Tuesday, April 29, 2014

SOS Coalition and R2K Campaign on the unconstitutional banning of political advertisements

"SOS and R2K strongly condemn and see as unconstitutional the decisions taken by the SABC and ICASA on political advertisements. We believe that both institutions' credibility have been undermined by these decisions. We believe that the SABC and ICASA should uphold and actively promote the Constitutional principles of freedom of expression and access to information particularly during election periods to ensure informed citizens.  We believe that the reasons put forward by the SABC's lawyers and upheld by ICASA to ban the Democratic Alliance's election advert showing a policeman firing a rubber bullet at an unarmed woman fundamentally undermine these principles. SOS and R2K hope that reason will prevail and that these arguments will be overturned in court."
SOS and R2K note that the likelihood of the advert provoking or inciting people to take action against the police has already been disproved as no such conduct has resulted despite the broadcast of this footage on TV, radio and the internet. SOS and R2K note that this footage is already in the public domain. 

We believe that although the SABC's banning of the EFF advert is less of a cut and dried case given the EFF's call to "physically" oppose electronic tolling the SABC and ICASA have erred on the side of censorship. We believe that the regulations on political advertisements specifically, and political elections broadcasts more broadly, are constitutionally problematic, as the constitutional test is incitement to imminent violence, not “words which were likely to provoke or incite unlawful, illegal or criminal acts”. This is over-broad, and creates the space for the banning of robust but nonetheless important adverts such as the EFF’s. SOS and R2K believe that ICASA's conservative interpretation of the election regulations sets a worrying precedent for all future decisions around party political advertising. We believe that both ICASA and the SABC must be guided by the Constitutional limitations to freedom of expression that include incitement to imminent violence or hate speech.  

We call for: 

  • The courts to overrule the decision taken by ICASA on the DA advert 
  • For the election regulations to be amended to ensure greater freedom of expression during election periods 

SOS Coalition coordinator: Sekoetlane Phamodi (Cell: 076 084 8077; sekoetlane@soscoalition.org.za) 
R2K Media Freedom & Diversity spokesperson: Jane Duncan (Cell: 082 786 3600)

www.soscoalition.org.za / www.r2k.org.za

Twitter: @SOSCoalition / @r2kcampaign
Join us at our Press Freedom Protest on the eve of Press Freedom Day on Friday 2 May 2014 where we demand: Stop our media being gagged and bound!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Icasa upholds SABC decision to ban DA advert

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has upheld the SABC's banning of the DA's Ayisafani advert.

The SAPS had complained that the advert contains a photo of a police officer firing rubber bullets.
The SABC banned the advertisement because it said it incited violence.

Icasa says the offending part of the advert must be removed.
The DA's Gauteng Premier candidate, Mmusi Maimane, spoke to News Night's Jeremy Maggs, and said the opposition party will review the ruling.

Sekoetlane Jacob Phamodi
Coordinator – SOS: Support Public Broadcasting

* Listen to the News Night interview here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cape Town and Western Cape Film promotion to support 10 places for international workshop

 Award winning video games writer Andrew S Walsh will speak at a two day writing workshop in Cape Town and WESGRO is supporting 10 placements for individuals and companies based in the Western Cape (one employee per company.)

Andrew Walsh has worked in film, television, theatre, animation as a writer and director. He has worked on over 60 video games and as a story consultant, from script to voice, performance capture and localisation, he offers local writers the full package on how to work across the full spectrum of new media thus increasing the scope of their productivity.

The workshop is hosted by the Writers’ Guild of South Africa and is themed ‘Writing Dialogue and Narrative in an Interactive Medium’ and incorporates discussions and practical exercises on a range of challenges faced by writers. He will also analyse narrative structures, speech design, formats, career paths and pitfalls that arise from this medium.

The workshop details are as follows:
Date: Saturday 17th May and Sunday 18th May 2014
Times: 08h00 – 17h00 each day
Address: SAE Institute Cape Town
                Woodstock Exchange
                66 Albert Road, Woodstock, 7295
                3rd Floor
                Cape Town, South Africa

REMEMBER to bring your laptops / notebooks / tablets, etc. to both days of the workshop

Please send the following by 16h00 Friday 09 May 2014 to asanda@wesgro.co.za

  1. Company Name 
  2. Name of representative and ID number 
  3. Proof of company registration / trading and proof of company address
  4. A paragraph stating why the employee wants to attend written by the employee
  5. Only ID number if a Sole Proprietor

Please Note: 

Attendance of both days is mandatory as is signing a register – nonattendance will subject the company / individual to possible removal from other such missions.

