Monday, June 8, 2009

The TV is broke, fix it

More than a thousand members of the embattled independent television production industry marched on SABC headquarters in Johannesburg on Thursday to hand in a memorandum calling for change at the public broadcaster. by Matthew Krouse
The producers first rallied at the refurbished Atlas Studios in Milpark, Johannesburg, the production hub where production and post-production takes place for some of South Africa's top television shows.

The parking lot directly outside the studios became a platform for outspoken and confrontational outbursts directed at the SABC.

Spokesperson for the Young Communist League Castro Ngobese told the crowd: "Down with the SABC board of boyfriends and girlfriends!" He blamed former president Thabo Mbeki and his former spokesperson, Smuts Ngonyama, for "looting the SABC to fund Cope".

Ngobese called for the SABC board to be dissolved before the government provides what is expected to be a R2-billion bail-out.

Others called for the payment of residual fees to television writers, royalties for musicians, the use of standard contracts and repeat fees for actors once the broadcaster has sold material to networks in other countries.

The march organisers had asked the protesters to wear red. They responded by sporting a range of radical chic items in the appropriate colour, including Fidel Castro-like T-shirts and red technician overalls.

Placards read: "It's broke so fix it", "It's just not write", "Act now or we won't" and "Proverbs 2010 -- and the SABC said 'Let there be darkness'."

The broadcaster's acronym was rewritten as "Stop Actors Being Cheated".

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