Tuesday, December 31, 2013

BREAKING. Dudley Saunders shocking death investigated by Arrow Media production company following his filming of World's Most Extreme.

The events surrounding Dudley Saunders' shocking and unexpected death yesterday in Soweto is being investigated by the British production company Arrow Media for which the cameraman was working, filming a production entitled World's Most Extreme.

Arrow Media tells TV with Thinus in a statement it's currently investigating "the sequence of events which led to this tragic accident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Dudley Saunders during this very difficult time".

Dudley Saunders (45) was filming with his camera between train tracks in southern Soweto and wanted to get a speeding metro rail train as the backdrop. The speeding train brushed him as he stood very close next to the train track as the speeding train came past. The train pulled him off balance, dragged him along and he died instantly.

Dudley Saunders' memorial service will be next Tuesday, 7 January, which would have been his birthday.

His death came as a huge shock for South Africa's TV news industry, generating an outpouring of tributes for the man from many of South Africa's top TV names in front of, and behind, the camera who've worked with him over the past two decades.

Dudley Saunders is the 3rd South African cameraman who've also worked for the SABC who tragically died this year.

The Londen-based production company says that Arrow Media was informed on Monday morning "of a fatal accident involving the South African based cameraman, Dudley Saunders, whilst on a shoot which took place near Johannesburg for the Arrow Media production, World's Most Extreme".

Dudley Saunders leaves behind his partner of many years, two children, his parents (his dad who is Cliff Saunders, the famed former SABC political TV reporter and international correspondent), and siblings.

Dudley Saunders is the 3rd South African cameraman who've worked for the SABC, to die tragically in 2013.

Cameraman Dudley Saunders who unexpectedly and tragically died yesterday in Soweto while filming a story in between train tracks, is the 3rd cameraman this year who've worked for the SABC and who all passed away in 2013.

Besides Dudley Saunders, cameramen the South African television industry sadly lost in 2013, and who've all worked for the SABC, include Ivan Oberholzer and Mokgethi Motseko.

The TV industry also lost cameraman Jan de Klerk who also worked for the SABC in December 2012.

BREAKING. Dudley Saunders: 'He wasn't just cool, he was also kind and extremely hardworking," says Robyn Curnow, CNN Int correspondent.

Dudley Saunders oozed confidence and knowledge and encouraged and supported every TV reporter he was out with doing a story, says Robyn Curnow, CNN International's correspondent in South Africa and who worked with the legendary cameraman over many years.

Robyn Curnow is weighing in, as is the rest of South Africa's shocked TV industry, following the unexpected death of the beloved and fearless cameraman Dudley Saunders on Tuesday in a freak accident while filming a story with the British production company Arrow Media.

"Duds was one of the first cameramen I worked with when I started reporting for the SABC in 1996," Robyn Curnow, who is also the anchor of the weekly CNN Marketplace Africa, tells TV with Thinus.

"I never studied journalism, I learnt my trade from working with him. He didn't do it on purpose - he just oozed confidence and knowledge. Pictures, words, angles, interviews ... he had a natural ability to support you and encourage you."

"We were kind of a team for many years, travelling the country and documenting Nelson Mandela's new South Africa for the nightly news bulletin," says Robyn Curnow.

"He would swagger into a newsroom, cigarette in hand, hair shaved bald and a camera slung over his shoulder. He wasn't just cool, he was also kind and extremely hardworking. Every story was important. Dudley would flirt with the interviewee, charm a stubborn policeman and be patient with an old pensioner."

"With Dudley there was always lots of adventures, Jack Daniels and damn good journalism," says Robyn Curnow.

BREAKING. Dudley Saunders: 'We have lost one of our greatest talents. We will miss him dearly,' says George Mazarakis from Carte Blanche.

"The entire Carte Blanche team is deeply mourning the death of the M-Net programme's principal cameraman, Dudley Saunders," George Mazarakis, the executive producer of Carte Blanche tells TV with Thinus in a statement.

George Mazarakis is weighing in, as is the rest of South Africa's shocked TV industry, following the unexpected death of the beloved and fearless cameraman Dudley Saunders on Tuesday in a freak accident while filming a story for the British production company Arrow Media.

"We have lost one of our greatest talents," says George Mazarakis.

"Dudley was a key member of the Carte Blanche family and a true gentleman and consummate professional."

"His work ethic set high standards for all those lucky enough to work with him and his artistry created images that moved and inspired his audiences. It was a delight and a privilege to have known and worked with this awesome man among men! We will miss him dearly," says George Mazarakis.

BREAKING. Legendary cameraman Dudley Saunders dead following freak train accident in Soweto shooting for Arrow Media.

The South African cameraman Dudley Saunders - son of the well-remembered former SABC journalist Cliff Saunders - died on Tuesday after he was hit by a train. He was 45.

Dudley Saunders was busy shooting a programme in Soweto on Tuesday working for the British production company Arrow Media when he died following a freak accident involving a train.

Dudley Saunders was shooting an interview between train tracks in southern Soweto and wanted to get a speeding metro rail train in the backdrop. The speeding train brushed him as it came past, pulled him off balance and dragged him along. He died instantly.

Dudley Saunders' funeral will be next Tuesday, 7 January, which would have been his birthday.

Dudley Saunders, a veteran former SABC cameraman, and whose work ethic, demeanour, and legacy can only be described as legendary, also worked for Combined Artistic Productions which produces M-Net's long-running Sunday night magazine show Carte Blanche.

