Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Press Release - TVIEC to demonstrate against SABC

Dear SASFED follower,

Further to the Stop Press in Screen Africa yesterday the TVIEC has put out the following press release this evening.

A follow-up release should appear in the next few days confirming the date for the event, but rumours are it will be around the 4th of June, so keep that date open!

Please forward the below to your members, industry contacts and friends. Please ALL come to this if you are paid this month or not!

You can also find the original release in PDF format here.

PRESS RELEASE – 20.5.2009

TVIEC to demonstrate against SABC

The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) held a meeting in Johannesburg on 18 May at which 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 approximately R38 million 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 money owed for Royalties and Repeat fees which artists, writers and producers have been struggling for years to receive payment for.

The TVIEC is fighting FOR the SABC – for a transparent, fair and sustainable SABC, which 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 shown by the heavy handed management style the SABC displays to its most critical partner – the independent production sector.

Budgets are lower than they were 7 years ago. Price fixing of fees for crew and cast as well as unsustainable production fees have left companies vulnerable and exhausted, while SABC management take home exorbitant salaries 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 industry has said NO MORE.

The demonstration is envisaged to take place in early June. Organisers are co-ordinating with the police, production companies and unions before the date is confirmed and will be calling on viewers and soap fans to support their demonstration.

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 turn around strategy and for interim management to be put in place to restore trust and integrity.

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. Despite numerous attempts during the past week, the Coalition has received no response from the SABC. 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) has not bothered to meet with the Coalition.

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.

We are ready to work with the Department of Communications and Government to make this a reality.

[539 words body only]