Friday, October 22, 2021

Female SABC News crew held hostage by ANC supporters in Mpumalanga released after being threatened that their car will be burned and their equipment stolen.


by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster reports that a SABC News (DStv 404) crew consisting of two female journalists and a female camera operator held hostage and threatened by ANC supporters in Mpumalanga have been rescued by the South African police.

According to the SABC, around 20 ANC supporters in the community of Buffelshoek in Bushbuckridge held a SABC News crew hostage who were in the area to do coverage of the upcoming local municipal elections in South Africa.

The hostage takers threatened to burn the SABC News crew's vehicle and to take their equipment. They also demanded that the SABC News crew delete footage of interviews they had already done.

The SABC News crew were busy doing interviews when the people approached and refused to let them leave, saying that the news crew "neglected" to interview the specific ward councillor in the area.

The police had to rescue SABC News' Nhlamulo Mabaso, Lungile Nqcongwane and Motsebi wa Monareng and escort them to safety.

Slyvia Nxumalo, the mayor of the Bushbuckridge municipality, told SABC News that "it is unfortunate what happened in our municipality.  I think there is a need for people to be educated".

"They are here to make sure that people get information in every corner of this world. I think education needs to intensify to our public to understand the issue of the media."


American actor Alec Baldwin fires prop gun on set and kills his film's cinematographer and wounds director.


by Thinus Ferreira

American media reports that the American actor Alec Baldwin has accidentally shot and killed a cinematographer on set and wounded the director of the film Rust after he fired a prop gun on the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico on Thursday.

Alec Baldwin shot and killed the Rust director of photography Halyna Hutchins (42) and wounded director Joel Souza (48). Halyna Hutchins was flown by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque where she was pronounced dead while Joel Souza was hospitalised and is in a critical condition.

Production on Rust has immediately and indefinitely been paused that Alec Baldwin wrote, produced and had a role in as the infamous outlaw Rust whose 13-year-old grandson is convicted of an accidental murder.

Halyna Hutchins is Ukrainian-born and has been working in Los Angeles. She grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle and attended the Kyiv National University where she graduated with a degree in international journalism before working for a period of time on British documentary productions as an investigative journalist 

"The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today's tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna's family and loved ones," says Rust Movies Productions LLC in a statement.

"We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department's investigation."

"We will be providing counselling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event."

The Santa Fe Sheriff's Department in a statement said that "Alec Baldwin was questioned by investigators and released. No arrests or charges have been filed. This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives."

America's SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, in a statement, say: "We are devastated by this tragic news".

"Our hearts go out to the family of director of photography Halyna Hutchins who has passed away and to director Joel Souza who is injured and hospitalised."

"This is still an active investigation and we do not yet have all the facts. We will continue to work with production, the other unions, and the authorities to investigate this incident and to understand how to prevent such a thing from happening again."

Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer, a film on which Halyna Hutchins worked previously, wrote on Twitter "I'm so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set. She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film".

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Alec Baldwin could be seen outside the the sheriff's office headquarters and was distraught and in tears while talking on his cellphone.

The accidental firing of guns that killed people on set in America have happened before, for instance the death of actor Jon-Erik Hexum in 1984 who accidentally shot himself on the set of the TV series Cover Up when he fired a gun loaded with blanks.

In 1993 the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee, died after he was accidentally shot on set during filming of The Crow.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Blood Psalms to debut on MultiChoice's Showmax in February 2022, 'It was scary and a massive challenge,' says showrunner Layla Swart.


by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice, M-Net and Showmax's 10-episode African mythos series from creative duo Layla Swart and Jahmil X.T Qubeka's Yellowbone Entertainment will debut on Showmax in February 2022 with Jahmil X.T Qubeka who revealed that Blood Psalms will make its debut on the streaming service early next year.

MultiChoice did a "viewing" and panel discussion for Blood Psalms on Tuesday evening in Dubai as part of its Expo 2020 Dubai marketing exercise in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

MultiChoice's inexplicable move to do a first viewing and panel session for Blood Psalms in Dubai, inaccessible to local media, stirred anger and resentment under the South African press corps covering television, upset over the way in which MultiChoice is promoting so-called "homegrown TV series" like Reyka and Blood Psalms outside of South Africa's borders first.

Following ReykaBlood Psalms as a Showmax Original, is now the second series for which MultiChoice is doing foreign cast and crew panel sessions and previews - and first - but without any similar effort or the same access for series given to local press in South Africa.