Dudley Saunders had been an on-the-go production stalwart behind the lens at Carte Blanche for many years, and in 2013 the absolutely fearless and resolute Dudley Saunders was the cameraman who filmed the majority of Carte Blanche's stories.

South Africa's television news industry is reacting with shock and sadness about the unexpected passing of Dudley Saunders.

"The entire Carte Blanche team is deeply mourning the death of the M-Net programme's principal cameraman, Dudley Saunders," George Mazarakis, Carte Blanche executive producer tells TV with Thinus in a statement.

"We have lost one of our greatest talents. Dudley was a key member of the Carte Blanche family and a true gentleman and consummate professional. His work ethic set high standards for all those lucky enough to work with him and his artistry created images that moved and inspired his audiences. It was a delight and a privilege to have known and worked with this awesome man among men! We will miss him dearly," says George Mazarakis.

"Can't believe how many camera crews and  producers are grieving right now," said Derek Watts, Carte Blanche anchor. "[He] filmed the most volatile situations around the world but treated every shoot as a new challenge. Will miss him beyond words."

"Devastated to hear about Dudley Saunders - one of the best cameramen I ever filmed with," said Debora Patta, e.tv's former 3rd Degree anchor and now CBS News correspondent. "Filming with Dudley Saunders was always more than just a story - it was an adventure, a work of art and a hell of a lot of fun."

Devi Sankaree Govender, Carte Blanche presenter called Dudley Saunders her "brother and friend", saying he always had her back during confrontational interviews.

"Duds was one of the first cameramen I worked with when I started reporting for the SABC in 1996," Robyn Curnow, CNN International correspondent in South Africa and anchor of the weekly CNN Marketplace Africa tells TV with Thinus.

"I never studied journalism, I learnt my trade from working with him. He didn't do it on purpose - he just oozed confidence and knowledge. Pictures, words, angles, interviews ... he had a natural ability to support you and encourage you."

"We were kind of a team for many years, travelling the country and documenting Nelson Mandela's new South Africa for the nightly news bulletin."

"He would swagger into a newsroom, cigarette in hand, hair shaved bald and a camera slung over his shoulder. He wasn't just cool, he was also kind and extremely hardworking. Every story was important. Dudley would flirt with the interviewee, charm a stubborn policeman and be patient with an old pensioner."

"With Dudley there was always lots of adventures, Jack Daniels and damn good journalism," says Robyn Curnow.

Jimi Matthews, the SABC's head of news calls Dudley Saunders "a creative craftsmen" and his death "a singular loss".

Dudley Saunder's mother, Riah Saunders told SABC Television News that "my son was a very brave boy, courageous, honest, and a very unique child. Very loveable."

Dudley Saunders ironically was the cameraman on the 2010 TV documentary Surfing Soweto from Sara Blecher (work for which he also received a Safta nomination), following so-called "train-surfers" in Soweto who notoriously rode on top of trains as a dangerous form of sport and self-expression.

Two years ago in August 2011 Dudley Saunders was hit by stones but kept filming despite bleeding, while covering ANC Youth League and Julius Malema supporters going on a rampage in Johannesburg.

His work saw him travelling widely.

Being a cameraman for TV news and numerous investigative magazine shows, his name and work showed up when the credits rolled on shows over the past two decades on South African television and beyond, ranging from Special Assignment to 3rd Degree. As such Dudley Saunders was no stranger to dangerous situations where circumstances could often changed instantly.

In 1993, then working for CCV (the SABC's TV4 channel after a name-change) Dudley Saunders suffered serious injuries in Sharpeville and ended up in hospital after he was knifed and beaten by a group of 30 people while filming a story for SABC News. The SABC's TV reporter with him at the time, died after bleeding to death.

Dudley Saunders was also the cameraman for My Dead Husband's Land, the award-winning South African documentary film which won as best documentary in 2008 at the Baltimore Women's Film Festival.

ALSO READ: Dudley Saunders shocking death investigated by Arrow Media production company following filming of World's Most Extreme.
ALSO READ: Dudley Saunders is the 3rd South African cameraman who've worked for the SABC, to tragically die in 2013.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The SABC's debilitating incompetence botch even the 'presedent's' annual Christmas message to South African viewers.

Years of growing neglect at the SABC, debilitating incompetence, corruption, mismanagement and very few skilled and qualified staff left who actually still know what they're doing at the South African public broadcaster, has now seen even the annual Christmas message from the president or deputy president of South Africa being botched on television.

If this happened on the BBC with Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas message or on other public broadcaster's around the world there would be outrage and a full-blown Christmas broadcasting scandal.

On the sad and sorry SABC, it's just taken with a shrug - most probably because most South Africans have become so used to sub par broadcasting standards and practices. And that's just sad.

On Wednesday 25 December the SABC which only had to spell 5 words couldn't even get that right for the deputy "presedent" Kgalema Motlanthe's title card.

These ongoing embarrassing mistakes take place at the SABC where its second highest executive, the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng, never passed Grade 12 yet holds the title of acting chief operations officer (COO).

At least the photo and the country flag the SABC used were correct.

What will 2014 hold for the SABC during an election year in South Africa? Undoubtedly more public ridicule, scandal and shockers because the fundamentals which lead to the implosion of excellence and performance at the SABC are not, and have not been, changing.

Monday, December 23, 2013

BREAKING. MultiChoice and On Digital Media (ODM) losing Kidsco channel on 31 December 2013 on their DStv and StarSat pay-TV platforms.

