Monday, March 23, 2015

Minister Nathi Mthethwa's speech at launch of Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa, 2015

We are gathered today not to bury an artist but to witness the beginning of an important journey where the cultural and creative sector will take its fate and future into its own hands. This is a significant development worth celebrating.

It symbolizes an end as well as a beginning. It will mark an end to artists in all sectors being victims of their own circumstances. It will mark a new beginning where artists are architects of their own vision and future.

It was an artist turned politician, the former President of Senegal, Sekou Toure who said:

“It is not enough to write a revolutionary song; you must fashion the revolution with the people. And if you fashion it with the people, the songs will come by themselves, and of themselves.”

Speaking at the Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Rome in 1959, he went on to say:
“In order to achieve real action, you must yourself be a living part of Africa and of her thought; you must be an element of that popular energy which is entirely called forth for the freeing, the progress, and the happiness of Africa.”
For us as Government, as the Department of Arts & Culture this gathering signifies a renewal as well as change. For it has always been our dream and vision to see the artistic community, the cultural and creative sector personnel transformed into active citizens who will be agents of the change they want to see.

We will remember that the President of the Republic, His Excellency Jacob Zuma himself was in the forefront of engagements that gave birth to this process.

We have come a long way since the 2009 consultative meeting at the Sandton Convention Centre where both government, including the Cabinet made a promise to work with the sector to change the creative industry to be what artists want it to be.

The country we live in now is different to what it was before 1994. As we gather here, today, we are celebrating Human Rights Month. Let it be said in very simple yet clear terms that artists in their variety hold in their hands the power to abolish all forms of exploitation and oppression in their sector. As former President Nelson Mandela said: “The power is in your hands.”

Yet this freedom to self-determination for which so many died comes with the responsibility to be active agents of shaping and making South Africa to be the country that we all want it to be. We all believe and agree that artists have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, among other rights.

They have a right to take their fate and future into their own hands. They have a right to a decent and dignified life. They have a right to enjoy the benefits of their work.

Let the message go out from this gathering here in Bloemfontein, where the African National Congress was founded in Mangaung in 1912, that the Government of the people welcomes this development where artists organize themselves to elect their own leaders who will represent their aspirations and hopes.

We all know that the cultural and creative sector, especially artists, have been part of the struggle and contributed immensely to the founding of democracy and freedom in this country.

The artists who were born in this country have been bludgeoned and tempered by a history of conflict filled with racism, injustice and inequality. But this is what has made them to be strong, disciplined and resilient.

We are proud that the cultural and creative sector is the custodian of the nation’s soul.

It is only through what artists do that we are able to understand ourselves better and define our identity as a society. It is a significant achievement that we have reached this point where you, as a sector, will be seen to be taking your fate and future into your own hands.

In fact, this gathering marks a turning point in that the cultural and creative sector will be unwilling to witness or permit anything that undermines human rights to which the artistic and creative community is entitled. As Government we remain committed to helping artists to help themselves to entrench a culture of human rights in the sector.

You should know by now that not only do we wish you well but we are saddened every time we learn of yet another artist who has died a pauper, is without a home or lacks sustainable income and thus rendered unemployed.

But we believe that this gathering marks an important beginning to assuring your survival and success. We pledge to work with you in finding solutions to your own problems. We pledge to work with you in ways that promote the ideals and values in our Constitution to help entrench a culture of human rights.

Perhaps it is important to make mention of the fact that recent research has revealed that the contribution of the cultural and creative sector to the national economy is estimated at over R9.5-billion.

It is about time that the federation comes into existence to ensure that the artistic community directly benefits from this revenue. We are looking forward to a democratically elected leadership and a strong organization that will make a quest for economic justice and social equality.

As Government, our role and responsibility remains to create an enabling environment where the sector can seize the moment to be active agents of what they want to see happen. For nothing should be done for artists without the involvement and participation of artists. The solutions for the cultural and creative industries should be defined by artists themselves. 

When the Department of Arts & Culture appointed an Interim Committee in February 2014, the motivation was to provide resources to create an enabling environment for artists to assume responsibility for what happens to them and take control of their own fate and future.

Over the last 20 years of democracy and freedom, we have witnessed the continued exploitation of artists and many of them dying as paupers. This was because artists are, largely, not organized in the sense of having a very strong and relevant formation to represent their material needs and aspirations. Fragmentation and division based on individual interest remains a big challenge.