Cost is free to employee who is a WGSA member otherwise the employee or company must pay the WGSA R 500 difference or join the WGSA – contact admin@writersguildsa.org about joining.

The above terms and conditions are subject to review and the offer may change depending on the response.

Wesgro Film welcomes a follow up paragraph after the event stating what the master class has done for your company.

For further information please email: asanda@wesgro.co.za

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

He who controls the SABC, controls much of the country

By Stephen Grootes

Once again the SABC is being accused of general naughtiness when it comes to politics. But this time it’s serious. The corporation has been accused by the DA of refusing to flight its TV and radio ads for political reasons, and the Icasa ruled in the opposition party's favour. What’s odd is that the SABC has a pretty good track record of giving political parties airtime during election periods. This time, it seems, is different.

The other day a younger colleague stopped at my desk and said, with some emotion, that he simply couldn’t believe the SABC had decided to refuse to flight the radio and television advert for the DA. He’s a young man, and thought that the decision was appalling, and a clear abuse of the corporation for political ends. I was struck by his emotion: Why, I thought, did he care so much? I thought about it for a while. And then it struck me. I have been covering stories about politics, and particularly about the SABC, for so long, that I simply wasn’t surprised. At all. I was about as non-gobsmacked as I was upon hearing that Fikile Mbalula had labelled the media a bunch of losers. As surprised as I was when Gwede Mantashe lashed Ronnie Kasrils. In fact, I was as unsurprised as that day that President Jacob Zuma was re-crowned Number One at Mangaung.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I think. About how cynical some of us have become, about how some of us are now so used to certain things that we don’t even notice the pattern. In a discussion I had with some other younger people[Everyone around you is young nowadays, Stephen – Ed] the subject of some recent adverts for the South African National Defence Force came up. They’ve been splashed on certain billboards, and on the front page of City Press. They simply feature the former heads and current head of the force, with their names underneath.

Factually correct, yes. Inspirational? Whatever.

Again I felt almost nothing about it. It seemed such obvious electioneering by subtext that it simply passed me by. The Defence Force has, of course, denied the claim. So strongly, in fact, that it would take a brave, and perhaps armed person, to make said claim in person in front of one of their bases.

The fact is, we’ve been living with this for some time. Just in this election phase. The Gauteng provincial government decided, in its branding wisdom, that this was the year to add the colours green, yellow and black to its corporate logo. Look, we’d always wondered about the wisdom of using blue in the first place, but now, we’ve come to a strange, possibly indefensible position. Again, the strong denial; the “how dare you?” tone in the face of accusations.

This is the year 2014. It is time for us to celebrate twenty years of democracy. That is a good thing. We should celebrate. We should look back at how far we’ve come, and perhaps take stock a little. And part of that should be about partying and realising that if we look behind us, we have covered much ground. So it was inevitable that there would be advertising campaigns around saying as much, and that this would end up conflated with the election cycle.

You can imagine being Helen Zille in this case. Either you decide you are going to celebrate as the Western Cape Provincial government, in which case you help your political enemy, or you decide not to. And in that case, get painted into the “want to bring Apartheid back” corner. It could well be argued that the level of advertising by government departments around the freedom celebrations is, as Mantashe might say, a matter of where you sit.

Having said all of that, what’s happened with the SABC does cross a line. The corporation claims that the reason it’s decided not to flight these ads is because their mention of the Marikana shootings could be seen as an incitement to violence against the police. Really? Then surely the corporation should simply not have covered the shootings at all. And, as has been pointed out by many other people, what about the Andries Tatane case, then? He died at the hands of police, and we all saw it in the SABC television news bulletins.

This can’t go both ways. It can’t be fine to be shown in news, but not in a political advert.

It’s important to look at the content of the advert, and at the platform that the SABC controls. This is not a piece of television aimed at Sandton. It’s aimed at people living in Soweto, and in some rural areas. It’s aimed at your natural ANC voter, who voted for Mandela and Mbeki, and probably for Zuma just five years ago.

To reach that constituency, you need to go through the SABC. Only it, funded by government money and those wonderfully popular TV licenses, can be heard and seen in those areas. If you want to reach both rural KZN and the rural Eastern Cape, you go through Hlaudi Motsoneng. And the Hlaudification of the SABC has now reached the stage where even if it tries to do things with the absolute best of intentions, people are going to ascribe political motive to it.

That’s not because they’re too cynical. It’s because it is pretty obvious that that is what Motsoeneng’s role at the SABC actually is. How else do you explain the current situation? And the pride with which he’s taken other political conversations off air? And the fact that the corporation’s Chair, Ellen Tshabalala, has been quoted as saying that people “shouldn’t vote for opposition parties”, and clearly doesn’t feel any skaam about it whatsoever?