KidsCo (DStv 308 / StarSat 255) on MultiChoice's DStv and on On Digital Media (ODM) is getting the ax on 31 December 2013 with the kids channel set to disappear from DStv and StarSat within days - even earlier than the ""early 2014" which the abrupt channel termination was announced in November by NBCUniversal and Corus Entertainment.

MultiChoice and ODM will both be looking for a replacement kids channel for the dumped Kidsco, but the replacement might be different on DStv and StarSat and not necessarily the same channel.

MultiChoice is already looking at a possible replacement children's channel for Kidsco, ODM said it would be looking but hasn't started.

Kidsco won't see the new year - it's shockingly killed off for South African viewers one minute before midnight on 31 December.

MultiChoice will start running a notice of termination from 15:00 on 27 December, telling DStv subscribers that Kidsco is getting cancelled, with the notice which will remain until 14 January when DStv channel 308 won't exist anymore.

Kidsco from NBCUniversal and Corus Entertainment which started in 2007 relaunched with big fanfare at the beginning of the year, and announced specially commissioned new programming for a Syfy Kids block.

All of that is now gone and over, with an abrupt and ignominious end for Kidsco.

Kidsco's end marks and bookends a tumultuous year for both DStv and TopTV (now StarSat), with both MultiChoice and On Digital Media which saw several TV channels ending for South African viewers - the most ever channel terminations in 2013 - since pay-TV commenced in South Africa.

Friday, December 20, 2013

BREAKING. StarSat loses the TLC channel from Discovery Networks International; StarSat hit by channels black-out during migration problem.

StarSat is losing the TLC channel permamently amidst a technical transmission switch-over drama which saw all the TV channels on StarSat go black on Thursday afternoon leaving StarSat subscribers stunned, shocked and bewildered.

Only a handful of channels came back later, but StarSat is losing the TLC channel permanently which was supplied by Discovery Networks International.

After brand name damage the past two years, On Digital Media (OMD) and China’s StarTimes just relaunched the struggling TopTV under the new StarSat name with a controversial, add-on porn bouquet. 

Now the "new" satellite pay-TV operator is however losing its first channel under the rebranded service.On Thursday afternoon StarSat channels simply went dead leaving subscribers baffled. A handful of channels returned eventually but technical problems persist with a lot of subscribers unsure of what is happening on why they’re not getting certain channel's they've paid for.

According to StarSat insiders the switch-over of the uplinking of channels from Germany to elsewhere didn't go smoothly yesterday when the process was started as StarSat switched its broadcasting system from 12:00 on Thursday to a new service provider. 

StarSat expected "short interruptions" in transmission, but didn’t anticipate the unexpected black-out of the channel line-up which came as a surprise to even the Woodmead based operation.

"Yesterday a technical migration exercise where channels were being moved from one uplink site in Europe to another affected programming and created various blackouts," StarSat tells TV with Thinus.

"The TLC channel link was lost during this process. ODM will take every measure to ensure that such technical errors are not repeated in future."

TLC droppedStarSat is however losing TLC permanently and which was supplied by Discovery Networks International (DNI). 

StarSat told TV with Thinus on Friday that the South African pay-TV operator was informed some time ago by DNI that it will no longer make TLC available to the company due to exclusivity agreements with MultiChoice.

MultiChoice now runs the enhanced version of the channel, TLC Entertainment – a different channel feed from TLC on DStv. TLC Entertainment with programming blocks of Oprah Winfrey and her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) was launched in October, exclusively for MultiChoice's DStv.

The dropping of TLC raised questions about the future of, and whether, Investigation Discovery (ID) which is also available on MultiChoice's DStv, as well as the Discovery Science channel which is only available so far on StarSat, will remain on the platform.

"The TLC lifestyle and entertainment channel will be discontinued on Tuesday 31 December," says StarSat. "This is a result of a decision by the channel’s owners to enter into an exclusivity arrangement with the competitor," said StarSat.

"TLC will no longer be available on StarSat from 31 December, however StarSat subscribers will continue to receive Investigation Discovery and Discovery Science, featuring the best in suspense, entertaining and informative programming to satisfy curiosity," said Lee Hobbs, the channel director for emerging business for Discovery Networks CEEMEA in answer to a media enquiry.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

CNN's website changes to Nelson Mandela on Sunday morning to mark his passing on the day of his funeral in South Africa.

This morning, on the day of the funeral of Nelson Mandela in Qunu, CNN changed the global news channel's website to Nelson Mandela as part of a tribute to the global icon.

CNN International's (DStv 401) ongoing coverage since last week Thursday when news broke of Nelson Mandela's death, has been and continued to be exemplary - the best of all the 24-hour news channels available in South Africa.

"The CNN International home page is honouring Nelson Mandela on the day of his funeral," said Peter Bale, the vice president and general manager for digital at CNN International.

"We felt that using what would normally be advertising space in this way was an appropriate and tasteful way to mark the passing of a world figure of unrivaled stature. CNN has for decades committed to covering the continent of Africa, its struggles and its achievements. It seemed right to present the news of his death and his legacy in a way that was out of the ordinary."

SABC finally turns the on-screen channel logos of the SABC channels, SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 to black following Nelson Mandela's death.

The SABC finally followed the example of the numerous other TV channels which had their channel markers and idents turned onto a black-and-white version since a week ago.

