all related service providers. The time has come for us to stand together in the interests of a healthy public broadcaster, in terms of our businesses, and in terms of our duty to the national audience. The survival of our companies, our industry and our stories is at stake!
In the past, broadcast policy and management decisions have been made largely without industry consultation. International precedent shows that this is not the way forward and now the coalition is determined to be heard.
THE TV CRISIS MARCH
The Coalition has launched a strategic campaign to lobby for an intervention from overseeing government bodies. One aspect of this strategy is protest action to make our voices heard. Since matters have now come to a head, a protest march on the SABC has been planned:
· Date: Thursday 4th June 2009
· 10.30: Joburg - Gather at Atlas Studios for rally
· 12.00: Cape Town - Gather on grass in front of SABC
· 12.00: Joburg - March to SABC
· 13.00: Joburg and Cape Town - march and picket at SABC
· 13.45: Joburg - Hand over memorandum
The demands are:
· Honour existing payment obligations
· Meaningful engagement and renegotiation of terms of trade
· Inflation related budget increases
· Intellectual property rights for the content creators
· Accountable & responsible management
· Cut bureaucracy and wasteful spending
· Mandated industry representation on the board
We wish to state that we cannot condone any form of mismanagement or abuse of funds of the public broadcaster and what are essential services for South Africans. Television and radio are some of the most powerful tools for building and shaping our society and values and the Coalition is committed to an on-going dialogue with our audiences and responding to their realities,
hopes and dreams.
WHERE YOU COME IN: How your company, body, organization, school or simply you as an individual can assist is by joining us in this protest action. Make banners and dress in red and let your voices be heard. Further, you can help us compile a comprehensive data base of emails and cell-phone numbers of everyone within your own particular sector. This information will be used solely for the dissemination of information regarding the march.
FORWARD ALL EMAILS AND CELL-PHONE NUMBERS OF YOUR MEMBERS, EMPLOYEES, COLLEAGUES OR INDUSTRY ACQUAINTANCES TO: email@example.com
This letter is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) non-aligned producers and includes equipment suppliers and facilities representing 90% of the local content on air as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union)
25 May 2009
TV INDUSTRY TO STAGE NATIONAL PROTEST ACTION
AGAINST SABC ON 4 JUNE 2009
The television industry in South Africa is reeling due to the monetary and management crisis at the SABC. Crews and cast are without work, production companies are facing closure and viewers are being cheated of quality programming.
The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) was formed in response to the crisis. Together we represent more than 80% of the local content on air. In a meeting of the coalition in Johannesburg on 18 May it was decided to proceed with plans for a demonstration against the current management and administration of the SABC.
The protest has been provoked by the public broadcaster’s non-payment of millions of rand to independent producers and the subsequent retrenchments that are occurring throughout the industry. Estimates of up to R58-million owed have been made but it is not possible to confirm this amount as the SABC has been unwilling to reveal the extent of the debt. This amount does not take into account monies owed for royalties and repeat fees which artists, writers and producers have been struggling for years to elicit from the SABC.
The TVIEC is fighting FOR the SABC – for a transparent, fair and sustainable SABC that upholds the values of a credible and responsible public broadcaster, respectful of the South African public and its key partner in content supply – the local production sector.
Whilst the demonstration calls have been sparked by the anger over non payment, the TVIEC is convinced that the real issues are much deeper and more significant: unfair terms of trade, unsustainable business relationships with the content creators, unfair rights ownership (IP) and a deep arrogance manifested in the heavy handed management style the SABC displays.
Budgets are lower than they were seven years ago. Price fixing of fees for crew and cast and unsustainable production fees have left companies vulnerable and exhausted, while SABC management take home exorbitant fees and performance bonuses – some bonuses exceed an entire year’s production fee for a major daily soap – and enjoy first class air travel, 5 star hotel suites and lavish entertainment.
The Coalition has met repeatedly during the past months with a high level group of SABC executives but has received neither credible feedback nor action on commitments made by the SABC at these meetings. The Coalition is particularly dismayed that the CFO who is directly responsible for the fiscal management of the SABC - and thus the current non payment status quo - has not bothered to meet with the Coalition.
The industry has said NO MORE! A protest date has now been set for 4 June 2009. A TVIEC protest committee is coordinating participation by a broad spectrum of production companies, industry organisations, unions, friends of the industry, soapie stars, actors, technicians and the public at large.
Organisers have stressed that the campaign will be run in a responsible way, calling for immediate response to the demands for payment, for inclusive participation in the SABC’s turn around strategy and for interim management to be put in place to restore trust and integrity. It is anticipated that about 1,000 people will participate in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The TVIEC is simultaneously attempting to engage with the new Minister of Communications and other government stakeholders to facilitate urgent intervention and alleviation for the industry. The TVIEC is also researching legal options and the possibility of collectively withholding material from the SABC.
The president has called for a new dawn, we hope this applies to the SABC.