Reyka made its debut screening at the Monte Carlo TV festival in Monaco in June where a cast and crew panel session for media and buyers was also held. M-Net did nothing similar in South Africa for the local media with no virtual or in-person media session, and requests to interview the showrunner that were ignored.

For Blood Psalms, MultiChoice decided that Dubai - months before the series' debut date - is more important than South Africa as the show's first stop for a viewing and cast and crew media session.

Ironically, although not unexpected, by Thursday afternoon only one of the media flown by MultiChoice to Dubai to cover its various Dubai Expo 2020 activities like the disappointing 1 Night With Mzansi variety special on Sunday night, have managed to file a report about Tuesday evening's Blood Psalms panel session.

Media flown at great cost to Dubai appeared more interested in sharing multiple lifestyle selfies on Instagram and Twitter about their weeklong MultiChoice-sponsored staycation than about what they went to presumably cover, snapping and sharing images from boat parties, hotel rooms, desert excursions and nightclub afterparties but with little to no reporting about MultiChoice, M-Net, DStv and Showmax and their actual content.

Layla Swart and Jahmil X.T Qubeka were joined in Dubai for MultiChoice's Blood Psalms panel session by cast members Zolisa Xaluva playing soldier Toka, and Zikhona Sodlaka who plays Sithenjwa, with the two characters who end up marrying each other.

Thando Tabethe plays Heka, a god manifesting as a physical being, with Faith Baloyi as Queen Assilli and the court's advisor with access to magic, while Bokang Pehalane is cast in the role of the teenage Princess Zazi trying to save her people from a world-ending prophecy.

Speaking about Blood Psalms in Dubai, Layla Swart said "I knew it was ambitious. I knew it was a longshot. And I knew it was going to be very difficult to present to any finance partner something so novel - something so, that has never been done before."

"We really fought to do it in vernac(ular language). The space of such a high-end production is also a space that we hope will be received internationally and globally and that often means that it needs to be in a language that is accessible."

"But I'm proud that we fought for that and I'm proud of the product that we've created. Jahmil and I have this saying of you must never be fearless but you must fear less. I think that really encapsulates what Blood Psalms was to us."

"It was scary, it was a massive challenge. We didn't know how we would do it. And I mean, every step was a challenge but we feared less."

Jahmil X.T Qubeka during Tuesday evening's panel discussion remarked that it's very important to have heroes "but because of our turbulent past, black South Africans don't have that. We don't have archetypes that we can hold onto."

"We've got Shaka. Maybe a few here or there. But you know what I mean. I talk in the contemporary space. It's very important that we see ourselves in projections - not just in our current situation, but in our possibility. And for me really that was the main mission: It's to bring back heroes again."


Desperate HouseWives are doing drug selling in e.tv’s latest drama series, 'important that we hear women's stories,' says actress Angela Lieveaux.


by Thinus Ferreira

e.tv has released a new locally-produced drama series, HouseWives, on its eVOD service with the story that revolves around desperate housewives starting a drug cartel that will unspool on its video streaming offering first before it is broadcast on e.tv.

HouseWives - produced by The Milton Empire (TME) with Siphosethu Tshapu as executive producer, Siphosethu Tshapu as head writer and Sevetian Su Ong Maslamoney as director of photography - consists of 26 episodes and filmed two seasons over 3 months, with the first episode that is now available on eVOD.

In releasing series episodes for streaming, eVOD is taking a weekly approach like Showmax, Apple TV+, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, instead of releasing all content at once like Netflix, with a new episode of HouseWives that will become available on eVOD every Thursday.

HouseWives is available subscription free on e.tv's eVOD app or through the website with a broadcasting date on e.tv that hasn't been determined yet.

In HouseWives, the lives of three housewives are changed forever when their husbands are killed by a drug cartel boss. 

Akhona Khumalo (Sive Mabuya), Summer Pietersen (Angela Lieveaux), and Lawrencia "Lolo" Ntsimane (Gabisile Tshabalala) are left with the heavy debt left by their spouses' criminal activities and are forced to work for the Colombian drug cartel leader to pay off the debt - however, they end up deciding to outsmart the cartel boss and open a syndicate of their own.

Also starring in the show are Renate Stuurman as Dragon, Terrence Gumede as Loyiso MacDonald, as well as a supporting cast including Mavuso Magabane, Van-Lee Johnson, Louis Ngcayiya, Senzo Radebe and TK Sebothoma.