The corner channel logos of SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 also started to appear in black-and-white

Saturday, December 14, 2013

BREAKING. eNCA secures and schedules special hour long episode of BBC's Question Time asking what about SA after Madiba's gone?

eNCA (DStv 403) has secured and scheduled a simply must-watch hour long special episode of the BBC's Question Time which will go out tonight, Saturday (14 December), asking in a hard-hitting panel discussion what South Africa's future hold now that Nelson Mandela is gone.

The special Question Time episode with host and moderator David Dimbleby which was filmed in Johannesburg in front of a live studio audience, will be repeated on eNCA on Sunday morning 15 December at 10:00.

The must-watch Question Time episode eNCA secured features an exceptionally fiery discussion regarding the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the future of South Africa following the death of the global icon.

Question Time panelists include Peter Hain (British MP), Pik Botha (South Africa's former minister of foreign affairs), Lindiwe Mazibuko (DA), Lindiwe Zulu (ANC), Eusebius McKaiser (political analyst) and Andile Mngzitama (EFF).

The panelists are asked whether it was wrong of the crowd at Nelson Mandela's memorial service to boo president Jacob Zuma, and how they perceive racism in South Africa.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Marlee Matlin on the fake 'sign language' trash beamed to millions by the SABC from the Nelson Mandela memorial: 'It's offensive to me.'

ASIBONANGA. What we should have seen at Nelson Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday: Real, quality, beautiful tributes like this one.

No fake sign language interpreters. No rich elite sipping tea while the poor have to wait and stand in the rain.

No boo's.

Just a beautiful tribute to Nelson Mandela and some of what Nelson Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday at the FNB Stadium could, should have been.

The Soweto Gospel Choir did a flash mob and tribute to Nelson Mandela in Woolworths' Parkview store.

It was heartfelt, beautiful, quality, and real.

South African police blocking journalists from getting access to the houses they've been renting in Qunu for Nelson Mandela funeral.

Exactly like during South Africa's apartheid years -  ironically - the South African Police Service on Wednesday blocked journalists, TV reporters and photographers from going into or getting access to public places, or even to fetch their belongings, clothes and equipment out of the houses in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

TV reporters locally and internationally, journalists and photographers have been renting rooms and houses in the poor village to cover Nelson Mandela's death and upcoming funeral in Qunu on Sunday.

The heavy-handed South African police and the government are not giving any reasons for restricting reporters and journalists free access to places and where they've been staying, except suddenly saying the press renting houses and rooms close to Nelson Mandela's home in Qunu are "violating protocol".

Journalists, TV reporters and photographers are barred from even fetching their own clothes from houses and rooms they've been renting in the poor region this week where locals also charged press R10 for amenities such as using outside non-flush toilets, so-called "long drops".

The South African police and the government are barring journalists, reporters and photographers from doing their job while they're covering an international and national South African event of importance.

South Africa's government is unable to explain, or is unwilling to be specific about why further roads, areas and houses in Qunu are suddenly blocked and which are not presenting a direct and immediate security concern to Nelson Mandela's house.

Collins Chabane, the minister in the presidency on Wednesday said the media in Qunu who have been there the entire week since the weekend and have been reporting stories unhindered, "have violated the protocols and arrangements that are in place in Qunu".

No such protocols have been given to the press previously who are now locked out of where they were staying.

The N2 national road - the main road to and from Qunu - has been closed off since the weekend for a few kilometres before and after Nelson Mandela's home.

The side road through Qunu, which the media and others used to get closer to Nelson Mandela's house has now also been closed off.

"Government appeals to members of the media to respect former president Nelson Mandela's final resting place in Qunu, Eastern Cape," said Collins Chabane.

Collins Chabane didn't specify how the media, given the massive national and international interest, are supposed to adequately and properly cover the news unhindered if they're denied access to basic, non-security risk areas where normal Qunu residents are staying who've opened their homes to the press, after being asked to do so by the same government last week.

The side road through Qunu, which media and other people used to get to the house, was closed late on Tuesday afternoon.

Obituary image graphic at Nelson Mandela's memorial service shown in the FNB Stadium stolen from ABC News.

Besides a totally fake sign language interpreter on the dignitaries' stage at Nelson Mandela's memorial service at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday - making South Africa the laughing stock of the world again and angering hearing impaired people around the world - the Nelson Mandela obituary image shown on the screens inside the stadium was stolen from ABC News.

The graphic was actually designed by ABC News digital designer Ma'ayan Rosenzweig and used by the event organisers of the memorial service.

Although used and projected inside the FNB Stadium, the obituary graphic was seen globally since the SABC News' pool feed send to other news channels and international broadcasters, and broadcasters who had their own cameras for media box reporting, all had the image in their background shots.

The tasteless and pathetic fake sign language interpreter used by the event organisers - who did nothing but basically flap his arms and make strange signs, if anything, during the proceedings - is already drawing criticism from international TV and TV news broadcasters.

The fraud did nothing but gesturing gibberish to a global audience of millions tuning in on Tuesday.

It would have been a joke if it wasn't so disrespectful to the legacy of Nelson Mandela, with his bizarre hand-gestures which had zero accuracy, were not accurate at all, and made no sense.

The fake was employed and used before to "sign" standing next to president Jacob Zuma at ANC events.

The embarrassing and major international scandal at Nelson Mandela's memorial service is one more terribly bad story originating from the South African event, coupled with the booing of president Jacob Zuma, and the SABC's ban on broadcasting the booing and censorship from any reporting in news bulletins on the public broadcaster.

It's not clear why this complete fraud was employed, or by whom, and who has now brought international shame to the country.

