Thursday, July 2, 2009

SOS Update: Parliamentary processes; new Mininsterial Task Team; ICASA judgement, copyright issues and union updates

The following update from SOS on the continuing SABC / Parliament debacle. Apologies for the delay in loading this.

Hello all

Need to update you all on some important new developments. Firstly, a lot has been happening in Parliament. Yesterday the SABC gave a report back on their finances. According to people who attended it was difficult to get to the bottom of problems, despite very lengthy presentations. Also, it appeared that no-one was prepared to take responsibility for the crisis - there was a lot of blaming of different parties with the Board blaming management, management blaming the board etc. A lengthy report on the proceedings can be accessed from the Parliamentary Monitoring Group website - Also, the inquiry into the SABC can be accessed at: . Apparently at 12 noon today Parliament is going to be meeting to dissolve the Board. According to people down in Parliament it seems that this will be an uncontroverisal discussion and decision. All parties have expressed their support for this. At 3pm then the Committee will be re-convening to put forward names for the Interim Board. Probably by the end of today a new Interim Board will be in place.

A further important development is that the Minister is setting up a Ministerial Task Team looking broadly at broadcasting policy and legislation issues. Cosatu is represented on the Team. Details of its terms of reference etc. will probably be announced late next week. I will keep you all informed in terms of all developments.

Further, ICASA has refused to deal with FXI's "Blacklisting complaint". They claim they have no jurisdiction over internal journalistic matters. Please find press statement here. FXI is considering its options including further legal action. Also, ICASA has decided not to intervene on the vexed issue of copyright issues. This is a critical issue for independent producers. Independent producers have been fighting to hold joint copyright wih the SABC on their programming. Please find Misa media alert here.

Finally, I have just spoken to Communication Workers Union. They have informed me that the Labour Court will be making a ruling on Friday about their planned labour action. The ruling will determine if the unions strike action will be legally protected or not. The planned strike action includes CWU and MWASA.

Warm regards