Gabisile Tshabalala in an interview on Thursday's edition of e.tv's The Morning Show said that shooting the series for her was "emotionally draining".

"It was tiring. I literally had to go on holiday alone, just to detox and debrief because I was literally living this person."

About playing three housewives who have to team up and support each other in a ruthless environment, she said "we built a very special relationship between the three of us because we really went in. We went all out into bringing out these characters."

Angela Lieveaux about depicting her character of Summer says "daily it was a struggle - I had to centre myself; there were moments that were very quiet on set for me before getting into a scene. There were moments where tears weren't coming, but the feeling was very much there. I was living, eating, breathing Summer".

She says that what viewers, especially women, watching HouseWives might come away with when seeing these women and their stories, is that "our adversities may appear different but we are so similar in nature. We are driven by inner strength and if we listen to that innate, resonating sound of our inner voice, we can go towards anything if we draw from our core strength."

"It's so important that we hear women's stories because we all have a story that should be told and it's powerful."

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Netflix to switch ratings from number of households watching to hours, promises more viewership transparency and a more normalised content slate in 2022.


by Thinus Ferreira

Late on Tuesday night when it latest third quarter subscriber numbers Netflix announced that it will be changing its ratings and will be switching from the number of households watching to hours viewed, promised more ratings transparency for the TV industry, and said that it would have a more normalised content slate in 2022.

Netflix announced that it added another 4.38 million subscribers during the third quarter, and now reaches nearly 2014 million subscribers as the world's biggest streaming service.

With the release of the South Korean drama series Squid Game, the apocalyptic series has now become Netflix's most-watched show ever, with 142 million households worldwide sampling the show.

The Asia-Pacific region was the biggest contributor during the third quarter of new Netflix subscribers numbers, adding 2.2 million; with the Africa, Europe and Middle East (EMEA) region in second place and adding 1.8 million subscribers during the period.

In its Q3 investors' letter that Netflix issues four time a year, the company said it's changing the way it calculates ratings internally and that "Later in the year, we will shift to reporting on hours viewed for our titles rather than the number of accounts that choose to watch them".

"There is some difference in rankings but we think engagement as measured by hours viewed is a slightly better indicator of the overall success of our titles and member satisfaction."

"It also matches how outside services measure TV viewing and gives proper credit to rewatching. In addition, we will start to release title metrics more regularly outside of our earnings report so our members and the industry can better measure success in the streaming world."

Smaller video streamers like MultiChoice's Showmax in Africa and Apple's Apple TV+ have followed Netflix as the global category leader and have been notoriously secretive about releasing any of their actual subscribers numbers or viewing ratings of their content.


Upcoming content and more normalised content slate
Netflix said that it's "eagerly anticipating the rest of its Q4 slate".

This includes "a great mix of popular returning English language series like The Witcher, You, Tiger King and Cobra Kai, big returning non-English series like Sintonia and the final chapter of La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)".

Netflix said it would also release "exciting new movies such as the action film Red Notice (starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds), Don't Look Up (including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet, Tyler Perry and Meryl Streep), as well as The Harder They Fall (Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, LaKeith Stanfield, Regina King and Idris Elba), Army of Thieves (the prequel to our hit movie, Army of the Dead) and The Unforgivable starring Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis and Jon Bernthal".

"The latest films from acclaimed directors Jane Campion (The Power Of The Dog) and Paolo Sorrentino (The Hand of God) are also coming to Netflix in Q4."

Netflix said that "Assuming no new Covid waves or unforeseen events that result in large scale production shutdowns, we currently anticipate a more normalized content slate in 2022, with a greater number of originals in 2022 vs 2021 and a release schedule that is more balanced over the course of the year, as compared to 2021."

Entries open for DStv's Big Brother Mzansi that will run on M-Net's Mzansi Magic channel - this is how to enter and who the producers are looking for.


by Thinus Ferreira

Entries have opened for DStv and M-Net's revival of Big Brother Mzansi with South Africans who have until 6 November at 17:00 to enter online by uploading a 2-minute video of themselves showing and telling who they are and motivating why they should be one of the contestants.

Last week MultiChoice announced through its Duma Collective PR agency that following the success of Big Brother Naija done from Lagos, M-Net is reviving Big Brother Mzansi after 7 years for another South African season.

"The MultiChoice Group and Banijay are pleased to announce that the much-loved Big Brother Mzansi will be making its highly anticipated return to your screens soon, and it promises to be as exciting, entertaining and action-packed as ever," MultiChoice and M-Net's local entertainment division said in a statement.