'Move, move!' A glimpse of the manic mess of pre Nelson Mandela memorial service live footage the SABC deemed fit to send into the world.

Is this Safta winning news coverage?

Just a few seconds of the erratic, crazy, terribly bad, SABC pool camera pre coverage the South African public broadcaster filmed and piped live to other TV news channels and international broadcasters of the memorial service of Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday.

You just don't show this on television - live or otherwise - even if you have access to it and are filming it. Why the SABC's editors and control room operators, let alone the cameraman, didn't do better or know better, is anyone's guess.

You simply don't see this kind of messy, raw footage on other channels, networks and live major events (although it also exists and are fed to the control room) during other broadcasting events.

Who's this? Squatters? No. They're the ordinary South Africans who came to show last respects and to honour Nelson Mandela at his memorial service on Tuesday.

But in the rain they were forgotten. The people who really should have received top billing at Nelson Mandela's memorial service and who were literally left out in the cold, and who had to "hide" and find shelter underground from the rain and in the numerous access tunnels to the stadium.

Because the focus was on celebrities and international dignitaries and foreign notables, for these people there were not shelter against the rain. For them there were no umbrellas; no aides carrying cover. No swift walk-through VIP access, or servers offering tea and coffee.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

BREAKING. The banned booing of president Jacob Zuma the SABC censored at Madiba's memorial service; call for 'urgent investigation'.

On Tuesday the SABC ordered the shocking censoring of live TV coverage of an event of national importance, placed a ban on broadcasting the booing of president Jacob Zuma, as news bosses also ordered and maintained a effective news blackout on reporting that Jacob Zuma was boo-ed at Nelson Mandela's memorial service.

While print media, electronic media and other TV news channels lead with coverage of Jacob Zuma being boo-ed by the crowds at Nelson Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday, the SABC scrambled to keep the scenes off television, while the SABC's primetime news bulletins, as well as SABC News - the public broadcaster's 24-hour TV news channel - didn't give it any coverage in reportage.

The shocking censorship follows after the SABC's Morning Live anchor Leanne Manas, covering the memorial service from the FNB Stadium as one of several SABC reporters at the stadium, earlier on Tuesday proudly proclaimed that "we have cameras everywhere; all the angles, to bring you this event".

"What was striking about the SABC's coverage of the Nelson Mandela memorial service was the way in which it was censored with the omission of the booing of Jacob Zuma," says an observer.

The sudden ongoing censorship from the SABC could be the explanation for the bad sound, odd video, strange video angles and bad sound and video quality from the SABC pool cameras which other TV news channels and international broadcasters were forced to use and instantly led to complaints regarding quality such as CNN International (DSTV 401) apologising to viewers for the weird and bad video and sound as the SABC tried to omit certain things from being seen and heard.

While TV news channels like CNN International, Sky News and eNCA immediately picked up on the story of Jacob Zuma being boo-ed - as well as print publications which had stories online as well as analysis pieces from the afternoon - the SABC had no news reporting on it online until much later in the evening and only as a side-reference in another story regarding Desmond Tutu.

There was no coverage of the booing incidents on SABC News and the crowds making the rolling of hands as the soccer substitute sign for "time for a new player", and nothing in primetime bulletins on the SABC - although it was the lead story on Tuesday evening on eNews Prime Time and eNCA.

"By 14:58 is was the main story on the eNCA website with a clip of the booing. The first mention of it on the SABC News website was four hours later at 19:08 and then it is mentioned only peripherally and in condemnation in a story about Desmond Tutu's rebuke of the crowd," says an independent observer.

It is the second booing incident of Jacob Zuma's government censored and not shown by SABC News, following the incident in 2005 when the deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the time was boo-ed although an SABC camera was present and captured the event.

Insider sources at the SABC tell  TV with Thinus the booing was unexpected and "the first reaction was to somehow veer away from it and not give it attention to maintain the decorum of the memorial service".

"It wasn't deliberate until everyone realised the crowds are doing it deliberately and everytime he [Jacob Zuma] comes up [on the giant screens in the stadium]. The screens were turned off inside [the stadium] to minimise the jeering but that wasn't the SABC."

"The decree was not to show or do anything that would detract from the event. That was broadly the understanding but everyone knew it meant in effect to not show or say or do anything to embarrass the ruling party and especially not the leadership of the current ruling party, meaning him [Jacob Zuma]," said another source.

According to sources Nyana Molete, the SABC's national TV news editor ordered the control room to "cut away" from booing coverage. Later during the day, according to SABC news staff, Jimi Matthews, the SABC's head of news ordered the booing news be downplayed and not to be mentioned in the primetime news output.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says "the millions of South Africans and people all over the world including the media expected us to show the memorial service of Madiba as it is, and the SABC heeded to this call and showed the 'booing' or the said incident as we carried it as a live broadcast."

"It is the prerogative of the SABC to decide to use its discretion in line with its editorial codes and what it deems as the top story of the day. The memorial of Madiba and how his life was celebrated with various people around the world sharing their moments and experiences with Madiba remains important to the world and not the incident."

Kaizer Kganyago says "the international media organisations that had access to SABC material complimented the quality of the coverage with some describing it as exciting, colourful and excellent."

The SABC didn't specifically answer questions TV with Thinus made regarding SABC editorial policy, what parts of policy the SABC used to direct live and news coverage, and whether and who ordered the booing censorship and footage ban.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) viewed the primetime bulletins on Tuesday on SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 and confirms that no mention of the booing incident was made in any of the bulletins.