Over the last two decades of democracy and freedom the resounding statement that has come through was the urgent needs for artists to organize, organize and organize. Nothing much will be achieved without proper and effective organized structures.

There has been allegations that not enough consultations have taken place for the democratic process to unfold for artists to seize back the power. Also, there has been charges that no documentation has been provided for interested and committed artists to prepare for critical engagement on the purpose and direction of the establishment the federation.

We wish to reiterate that the appointment of the Interim Committee was to facilitate the establishment of a unifying and independent cultural and creative industries body that will represent the industries’ interests in legislature and policy making as outline in White Paper. 

The areas are:

  • Cultural and Natural Heritage Sector.
  • Performance and Celebration Sector,
  • Visual Arts and Crafts Sector,
  • Language and Publishing Sector,
  • Audio Visual and Interactive Media Sector and
  • Design Creative and ACH Technical support Services Sector

It is not up to government or any minister but to artists themselves to determine how CCIFSA will be structured, who will lead it or processes to be followed. We will play an oversight role.

Thus it is up to the various stakeholders in the cultural and creative industries to define the vision that you desire to give birth to at this inaugural elective conference. We are not looking at you trying to please us as the Government but to work together as equal partners in our aim to uphold and promote a creative and cultural industry that is inclusive and participatory.

This will, above all, be determined by your behavior and attitude to self-organization.

The mandate required the Interim Committee to conduct consultations across the country and hold a hold a national conference as soon as possible. It is at this history making gathering that the interim committee would be dissolved and an inaugural CCIFSA committee elected.

Let us be reminded that the interim committee was given until the end of October 2014 to complete its mandate. But by early August there were systemic challenges in meeting this deadline. Significantly, systems were put in place that have resulted in what is happening here today. It has always been our desire for artists to take their own future into their own hands.

It is either you are part of the problem or part of the solution. The easiest thing to do has been for some among you has been to point out weaknesses and shortcomings in how CCIFSA was organized, the appointment of leaders and processes of consultation.

There has been complains about tight deadlines and lack of consultation. But we all know that whatever the future of artists is going to be, it lies in the hands of artists themselves.

As Government we have created an enabling environment and provided the resources for the cultural and creative sector to help itself. We have a serious responsibility to move South Africa forward. It is now up to you to choose to throw stones or use them to build a very strong organization that will represent the sectors’ interests. Artists must take control, now.

So, let us begin anew remembering on both sides that working together we can achieve more to move South Africa forward. Let us emphasize the ties that bind us together instead of difference that divide.

Today is not about what Government can do for you but whether as active citizens you are ready to assume responsibility to do what you have to do to move this country forward and spread a culture of human rights.

We wish you well in your deliberations!

Thank you! Siyabonga! Rea leboga! Dankie!

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Open to fiction, animation and documentary co-production projects in search of a French co-producer.

The Paris Coproduction Village, a Paris-based international co-production market organized by Les Arcs European Film Festival, will take place from June 10 to12, 2015, during the Champs-Elysées Film Festival.

Paris Coproduction Village is a development and financing platform for carefully selected worldwide feature projects. During the event, 12 to 15 international projects destined for French or European co-production will be presented to producers, sales agents, distributors, financiers, and fund representatives. Participants will benefit from one-to-one pre-scheduled meetings, networking events, as well as seminars taught by leading film industry professionals.

The application form is available here

Application deadline: April 10th, 2015

Submissions are free of charge and producers whose project gets selected are invited at the festival's expense (travel, accommodation and accreditation costs).

Here are the eligibility criteria for submitting projects:

  • Fiction, animation and documentary feature-length projects only, with director and script attached.
  • All applications must be submitted by a production company and have secured (or under negotiation) financing from their home territory.
  • All projects in development should not have French partners attached when submitted.

This event managed by Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin and Vanja Kaludjercic had gathered more than 300 industry professionals in 2014. Last year's edition selection is downloadable here.

More info :

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Open Access, A2K & Scholarly Communication - 05 March 2015

Copyright & A2K 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.

For information about this service or its Archives, or to subscribe, please email

The Archives can be found at here
Intellectual Property:
Traditional Knowledge:
 Open Access, A2K & Scholarly Communication
For feedback or suggestions, please email

Denise Nicholson (Mrs), Scholarly Communications Librarian, Scholarly Communications & Copyright Services Office, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Monday, March 9, 2015

Free Set-Top Boxes for South Africa's Poor Only Half The Victory - Our People Deserve More

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and the SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS) note the announcement made at yesterday’s cabinet briefing concerning the long awaited broadcasting digital migration.

