Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Allegations of editorial interference in e.tv

SOS 2014-10-27 - Press Statement - Editorial Integrity of ALL Broadcasters Must be Protected and Promoted

Thursday, October 23, 2014

SAGE Cape Town and Labspace hosting Adobe Solutions

Matthew has been working in the UK media since 1996. He has directed and produced BAFTA, RTS and Wildscreen award winning series, as well as winning prizes for camerawork and cinematography - mostly during his 14 year career at the BBC. His directing and producing credits include Trawlermen, Earth: Power of the Planet, Serious Jungle/Desert, Oceans and How Earth Made Us. In 2011 Matthew joined Adobe to help lead strategic relationships with broadcast customers across Europe. Today, Matthew manages the Strategic Development Video Team across EMEA, where he helps develop creative relationships across the television, film and advertising sectors. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Remembering Gerald Kraak: On the vision and legacy of an extraordinary man

It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Gerald Kraak – a beloved friend, comrade, mentor and supporter of the South African lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) movement. 

It is no exaggeration to say that the sector as we know it would not have been possible without Gerald’s vision, courage and determination. As the head of the South African office of Atlantic Philanthropies, Gerald was responsible for a major shift in the funding landscape, one that reinvigorated and forever altered our movement.   

LGBT rainbow flag: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT
Remarkably, Gerald also found the time to write a novel, Ice in the Lungs, which was the joint winner of the 2005 EU Literary Award and to direct a landmark documentary, Property of the State: Gay Men in the Apartheid Military (2003).

When Gerald became part of the funding sector in the mid-1990s, very few donors were willing to support the then-nascent LGBTI movement. At the time, most regarded sexuality and gender rights as secondary to the ‘big’ issues facing the new South Africa. This attitude was mirrored in the politics of the day: in a country plagued by racial inequality, economic disparity and violence, the ‘gay and lesbian question’ was viewed at best with suspicion and at worst with contempt and revulsion.

Gerald Kraak thought differently. He believed that South Africa’s transformation would not be possible unless all people – including LGBTI persons – could access their human and socio-economic rights.  His broad vision for social justice encompassed all South Africans – from migrants and refugees to farm workers to activists fighting for freedom of information.

But Gerald did more than offer financial assistance to a fledgling movement: his foresight created space for a crucial transformation to take place. Through Gerald’s support, particularly after he joined Atlantic Philanthropies in the early 2000s, new organisations were able to emerge and existing groups were able to re-evaluate their approach. The impact the funding Gerald provided is apparent in the new generation of black community leaders, specifically those from townships and rural areas, who came to the fore during this period.

In 2008, Gerald himself reflected on the shape of the LGBTI movement during the early years of our democracy:

LGBTI organisations were concentrated in urban areas. They were typically strapped for cash, crisis-driven, run by small, committed activist staffs, and sometime lacked professional capacity to carry out their programmes and relied on one or two donors for support … More problematically, the public face of the community was largely white, male and middle class.

Gerald understood that this situation would not change without sustained and strategic investment. He recognised the need for organisations to be provided with a level of funding that allowed not only for programmatic activities but also for growth and development. The ensuing support permitted the movement to reappraise its values and goals, and to begin working in a more strategic and coordinated fashion. In his own words, Gerald described his approach as ‘less about an injection of cash into an impoverished sector than a synergy between targeted funding and imperatives within the movement itself’.

The significance of this approach, of funding according to strategic outcomes, is evident in the 2006 adoption of the Civil Union Act. Gerald played a crucial role in channelling funds towards the same-sex marriage cause, ultimately allowing for the advocacy campaign that made this historic moment possible. Indeed, without the support of Atlantic Philanthropies, it is very unlikely that the Joint Working Group would have been able to undertake litigation or to successfully lobby the ANC leadership.

It is also through Gerald’s expansive vision that transgender and intersex struggles became included in the broader LGBTI agenda in South Africa. With his support, for the first time, transgender activists could formalise themselves and create strong organisations.  This validation contributed towards shifting the transgender movement from the margins.

When Atlantic began its phased withdrawal from South Africa, Gerald acted to ensure sustainability of the movement.  More than any other person, he was crucial in the establishment of the Other Foundation. In its first year, the fund has already demonstrated its commitment to advancing the rights of LGBTI people in Southern Africa. None of this would have been possible with Gerald’s tireless work.

While the impact of Gerald’s vision is indisputable, he would be the first to argue that we still have a long way to go. Over the last few years, Gerald continued to urge the LGTBI sector to build alliances with other movements and to engage strategically with political parties, trade unions and mainstream faiths. Such an approach, he argued, would highlight the connections between our struggles while also helping to increase visibility of our communities. For many organisations, this strategy has shaped our current and future activities.