"If we consider the stature of the speaker, the president of South Africa, and the importance of his speech, there can be little doubt that the story was newsworthy," says MMA, saying the SABC's decisions to censor and ban the booing coverage "constitutes a clear violation of the SABC's editorial code".

"The code of conduct for broadcasters also requires the SABC to report news truthfully, accurately and objectively." The MMA says the SABC's cenorship "feeds allegations of political interference at our public broadcaster and undermine its credibility."

"The MMA calls on the SABC editor-in-chief, the group CEO Lulama Mokhobo, to carry out an urgent investigation and to brief the public on its terms, progress and outcomes, and we call on SABC News management to ensure it not only adheres to its editorial policies but practices the highest standards of ethical professional journalism."

Discovery Communications considering buying TV channels such as Food Network, Travel Channel.

Discovery Communications is reportedly considering buying satellite pay-TV channels such as Food Network and the Travel Channel as ongoing consolidation is taking place in the pay-TV industry, according to the trade publication Variety.

Food Network and Travel Channel are part of a group of TV channels belonging to Scripps Networks Interactive which is looking for a possible buyer.

According to Variety, the possibility of Discovery Communications putting in a bid to buy Scripps Networks was discussed at a Discovery board meeting on Tuesday.

According to Variety, Scripps Networks Interactive's set of channels which include other channels not seen in South Africa or Africa, would make "a natural fit" for Discovery which already has channels such as TLC, Animal Planet and TLC Entertainment with an OWN block of programming..

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CLEVER. On CNN International Nelson Mandela's isn't from 1918 until 2013. He's forever.

CNN International (DStv 401) debuted this In Memoriam title card at the the close of Christiane Amanpour's special hour long edition of Amanpour on Tuesday night.

First the "Nelson Mandela 1918 - " appeared.

Then, instead of the expected "2013" to close the bracket, the word "Forever" materialised.

CNN International continues to lead with the best, high-quality, informative and exemplary coverage of Nelson Mandela's life - and death - among of all the available TV news channels.

FREUDIAN SLIP. An over-tired, over-worked Jeremy Maggs on eNCA slips up by saying: 'Jacob Zuma's memorial service...'

BREAKING. Nelson Mandela's televised memorial service at FNB Stadium marred by bad pool camera video and sound issues.

Millions of South Africans watching - as well as many millions more tuning in around the world, saw Nelson Mandela's televised memorial service at the FNB Stadium marred by not just a late start but also video and sound problems from the TV feed delivered to all broadcasters by the SABC.

Nelson Mandela's memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg was supposed to start at 11:00 but with a stadium more than half empty due to logistical problems and rain, the ceremony only got underway at 12:00.

The ceremony started with none of the American presidents yet in attendance, while foreign dignitaries, other notable guests and ordinary South Africans still arrived and filed into the stadium long after 11:00.

"Clearly this is not going to be starting on time," said Anderson Cooper on CNN International (DStv 401) as TV news broadcasters like the BBC World News and eNCA switched to coverage from their respective media boxes at the Stadium. SABC News and ANN7 also had roving reporters in the stadium.

There was no indication of why American president Barack Obama and other American notable guests were no-shows when the memorial service started and why they were late.

CNN International for instance apologised to viewers for the visual and audio quality which included erratic roving shots of dignitaries arriving and strange stadium shots of visitors.

Viewers saw bad angles, got open audio and heard things like handlers shouting at the media to "move, move" when heads of state arrived, coupled with bad video and sound on television throughout the memorial service and the various speeches and songs.

Cooper told viewers that it's a pool camera feed which CNN International had to use and over which CNN had no control. The same video feed was seen on the other TV news channels.

"This is a pool camera being controlled elsewhere. We're not controlling the shots. If you're wondering why we're showing you particular shots - we're not in control of this," Cooper told viewers.

"We're haven't been showing you all of the speeches because frankly there's a lot of audio issues and video issues as well. This is a pool camera. This is not our camera. So we've been dipping in and out whenever possible," said Cooper.

Co-anchor Christiane Amanpour on CNN International remarked that it was difficult to at times actually see the foreign dignitaries and to identify them to viewers. This was due to bad camerawork and bad angles and the camera not zooming in far enough.

"If you're sitting at home and thinking 'god it hard to hear what they're saying, it is 10 times harder to hear what they're saying for the people in this stadium. It's not as if everyone in this stadium are sitting here and being able to hear what some speakers are saying. People are just hanging out and not able to hear what the speakers are saying," said Anderson Cooper.

"It would be great if the sound was worked out a bit better," said CNN International's Robyn Curnow.

BREAKING. TV news channels switch to half empty FNB Stadium and anchors in media boxes for Nelson Mandela memorial service.

BBC World News with George Alagiah

Nelson Mandela's memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg was supposed to start at 11:00 but with a stadium more than half empty due to logistical problems, it won't and there's no indication of when it actually will.

"Clearly this is not going to be starting on time," said Anderson Cooper on CNN International (DStv 401).

TV news channels, from BBC World News, CNN International, eNCA and SABC News have switched to coverage from their respective media boxes at the FNB Stadium. ANN7 also had a roving reporter at the stadium.

CNN International with Anderson Cooper, Robyn Curnow, Christiane Amanpour and David McKenzie

Sky News with Jeremy Thompson

eNCA with Nikiwe Bikitsha and Jeremy Maggs

SABC News had Leanne Manas and Vuyo Mvuko in the media box and SABC reporters Chriselda Lewis and Yolisa Njamela on the field.