MMA and SOS wish to commend the commitment made by cabinet to provide FREE Set-Top-Boxes (STBs) to 5 million TV-owning households in South Africa. We welcome this decision and consider it a victory for the public. 

MMA and SOS have been among a small handful calling for free STBs to encourage take-up of the new technology, particularly for economically vulnerable households, and speed up our migration process. We, however, need further details on who will be prioritized for these free STBs, and what process people will have to go through to access them.

We are mindful of the draft subsidy scheme proposed by the Universal Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) and the fundamental changes cabinet’s announcement of free STBs, yesterday, makes to it. We also note the deficiencies of the proposed subsidy scheme which include:

  • The definition of poor households was set too low at households earning R3200 pm. We believe it should minimally be expanded to the upper-bound poverty line of R4500 pm and even further expanded to cover emerging middle class households earning up to R12000pm.
  • In their proposals, USAASA and the Minister of Communications referred to a prescribed means test in order to access STBs. We remind both that the people of South Africa must not be subjected to complicated, expensive and humiliating processes of proving that they are poor. We have outlined in great detail ways in which government must streamline the process of accessing STBs by providing for automatic qualification criteria as well as close cooperation between the Department of Home Affairs, the Social Assistance Agency of South Africa, the SABC’s TV Licenses Division and the South African Post Office.

While MMA and SOS welcome government’s inclusion of STB control, we remind government that the control mechanism cannot and must not be used to cut people who, for any reason, do not pay their TV licenses as this would be unconstitutional in its restriction of their right to access to information. Further, we maintain that STB control alone is not enough, but must be complemented by encryption and conditional access in order to promote meaningful universal access and media diversity.

Certainly, STB control will help protect the STBs from theft and unlawful sale, thereby securing public investment into their manufacture and distribution. However, we remind government protecting public investment into the STBs is not limited to protection from theft alone, but also protecting the market from being flooded by “grey import” STBs.

Without signal encryption, there is no in-built mechanism to prevent non-conformant “grey-import” STBs from working in South Africa. As was evidenced in Mauritius’s own digital migration, signal encryption is crucial for ensuring that end-users are guaranteed uniformity of service. Let us eschew arrogance and exceptionalism and learn from the mistakes of those who have come before us.

Encryption will also have the effect of giving free-to-air broadcasters the opportunity to access international high-quality premium content that will attract the viewing public and keep free-to-air broadcasters viable in the digital age.

Moreover, without conditional access, there will be no STB interoperability, and end-users will be forced to buy decoder after decoder at prohibitive costs if they want to access broadcasting services additional to free-to-air. Further, “no conditional accesss presents a barrier to entry for new players, and maintains Multichoice’s market dominance in the broadcasting sector as well as its de facto monopoly in the pay-TV space.

Free set-top boxes is only half the victory, and while we await further detail from the draft policy yet to be gazetted, there remain a number of key battles to secure meaningful access to broadcasting services in the digital age. To this end, we call on the Minister of Communications to give evidence-based answers to the following questions at Tuesday’s DTT readiness briefing to Parliament as well as to the television viewing public who will be directly affected by this decision: 

  • What framing principles informed cabinet’s turn-around on its 2013 position on STB control, conditional access and encryption?
  • What evidence did Cabinet consider in the cost-benefit analysis behind its decision, and when will that evidence be made available to the public who deserve full transparency in one of the most significant infrastructure projects South Africa has ever undertaken?
  • Without encryption, how will public investment and uniformity and quality of service be protected from non-conformant “grey imports” that already exist in the market?
  • Without conditional access, how will barriers to entry for new broadcasters in the digital environment be overcome and interoperability be achieved?

At the heart of our concern is that without conditional access and encryption, South Africa is headed on a course wherein like the two nations precipitated by our colonial and apartheid past and the prevailing gross inequalities we see in South Africa today, even broadcasting services on which the majority of our people rely will be divided into a free and inferior service for the poor and a high quality service accessible only to the rich who can afford it.

For further information please contact:

Sekoetlane Phamodi
Coordinator: SOS Coalition
076 084 8077

William Bird
Director: Media Monitoring Africa
082 887 1370

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New South African Guild of Editors rate card 2015 is out

SAGE has published an annual rate card of recommended salaries for editors for the last 14 years. 
Though focussed on freelance editors, this rate card can also be used as a starting point for full-time employment negotiations.