All of this would be easier to bear somehow if we had good reason to believe that the people who stand above the SABC could be trusted. In the same way that we all feel good about the legal system because of the Constitutional Court, maybe we would feel a little better about the SABC if ICASA were clearly impartial. The organisation itself has complained about being underfunded and under-resourced. But when the DA lodges a complaint and is told to wait longer than electoral law allows just for the complaint to be heard, you would have to have grown up in a different country in an easier time not to be cynical. Again, when you ascribe motive, you have to look at the track record.

With ICASA, perhaps no one looked at the law. And then got one hell of a fright when the DA went to court when the law is obviously so clear. During an election time, a complaint has to be heard within forty-eight hours. ICASA was so obviously not complying with that law that it would be an open-and-shut-costs-to-the-DA-in-a-matter-of-moments case.

The fact is, this looks as a tighter election than we’ve had in the past. And someone, somewhere, has decided that government institutions need to do more to help the ANC than in the past. And this election isn’t even that tight! Imagine what it could be like if things get tighter. Imagine what the SABC could be like in 2019. Or government departments in 2024.

This is not going to get better with time. It is only going to get worse. DM

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) 2014 Call for Entries

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) 2014 is now open for entries, offering both emerging and established filmmakers the opportunity to engage with new, international audiences and interact with some of the biggest personalities in the film industry today.

As one of the largest and most dynamic short film festivals in the UK, it presents a fantastic opportunity for filmmakers at South African Screen Federation to engage with an international audience. Working with leading organisations such as BAFTA, Film 4, Channel 4, Film London, Warp, Raindance, Sheffield Doc/Fest and more, it also provides a platform to interact with some of the biggest personalities in the film industry today.

Last year’s festival included films from 36 countries across the world, and we are really keen to engage with filmmakers in South Africa.

In addition to screenings throughout the ASFF weekend, prizes include £750 for the Festival Winner, £250 for the People’s Choice Winner, screenings at a number of other UK festivals and editorial coverage of the festival in Aesthetica Magazine and on the ASFF blog. The time limit is 30 minutes and categories for entry are: Advertising, Animation, Artists’ Film, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Experimental, Fashion, Music Video and Thriller. CLICK HERE to view last year’s trailer.

ASFF 2014 will take place in 15 unique and iconic locations across the city of York, spanning its historic buildings and contemporary arts spaces, during the weekend of 6 – 9 November. In addition to four days of screenings, there will also be a variety of opportunities to engage with leading industry figures and fellow filmmakers throughout an exciting series of masterclasses, workshops and networking sessions.

Entries close 31 May. For more information and to enter visit www.asff.co.uk/submit

Find us on Twitter @asffest  www.asff.co.uk

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

African Creative Economy Conference 2014

Arterial Network’s 4th African Creative Economy Conference, organized in partnership with the associations Racines / Arterial Network Morocco, will take place from the 13-15 November 2014 in the city of Rabat at the National Library.   

Racines / Arterial Network Morocco is looking for volunteers to strengthen the organization and preparation ahead of the ACEC particularly at the level of communication, logistics and coordination of all activities that will take place before and during this event.


  • First level (option1): from September 15th to November 15th, 2014.
  • Second level (option 2): from November 10th to November 15th, 2014.


  • Students or graduates in cultural studies (cultural mediation, cultural engineering, book publishing, cinema & audiovisual studies, theater studies…etc.).
  • Students or graduates from public or private schools in business administration (management, marketing…etc.).
  • Students or graduates from public or private schools in communication and journalism.
  • Students or graduates from public or private schools in international relations.



  1. To be between 18 years old and 35 years old
  2. To be available for the periods mentioned above (option1 or option 2)
  3. Being a resident in Morocco (just for national volunteers)
  4. To master French and English. A good knowledge of Arabic is a plus for international volunteers
  5. To be a team player, versatile and able to work in an international environment
  6. To choose option1 or option 2
  7. To be financially independent : accommodation and transportation expenses are not covered (just for international volunteers)

Selected candidates will benefit from one-day training for the preparation and organization of the ACEC for option 1 and 2. Applications must be sent before April 15th, 2014 to the following email: mehdi.racines@gmail.com. Please include a resume and a cover letter (5 to 10 sentences), while specifying your choice (option1 or 2) inside your email.

Arterial Network is a dynamic, pan-African civil society network of artists, activists, organisations and institutions engaged in the African creative and cultural sectors. Operating across 90% of Africa, Arterial Network is actively engaged in strengthening the creative sectors and utilising arts and culture to contribute towards sustainable development. 

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