ANN7 with Harja Omarjee

Monday, December 9, 2013

SABC2's 7de Laan soap stars film an on-air tribute promo to Nelson Mandela for the SABC channels.

BREAKING. CNN International's Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, Isha Sesay, Arwa Damon, all in South Africa for Nelson Mandela.

Christiane Amanpour and Anderson Cooper of CNN International (DStv 401) are now both also in South Africa to lead unprecedented coverage of the death and funeral and celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela.

CNN International now has the biggest team of reporters deployed in South Africa to cover the death of Nelson Mandela and South Africa and the world's reaction to his passing.

Christiane Amanpour who arrived today in Johannesburg was instantly recognised and greeted at immigration with a "thank you for coming to honour Mr Mandela".

Besides the CNN heavy-hitters Christiane Amanpour and Anderson Cooper, CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is now also in South Africa.

Isha Sesay is also heading to South Africa who've been reporting on Nelson Mandela from Soweto just a few months ago.

Chris Cuomo seen mostly on CNN in America but who've appeared on CNN International a few times in 2013 when CNN International takes the CNN US feed, has also arrived in South Africa and instantly started Nelson Mandela coverage.

Besides them, South Africa's David McKenzie, CNN International's correspondent in China, returned to South Africa on Saturday as I've previously reported.

They all join South Africa's Robyn Curnow who've already distinguished herself with instantly stellar reporting regarding the death of Nelson Mandela.

Errol Barnett who's based in Johannesburg and who've been already to Zimbabwe for a reaction story over this past weekend is also already back in Johannesburg and reporting live from Houghton on CNN International on Monday afternoon.

Charlene Hunter-Gault who've covered South Africa for many years, working for among others, CNN International, and now NBC News, also travelled to South Africa.

Besides CNN International's heavy presence of correspondents in South Africa, here is the already massive - and growing list - of foreign correspondents and TV reporters who've travelled to South Africa and who remain here to cover the biggest official funeral the world has yet seen:

Jeremy Thompson (Sky News), Stuart Ramsay (Sky News), Robert Nisbet (Sky News), Brian Williams (NBC News), Richard Engel (NBC News), Lester Holt (NBC News), Ron Allen (NBC News), Komla Dumor (BBC World News), Jon Sopel (BBC World News), Fergal Keane (BBC World News), Ros Atkins (BBC World News), Byron Pitts (ABC News), Alex Marquardt (ABC News), TerryMoran (ABC News), Greg Palkot (Fox News Channel), Mike Hanna (Al Jazeera), Jonah Hull (Al Jazeera), Bill Whitaker (CBS News), Mark Phillips (CBS News).

BREAKING. Tracy Going returns to South African television, anchors Live on 3 with Masechaba Mtolo as a new week-long Madiba talk show.

Tracy Going, the former Morning Live co-anchor on SABC2, returned to television and the SABC on Monday afternoon, co-anchoring the new limited-run weekday talk show Live on 3 at 15:00 on SABC3 with Masechaba Mtolo.

The hour long Live on 3 will run from Monday until Saturday on SABC3 with new episodes daily, and late night repeats.

Neither the SABC, SABC News (which is the division under which the programme falls), nor SABC3 which broadcast Live on 3 from today, issued or released any formation regarding the show, anchors or content.

Live on 3 utilises the exact same set being used by SABC News for SABC1's new limited-run talk show, Mandela: The World That Made Him.

Like Mandela: The World That Made Him, Live on 3 will look and discuss Nelson Mandela's impact and legacy and talk about various aspects and facets regarding his life.

"We knew that this day would come, and now that moment is here. It is difficult. It is painful to accept what happened. And we are a country in mourning," said Tracy Going on Monday afternoon.

Masechaba Mtolo is co-incidentally also a former Morning Live-er where she was a presenter, and also appeared on SABC3's Isidingo soap as a newspaper editor character - her first TV acting job.

BREAKING. Style to remain on MultiChoice's DStv, 'Style continues to be a key channel brand in South Africa,' says UNI.

Style (DStv 173) will remain as a TV channel on MultiChoice's DStv, despite Style having shut down in America in September and the version of the channel running in the United Kingdom also being terminated there today by Universal Networks International (UNI).

Although the Style Network is now also a gonner from today in the United Kingdom, UNI says Style will continue to be shown in South Africa.

"Style continues to be a key channel brand for Universal Networks International in South Africa, irrespective of any changes impacting Style in the United Kingdom," says UNI in answer to a media enquiry, following the news of the channel's closure in the UK.

Sally and Sally: With red-rimmed glasses, Sally Burdett on the eNCA imitates Sally Jesse Raphael with the same name and look.

On the left: Sally Burdett, news anchor on e.tv and eNCA (DStv 403). On the right: Sally Jesse Raphael, former American talk show host.

The similarities? Well, both are called Sally.

Oh, and South Africa Sally is wearing red-rimmed glasses just like American Sally.

It's not clear why South Africa Sally would specifically choose red-rimmed glasses.

As a news woman over decades and working in television, its a given that South Africa Sally must be keenly aware of American Sally who always wore (and still does!) red-rimmed glasses as her signature look.

BREAKING. Style Network shutting down in UK, following the channel's termination in USA. How long now before Style is finally gone from DStv?

NBCUniversal has now decided to terminate the Style Network (DStv 173) in the United Kingdom as well which is where South Africa's channel feed for the channel on MultiChoice's DStv platform originates from.