Big Brother Mzansi will run as a 24/7 channel on MultiChoice's DStv, with daily highlight shows on M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel. 

Additional programming will likely also be produced for MultiChoice's Showmax video streaming service that ran ancillary programming for the past two seasons of Big Brother Naija.

M-Net and Endemol did the first season of Big Brother South Africa exactly 20 years ago in 2001 with Mark Pilgrim as the host.

South Africans who will be at least 21-years old by January 2022 can enter at https://shortaudition.net/Big-Brother-Mzansi by 6 November.

The Big Brother Mzansi producers say they are looking for "a dynamic group of individuals who are articulate, interesting and exhibit enthusiasm for the project" as well as "a willingness to share their most private thoughts in an open forum of strangers".

Only people who think they can endure approximately 100 days in a camera-filled house "under extraordinary conditions" should apply and videos done on a cellphone must be filmed in landscape mode by holding the phone horizontal and not in portrait (vertical) style.

A video that is a maximum of 2-minutes of length must be uploaded on the website, and very importantly, the video should end with the person saying and completing the sentence: "I would make a perfect housemate because ...".

The 2-minute video must contain a person's name, email and phone number clearly stated, and people should avoid all forms of filters, special video effects, copyrighted music and background music - make the producers see the real, best you.

"When describing yourself, remember to cite real life examples," the producers ask, saying "We love a good story! Making a casting video is not about putting together the best skit or wearing the wackiest costumes. We're looking for real people and we want to see the real you."

"If you come from a unique region or area of the country, talk about where you're from, how it’s a part of your personality, or how it may help you do well on Big Brother Mzansi. If you have an interesting job, talk about your job and how those skills may help you win the show."

Together with uploading the video, contestants must complete an online profile form asking details about hobbies, relationship status, parents details, education and very importantly a person's Covid-19 vaccination status.

Contestants who make it through the first selection round will be contacted by email by no later than 28 November 2021, and must then be available for another audition and a possible video interview.

Contestants who are selected by the production for an interview in the semi-final round, must be willing and able to travel to Johannesburg at a time scheduled by the producers.

People who enter must be willing to live in the Big Brother Mzansi camera-filled house in Johannesburg with about a dozen strangers where there will be little to no privacy.

Contestants must be a South African citizen or permanent resident of South Africa  since 1 October 2021 and be in possession of a valid identity document, and the show requires "excellent physical and mental health"

If you are selected to be interviewed, contestants will have to complete psychological and health questionnaires and complete a physical examination in Johannesburg including blood and urine tests and sign a confidentiality agreement (including immediate family members).

Contestants will also have to provide documents like a birth certificate, passport and a medical history form.


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

America's Comcast unveils its new XClass TV set enabling seamless video streaming.


by Thinus Ferreira

Following the unveiling of Sky's new Sky Glass TV set in the United Kingdom earlier this month, Comcast in America on Tuesday afternoon unveiled its new XClass TV set from Hisense that is 4K capable and that will enable seamless streaming for pay-TV consumers eliminating the need for a decoder or set-top box.

There's not yet been any indications that the MultiChoice Group in South Africa plans any similar integrated TV set for its DStv service in Africa that seems to lag behind international industry trends.

MultiChoice announced that it's launching a DStv Streama decoder in August 2020 but over a year later MultiChoice's DStv Streama became so-called "vapourware" with the company offering no explanation for not launching it.

Comcast announced that the XClass TV, priced at $298 (R4339) for a 43inch model and with a sticker price of $348 (R5068) for a 50-inch 4K Ultra HD model will come with a year's free subscription to NBCUniversal's Peacock Premium subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming service.

The XClass TV sets will go on sale from this week in the United States.

The Hisense XClass TV sets include support for Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10 and can enable the pass-through of Dolby Atmos from compatible content sources when the TV is connected to a compatible audio device.

Similar to Sky Glass that bundles a whole collection of streaming services, the XClass TV aggregates content from Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV and America's Dish Network's Sling TV.

XClass TV users also get access to video streamers like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, WarnerMedia's HBO Max, Hulu, YouTube, Comcast's Xumo, ViacomCBS's Pluto, Fox's Tubi and Amazon's IMDb TV.


"We're thrilled to bring our award-winning entertainment experience to smart TVs nationwide and for the first-time, offer consumers inside and outside our service areas a simple way to navigate their live and on-demand content, whether streaming or cable," says Sam Schwartz, Comcast's chief business development officer, in a press release.

