The South African Music Awards (Samas) apologised to media for the trash treatment behind-the-scenes of Saturday’s awards show broadcast on SABC1 that saw media not given demarcated red carpet positions, media bundled into a backroom to watch video with no sound and a litany of media access problems.
Media complained after organisers of the 23rd SAMAs only gave the SABC a proper red carpet position with dozens of accredited journalists deliberately kept away from the carpet and herded into an adjacent “media booth” away from celebrity arrivals.
Even Bonang Matheba and Kat Sinivasan covering the SAMAs for an E! Entertainment (DStv 124) red carpet special – the second time the channel from NBCUniversal International Networks did SAMA red carpet coverage – got shoddy treatment and battled to get proper access.
Media across the board were bundled into a cramped backroom with a TV screen showing the ceremony, but unlike viewers at home they got no audio, with several frustrated journalists remarking they could have gotten better access watching it from home.
Adding to the litany of logistical mismanagement and access problems not addressed by SAMA organisers and HM Entertainment, was a lack of food and a complimentary craft table. While covering the hours long award show, hungry journalists who had money had to forage to try and find something they could buy to eat.
Upset entertainment journalists from several media outlets openly grumbled and spoke about how they will limit coverage for the 24th SAMAs in 2018 and adjust their approach because of the shoddy treatment and lack of proper access and some even saying they will boycott next year’s ceremony.
“There were challenges we faced and we profusely and unreservedly apologise for the unpleasant experience some of you endured on Saturday night,” says Nhlanhla Sibisi, CEO of the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) in an email to media.
Hloni Modise, HM Entertainment managing director told media that “it is only fair that you received the correct treatment. Yes, everything was planned well and unfortunately when it came to execution things fell down the cracks, for that, I take full responsibility and I humbly apologise for that”.
RiSA and HM Entertainment said it will be doing a “media debriefing session” soon and is “going back to the drawing board” to prevent a recurrence and to relook press access and media management.