It raises questions as to whether it means that Style will soon be terminated in Africa and South Africa as well, giving the practical difficulty of where content would come from to sustain the channel given that the original USA feed no longer exists and no supplement content from Style UK will be produced or sourced.

Style will end as a channel in the United Kingdom today according to World Screen. Style is seen on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa on channel 173.

In September the shocking closure of Style's American feed was announced, and a day later Universal Networks International (UNI) told TV with Thinus that "Style on DStv will remain for the time being".

Besides Style UNI runs channels like E! Entertainment, Universal Channel, Telemundo and Studio Universal on DStv in South Africa and Africa.

UNI told World Screen in a statement regarding Style in the United Kingdom that "after thorough consideration, Universal Networks International has taken the decision to withdraw Style from the United Kingdom with effect from 9 December 2013".

UNI says it will focus its efforts on the other TV channels such as E! Entertainment and Universal Channel.

UNI embarked on a major rebrand of Style in April this year as seen on DStv in South Africa and Africa after the rebrand was done in June 2012 for Style in America.

UNI says in a statement today, following a media enquiry from TV with Thinus, that Style will continue to be shown in South Africa.

"Style continues to be a key channel brand for Universal Networks in South Africa, irrespective of any changes impacting Style in the United Kingdom."

National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) on death of Nelson Mandela: 'We salute our filmmakers who captured his story in his lifetime'.

South Africa's National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) says "the country and the world mourn this icon who taught the world the importance of reconciliation, unity, forgiveness and peace".

"Madiba contributed immensely to the transformation of this country, a contribution that led to our people gaining a voice to speak freely and to tell the story of South Africa," says Zama Mkosi, NFVF CEO.

"To all the filmmakers, let us continue to celebrate and honour our former president through the telling of his story, honouring his memory and in the process ensuring that the world and future generations remember his life and are inspired to themselves live out all that Madiba stood for."

"We salute our filmmakers who had the foresight to capture the Nelson Mandela story in his lifetime, now more than ever that work will be our means of positive reflection and inspiration."

"As we bid Tata farewell, we salute the film industry for continuing to capture the nation's sentiments in moving pictures," says Zama Mkosi.

South Africa's broadcasting regulator warns international broadcasters to apply for licences to cover Nelson Mandela's funeral.

International broadcasters will have to apply to broadcast and do coverage of the state funeral of Nelson Mandela, warns South Africa's broadcasting regulator.

As the country and the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela, international broadcasters descending on South Africa will have to apply for permission for full coverage of the funeral, says the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

"All broadcasters must ensure that they have the requisite radio frequency spectrum and type-approval licences when covering the upcoming state funeral of Nelson Mandela," says Icasa.

"For the coverage of international special events, broadcasters usually bring communications equipment such as satellite news gathering (SNG) to relay their broadcasts to their respective international audiences."

"The SNG's require a radio frequency spectrum licence to be allocated for this purpose and some video cameras with microphones and a wireless capability needs type-approval to ensure that there are no reported cases of interference with licensed services."

Icasa warns that it will  be doing inspections.

"In covering the funeral of Nelson Mandela, all international broadcasters will have to go through this standard licensing process for compliance purpsoses and when a radio frequency spectrum licence is issued, the licensee is obliged to show it to Icasa inspectors as they continue to do routine monitoring and compliance duties," says the broadcasting regulator.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

BREAKING. SABC to keep SABC2 a simulcast of SABC News for the week, broadcaster's soaps moving to SABC1 and SABC3 with double episodes.

The SABC has finally figured out and come up with a logistical scheduling roadmap for the week ahead for its TV channels - SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 - and its TV soaps following the death of Nelson Mandela.

TV with Thinus has the most comprehensive, accurate and comprehensive Nelson Mandela TV guide with latest changes, and listing of special Madiba programming across all channels.

For the duration of the week ahead - until at least Sunday 15 December, SABC2 will remain an exact simulcast broadcast of SABC News (DStv 404).

SABC News (and now mirror channel SABC2) will carry and show the rolling Nelson Mandela news coverage.

That includes the Nelson Mandela Official Memorial Service live from the FNB Stadium on Tuesday 10 December, the Lying in State at the Union Buildings on Pretoria from Wednesday 11 December to Friday 13 December, the ANC Memorial Service at the Waterkloof Airforce base on Saturday 14 December, and Nelson Mandela's funeral on Sunday 15 December.

(For Nelson Mandela's funeral on Sunday 15 December, SABC1 and SABC3 will switch to the SABC News feed together with SABC2.)

SABC1 and SABC3 will continue to carry special episodes featuring or thematically linked to Nelson Mandela from its archives during the course of the upcoming week.

Generations viewers will be able to see two episodes on Monday 9 December on SABC1 from 20:00 to 21:00. Friday's dropped Generations episode will show at 20:00, Monday's episode will be at 20:30, and from Tuesday Generations will continue with a new episode on weekdays at 20:00.

Muvhango on SABC2 is moving to SABC1 for the entire upcoming week at 21:00.

7de Laan on SABC2 is moving to SABC3 for the entire upcoming week at 18:30. On Monday however there will be an additional episode at 18:00 on SABC3 which is Friday's dropped 7de Laan episode on SABC2.

Isidingo on SABC3 will remain on SABC3 for the upcoming week at 19:30.
There will be no Isidingo on Wednesday 11 December due to cricket.
There will be two episodes of Isidingo on Monday 9 December at 19:30 and 20:00 - the 19:30 episode is Friday's dropped episode. The 20:00 episode is Monday's normal episode.