David Gold, president of Hisense USA, in the statement says that "As a rapidly growing brand in the Untied States, Hisense is committed not only to quality products but also to providing an array of options for our customers".

"We're excited to partner with Comcast to bring the first XClass TVs to market in the United States."

Key features of the XClass TV operating system include simple search and discovery that gets consumers quickly to the content they want to watch, regardless of what app or service it resides in with just a click or a voice command, Comcast says.

The XClass TV also has gives users the functionality to create a personalised playlist with the "My List" feature, enabling consumers to save and quickly access shows or movies from across apps and services from the home screen or through a button on the remote.

The XClass TV has a curated interface that combines automated suggestions with editorial recommendations to help consumers discover programming from across streaming apps and services.

Comcast says that the XClass TV set gives "convenient and seamless access to recently viewed apps, services, content, HDMI inputs, and over the air TV channels on the first row of the home screen to help consumers get back to their favourite entertainment faster".

The XClass TV has built-in voice technology that allows consumers to discover content quickly with a simple voice command, working in and out of apps to get content wherever the viewer is in a viewing experience.

"Comcast's global voice platform supports more than 40 million commands daily in 5 different languages across North America and Europe," the company says.


BREAKING. High Court orders eMedia's Openview to restore Nismedia's Glow TV channel immediately to it's satellite service after channel carriage fight.


by Thinus Ferreira

Nismedia that runs the Glow TV channel on Tuesday afternoon said in a statement that the High Court today ordered eMedia's Openview satellite TV service to restore the channel immediately and to put it back on Openview following an acrimonious channel carriage fight

There's been no immediate statement from Openview so far but a statement will be added here if one is issued.

The drama, followed by an avalanche of anger from Openview viewers began after Openview abruptly dumped Glow TV on 1 October from its service without any prior warning or explanation.

Openview said in a public statement on its Facebook page two weeks ago that it's partnership with Glow TV had come to an end.

Openview gave its customers no warning about the sudden and unexpected removal of Glow TV on 1 October, angering a large group of Openview viewers who publicly vented about Glow TV's abrupt removal and who slammed Openview over both the channel's removal and Openview's lack of communication or any prior warning about it. 


Glow TV is run by CEO Nazeer Noormohamed who is also the CEO of the NisMedia Group, who said that NisMedia would be taking Openview to court and that it had a channel carriage agreement to keep Glow TV on Openview until February 2023.

According to insiders, Openview and NisMedia allegedly had a disagreement regarding a separate advertising sales contract that Openview wanted to introduce for Glow TV that NisMedia refused to sign.

That allegedly led to Openview making the decision to terminate the channel carriage of Glow TV.  

From the court documents it appears that eMedia decided to dump Glow TV citing a decline in viewership of the channel, that also led to a decrease in advertising revenue.

"We are pleased to inform you, our loyal viewers, that the High Court has today ordered Openview to immediately place Glow TV back on it's platform by latest noon tomorrow, Wednesday 20 October," Glow TV management said in a statement.

"Furthermore the court has stated that whatever our disputes are, these should go for arbitration, as per our contract, which we have also been requesting, instead of OpenView unilaterally switching us off."

"The arbitration process should start by next week and hopefully be resolved by end November. We thank all our loyal viewers for your prayers, support and patience."

NisMedia added that "We ask our StarSat and StarTimes viewers to bear with us, as we repeat the missed shows for the benefit of our OpenView viewers".

MultiChoice dumped Glow TV a few years ago from its DStv satellite pay-TV service but Glow TV remains available on China's StarTimes service operating under the brand name of StarSat in South Africa.


e.tv News and eNCA reporter Natalie Malgas and cameraman Lance Manjoro robbed in Khayelitsha, camera equipment and phones stolen by 4 men with guns.


by Thinus Ferreira

The e.tv News and eNCA (DStv 403) reporter Natalie Malgas and cameraman Lance Manjoro were attacked, held at gunpoint and robbed in an ambush on Monday while reporting from Khayelitsha in Cape Town.

On social media Natalie Malgas said that she had "survived my scariest day on the job" and that "my cameraman and I were held at gunpoint in Khayelitsha while covering local general elections 2021 stories. We're unhurt and safe now. Be safe in the field colleagues".

Natalie Malgas explained that camera equipment and their phones were stolen in the ambush by 4 guys with two guns. "It all happened so fast," she said.

"We're hopeful that while the South African Police Service conducts its investigation into this matter, arrests will be made soon," says John Bailey, eNCA managing editor.