There are very few LGBTI organisations that have not benefited from Gerald’s dream of a better world. It is because of his courage to support an overlooked sector that our movement exists in the form that it does. Gerald’s refusal to take the easy approach, his insistence on allowing organisations to develop on their own terms, has left a lasting legacy on our movement and on South Africa. We still have a long road ahead in the struggle for sexuality and gender rights, but we are closer than ever to realising the freedoms of our Constitution.

We thank you, Gerald, for all that you have done to make this world a better place.

A luta continua!

A memorial service will be held in Johannesburg on 1 November and in Cape Town on 6 or 7 November.  Full details will be sent out in due course.

Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL):                                              (011) 403 0004

Durban Lesbian & Gay Community and Health Centre:            (031) 312 7402

Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW):                         (011) 403 1906

Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA):                                 (011) 717 4239

Gender DynamiX:                                                                              (021) 633 5287

Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival:                               (021) 461 4027

OUT Wellbeing:                                                                                 (012) 430 3272

Pietermaritzburg Gay and Lesbian Network:                               (033) 342 6165

Triangle Project:                                                                                (021) 686 1475 

For more information, please contact any of the organisations listed above.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Communications Minister must abide by the Law

The SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition notes with concern media reports that the Minister of Communications has allegedly refused to allow outgoing ICASA Councillors to continue to work until their replacement councillors’ terms of office commence. 

ICASA, as the regulator of the electronic communications and postal sectors, is critically important and the Council is, obviously, the engine of the regulator. 

Section 7(4) of the ICASA Act stipulates that a councillor stays on after the expiry of his or her term of office until the commencement of the term of office of his or her successor councillor for a maximum of 45 days. 

It is important to state that this happens as a matter of law, and the Minister (nor any other body) has the legal authority to purport to tell an outgoing Councillor that he or she may not stay on in office as provided for in the ICASA Act. 

As the public is well aware, the SABC and the Post Office are both in a state of crisis and there are a number of important regulatory processes, including in respect of competition in the ICT sector, are currently underway before ICASA. Consequently the public needs a functioning and effective ICASA that is able to keep up with the demands of the sector. 

Section 5(1) of the ICASA Act determines that the ICASA Council is made up of a Chairperson and eight other Councillors. Currently two ICASA councillors’ terms of office ended at the end of September and two more are due to end their terms of office at the end of October. Worryingly, Parliament has yet to even call for public nominations to replace these outgoing Councillors, far less be finalising the recommendation process which takes time and is required to be open and transparent. 

SOS has no knowledge of the Minister’s intentions regarding her purported interference in the outgoing Councillors’ ability to continue working for 45 days or until their successors’ terms of office commence, but the clear effect of this unlawful interference would be to severely undermine ICASA’s capacity to perform its functions as it reduces the Council to only five people – just over half its members.

SOS calls on the Minister to cease and desist from interfering in ICASA’s ability to perform its functions immediately, and to allow the outgoing Councillors to continue to perform their functions as they are required to do as a matter of law. 

Further, SOS calls on the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications urgently to call for public nominations for four ICASA Councillors and to get on with the critically important process of ensuring that people who are able to act in the public interest are shortlisted for appointment by the Minister following a public and transparent shortlisting process. 

For more information contact:
Sekoetlane Jacob Phamodi
076 084 8077

The SOS Coalition represents a broad spectrum of civil society stakeholders committed to the broadcasting of quality, diverse, citizen-orientated public-interest programming aligned to the goals of the South African Constitution. The Coalition includes a number of trade union federations including COSATU and FEDUSA, a number of independent unions including BEMAWU and MWASA; independent film and TV production  sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); a host of NGOs and CBOs including the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), SECTION27 and a number of academics and freedom of expression activists.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SA Parliament must not allow the SABC to be led by liars and perjurers

SOS Press Release: Parliament must not allow the SABC to be led by liars and perjurers.pdf

Monday, October 13, 2014

Copyright and Access to Knowledge Issues

This is a free international online service covering topics such as copyright, authors’ rights, plagiarism, traditional knowledge, digitisation and library matters, open access, access to knowledge (A2K), scholarly research and communication, issues affecting persons with sensory disabilities, open education and m-learning, mobile technologies and social networking, conference alerts, useful websites and legislation affecting access to information. 

Latest Blogs:

Intellectual Property:

Harvard Law Review Claims Copyright Over Legal Citations; Now Challenged By Public Domain Effort

Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries

Open Access, Access to Knowledge (A2K) and Scholarly Communication:

Change role of faculty librarians in open access by Iryna Kuchma

Open Access Journal publishing at your institution by Ina Smith

Lessons from Swets : Libraries need subscription security | peer to peer review

A new chapter for the monograph?

The digital future of our stuff: approach with caution

What is the Lyon Declaration?

Traditional Knowledge:

Nagoya Protocol Enters Into Force, Will Be Tested In Months To Come

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The Archives can be found at http://www.africanlii.org/blogs/denise

For feedback or suggestions, please email Denise.Nicholson@wits.ac.za.