Tuesday, March 8, 2011

BCCSA lashes SABC in Sterenborg complaint

Friday, 04 March 2011 06:49
The Broadcast Complaints Commission (BCCSA) has found that the SABC was "unprofessional and actually reckless", as well as "duplicitous" and deceptive, in its broadcast of allegations by controversial businessman Robert Gumede about investigative journalist Sam Sole.

Robert Gumede alleged that Sam Sole was 'bribed' with a R900 air ticket by John Sterenborg, a former business partner of Gumede, to investigate him, writes Herman

The complaint with the BCCSA against the SABC was laid by Sterenborg, who argued that the SABC failed to verify allegations against him prior to broadcasting the interview under dispute; to obtain his input on allegations of bribery made against him; to make contact with other relevant parties (Sam Sole and the Mail & Guardian newspaper) or to give him the right of reply as requested by him.

His right of reply was further skewed by the SABC when it finally did offer his views in a subsequent broadcast.

Not checking allegations

In a scathing judgement, the BCCSA wrote: "We regard SABC [as] unprofessional and actually reckless in not checking RG's [Robert Gumede] allegations prior to airing the interview. We regard SABC [as] duplicitous in their communications with Sterenborg, taking an interview with Sterenborg promising to air it and then not doing so, giving false reasons."

The BCCSA also found that the SABC tried to "deceive Sterenborg" in their communication with him. The SABC had interviewed Sterenborg for his version of events as his right of reply but failed to air the interview on the due date, claiming technical problems. It later wrongly paraphrased his interview and the BCCSA found that "in any event there was no technical problem but that a management decision by SABC was behind not to air the interview or read out the interview."

The SABC argued that since it obtained and reported on a denial of the alleged bribery by M&G editor Nic Dawes, "there was deemed to be no further need to approach any other parties mentioned in the story regarding the allegation of bribery, as it had effectively been denied by Mr Dawes." It also argued that since it had a copy of the cheque in question "that in itself amounts to adequate confirmation that a payment was made".

"Broadcaster should have taken every care"

"Since the reputations of persons are at stake in this case, the broadcaster should have taken every care to ensure that facts were presented clearly and accurately," the BCCSA found in its ruling.

"Mr Sterenborg's objection to the way in which his rebuttal was broadcast is justified. People have the right to dignity, and once a reputation is sullied, it is extremely difficult to restore it. News broadcasters have a duty to ensure that facts are presented fairly and accurately, and that people's right to reply is fully respected."

The BCCSA found that the Broadcasting Code has not been complied with and reprimanded the broadcaster "for the ambiguity in its reporting of the reply".

Complaint also submitted by M&G

A complaint on the same news item was also submitted by the M&G but has not yet been ruled on. As a result, Dawes told Bizcommunity.com, "We have read with great interest the ruling of the BCCSA in relation to John Sterenborg 's complaint. We look forward to the commission's ruling in the Mail & Guardian's complaint about the same story."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The DFA supports the appointment of Denis Lillie as the Cape Film Commissioner

The leading organisation for documentary filmmakers in South Africa, the Documentary Filmmakers' Association (DFA), has expressed its support over the appointment of Denis Lillie as the Cape Film Commissioner.

The DFA represents the interests of South African documentary filmmakers. Since its inception the organisation has been actively engaged in the transformation of the documentary sector.

After two meetings with the newly appointed Commissioner, the DFA is encouraged by his accessibility. Denis Lillie has demonstrated his openness to working with all members of the South African filmmaking community. Documentary film is an untapped and unexplored source of economic activity in South Africa, but Lillie has indicated that he will travel this unfamiliar road with local documentary filmmakers. For hundreds of SMME producers who previously generated content for and income through the SABC this is heartening and suggests the potential for growth of documentary film that has been stifled in numerous ways in the past.

Denis Lillie met with representatives from the DFA Western Cape soon after his appointment and tabled a proposal to include the DFA and the documentary industry in the CFC's new five year strategy plan. The CFC Board accepted the proposal to co-opt the DFA onto the board in recognition of the role of documentary film in the province. The DFA looks forward to inputting constructively in developing this genre within the province and we look forward to a positive relationship with the new CEO and the CFC.

In the past the DFA has had a good working relationship with the CFC and has had support from the CFC on various projects. The Documentary sector's role in the Western Cape is both economic and social and the DFA believes a strong documentary voice on the CFC board is required to ensure the growth of our industry. We appreciate the recognition of this by the new CEO.

The CFC has under the new Commissioner's leadership most recently supported a DFA/CFC seminar on Commercial Documentaries for the International Market as part of our Professional Development Programme.

The DFA supports the new CEO's hands-on and tangible attempt to engage the documentary industry and his acknowledgment of our contribution to the development of the film industry in the Western Cape.

The DFA believes that filmmakers need to be able to work with someone like Lillie, who in his brief period at the helm of the CFC, has shown he is able to grasp the complex issues, passions and interests of the film industry landscape. The DFA is confident that he will work with all filmmakers to find an appropriate way forward.

Issued by the Documentary Filmmakers' Association (DFA)
http://docfilmsa.com http://blog.docfilmsa.com/

SAGE hosts a Digital Workflows workshop at AFDA on 08 March

SAGE UPGRADES presents Tracey Williams (Director of Post-Production, Refinery)in a workshop on Digital Workflows / Getting a film onto the big screen in digital format or 35mm print on the 08.03.2011 at 19:00 – 21:00

Venue - AFDA . 41 Frost Ave. Auckland Park . Johannesburg

Cost - Students - R30,00
SAGE members - R50,00
Affiliates - R80,00. R100,00 at the door

Banking details .
ABSA Melville branch . South African Guild of Editors . Acc. # 4056302496

RSVP DaveO@afda.co.za with your name & the workshop date to secure your place