"It's concerning for us that while we're covering the local government elections and highlighting the plight of communities, our teams are vulnerable in the face of such barbaric criminality."

"While our team is unhurt, they're very traumatised. However, we are providing them with the necessary support."

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) says "Other incidents of robbery of journalists have been reported in Cape Town and elsewhere in the country".

"We note that these attacks are now becoming a norm, putting the lives of journalists at risk. We call on law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute these criminals."

"Without journalists focusing on the plight of communities, such stories will go unreported. South Africa is becoming a very dangerous place for journalists and, apart from attacks on the field, journalists also face cyber-bulling and severe attacks on social media platforms."

The horrific incident in which a South African TV news crew got robbed followed after a Newzroom Afrika news team was attacked and robbed and their vehicle broken into while they were reporting live from East London earlier this month.

In July criminals attacked the SABC News (DStv 404) reporter Natasha Phiri and cameraman Gqabi Njokweni in a gunpoint robbery in Alexandra. They were robbed of a live-crossing device, camera, box with cables and broadcast equipment, 2 cellphones and a handbag. 

In April the reporter Monique Mortlock of eNCA (DStv 403) and eNuus on kykNET (DStv 144), along with cameraman Asanda Javu were robbed in Khayelitsha as well as the TV news crew were doing a report and live crossing about the lack of service delivery in the area.


2021 MTV Europe Music Awards to counteract Hungary's anti-gay laws in November, will recognise LGBTQ+ activists to 'fight for equality for all'.


by Thinus Ferreira

ViacomCBS's MTV says that its 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) will go ahead in Budapest, Hungary this year on 14 November to counter the country's draconian anti-gay laws and "to fight for equality for all".

The 2021 MTV Europe Awards will take place in the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna in Hungary on 14 November and will be broadcast on MTV channels worldwide including in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service.

The MTV Europe Music Awards was supposed to have taken place in Hungary last year but ended up being done as a virtual event because of the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic.

Now the EMAs in Hungary is back on, however since then the government in that country has passed oppressive anti-gay legislation that bans any LGBTQ+ content from being shown on television and with TV programmes that are not allowed to feature or include any gay people during daytime or primetime if viewers under the age of 18 might be watching.

Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group Worldwide, who is gay, on Tuesday said that MTV will use the opportunity of the 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards "to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Hungary and around the world as we continue to fight for equality for all".

MTV says that this year's EMAs will be "a global celebration of music for all audiences around the world" with the channel that today revealed that it has expanded its partnership with All Out and will amplify the group's campaigns throughout the year.

Next month's EMAs will now specifically recognise LGBTQ+ activists in Hungary and around the world through the 2021 MTV Generation Change Award that is being done in partnership with the All Out advocacy group.

"Let me be clear, it's been widely reported that if enforced as written, the law [in Hungary] could impact mainstream content like Modern Family and Friends, movies like Harry Potter, Star Trek and others," Chris McCarthy says.

"As a result, ViacomCBS, along with others like Google and Lego, banded together to publicly oppose this law stating it would increase discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ people."

"I have to be honest with you, as a gay man, my personal emotions got the better of me. After learning this legislation passed, my knee jerk reaction was that we should move the event to another country."

"However, after my emotions cooled down, I picked up the phone to connect with global LGBTQ+ advocates like All Out, got feedback from LGBTQ+ advocates in Hungary, spoke with other team members from around the world and consulted our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, Emerge."

"It was the 1990s, and I'd never met another gay person before. My only lifeline was television. It gave me a direct window into a new world, one that gave me hope that I wasn't alone," says Chris McCarthy.

"To all those kids at home: there is hope, and you will always have a home with us on MTV Entertainment."

"Growing up gay in a working-class community, being able to see out role models on TV like Pedro Zamora from The Real World provided a literal lifeline for me and inspired a sense of hope and possibility to be the full person I was meant to be."

"That is why I am so proud to work at ViacomCBS, which has always championed equality for all, and why I’m so honoured to stand in solidarity with my LGBTQ+ siblings as we celebrate the 2021 MTV EMAs from Hungary."

Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International, says "With a global footprint spanning 180 countries and countless cultures, the 2021 MTV EMAs will be an incredible moment for every member of our audience to come together to celebrate music and the power it has to transcend borders".

"After such a long period, I couldn’t be happier for the EMAs to land in Budapest for what's sure to be an extraordinary night that will resonate globally."