Rates and conditions should be considered negotiable; this is a guideline, not a rigid set of rules. We encourage editors and producers alike to read our pre-employment checklist and the what to expect from an editor document.
The tables below represent a broad spread of possible rates. If the rates seem extraordinarily low or high, consider that these are intended to cover a wide range of job types, genres, durations, locations, funding models, conditions, and potential profit participation. Providing a useful guide to all these variables is highly challenging, so we have elected to use broad categories instead.
You can download the rate card as a PDF. We urge you to read about the changes below the rate card itself.

Media Monitoring Africa, SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition join Caxton in Action on SABC & Multichoice Deal

On the 17th of February 2015, MMA and SOS joined Caxton Publishers in an application to the Competition Tribunal in which we call on Multichoice and the SABC to notify the Competition Tribunal of a Merger. The application is focused on the deal between Multichoice and the SABC, entered into in 2013,and set to last to 2018.

It is our shared view that in terms of Section 12 of the Competition Act, the deal entered into between the SABC and Multichoice, in which Multichoice acquired control over part of the SABC business, constitutes a mandatory notifiable merger. We are not aware of any attempt to notify the Competition Tribunal of such a merger. If the deal is proven to be a notifiable merger it will enable us to oppose the merger on the basis that it is not in the public interest for it to take place.

When news of the deal broke in 2013, both MMA and SOS expressed deep concern as to the nature of the deal. We both believe it fundamentally works against the best and long term interests of the SABC and the people it serves.

We have three main concerns with the deal:

Handing over the SABC archive

In entering the deal, the SABC has handed over power and control of its archives to Multichoice. The archives are more than simply a collection of old broadcast programmes and material, they are an invaluable public asset, of a broadcaster that has unique footage of South Africa’s transition to a democracy, including unique footage of Mandela. As we head (albeit ever so slowly) into a digital environment, content is as gold to a jeweller. In giving control and access of the archive to a commercial player SABC has sold off the family jewels.

Encryption turnaround: 

It is our view that the SABC effectively ceded its power to determine its policy on set-top box control to a commercial broadcatsing entity that is also its competitor. The deal required that the SABC change its original policy of supporting encryption on set-top boxes. The SABC acceded to this in spite of the significant benefits such encryption would have for free-to-air broadcasters, including itself, in terms of giving it a competitive edge against their biggest rival – Multichoice’s DStv. The questions that arise are: who benefits from such a turn around, and is it in the best interest of the SABC for it to have, at Multichoice’s behest, done a u-turn on the decision to oppose encryption on set-top boxes? We believe it is not in the SABC’s best interests and it seems the issue – which might otherwise seem out of place in the agreement was inserted to support Multichoice’s case against encryption.

Best programming veto: 

In addition to the handing over of the SABC archive, the deal also sets out terms for a future channel to be developed by the SABC, in terms of which Multichoice may veto some programmes and select only the best ones to be broadcast exclusively on the SABC-Multichoice platform. In so doing, not only does the deal ensure the best future local programming is aired on its platform it also means citizens who do not subscribe to the Multichoice services will be denied viewing the programming – ensuring the most marginalised and poor citizens are deprived of quality content. This clearly goes against the public interest mandate of the SABC.

While the issue of the merger overtly targets the issue of control of the archive we believe that it will help raise broader issues relating to the digital terrestrial television (DTT) set-top box encryption debate as well as enabling a broader conversation about content on the public broadcaster in a digital environment.

How did we come get to be involved? 

As two organisations whose work around public interest programming and broadcasting is well known and respected, Caxton approached us to join an application they were bringing. We realised that on the issue of the deal, we found common agreement. We know that in other circumstances and on other issues we may strongly disagree with Caxton, (including for example Transformation in the media), as on other issues we may agree equally or strongly disagree with the SABC and/or Multichoice. In the current circumstance, joining the application has enabled us to take forward a clear public interest issue and address what is in our view fundamentally a bad deal.

For more information contact:
William Bird (MMA): 082 887 1370
Sekoetlane Phamodi (SOS): 076 084 8077

About MMA: Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) started in 1993 and is a non-profit organisation that aims to promote democracy and a culture where media and the powerful respect human rights and encourage a just and fair society.

About SOS:  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 (Media Workers Association of South Africa); 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.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Arterial Network February 2015 edition


Arterial Network is a civil society network of artists, organisations and activists engaged in growing and strengthening the cultural and creative sectors in Africa. Every month, we send our newsletter to 30 000 practitioners across Africa.

To find out more about them or read their February newsletter click here.