Monday, March 31, 2014

Discovery launching the new ID Xtra channel in Africa, Middle East and parts of Europe; is ID Xtra also coming to South Africa?

Discovery Networks International (DNI) will be launching a brand-new Discovery channel, ID Extra, tomorrow (1 April) in the Africa, Middle East and parts of Europe region with at least 105 markets which will get and add ID Xtra during the course of 2014.

TV with Thinus enquired, but it is not yet clear whether ID Xtra - a spin-off from the existing ID: Investigation Discovery channel - will be added by MultiChoice's DStv and, or, On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat in South Africa.

Both of the South African pay-TV platforms currently carry DNI's Investigation Discovery channel.

Similar to ID: Investigation Discovery, ID Xtra, will also be a channel with a female-skewed programming offering, and where it is added in Africa, the Middle East as well as Central and Eastern Europe, ID Xtra will sit along the existing ID: Investigation Discovery channel.

ID Xtra is available in standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD).

"After the successful roll-out of TLC, we are now expanding our proposition for female viewers with ID Xtra," says Kasia Kieli, the president and managing director for Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region, in a statement.

"We believe the channel provides our distribution partners with truly unique content from the Mystery and Suspense genre and strengthens our portfolio, making it the best offer in pay-TV today".

"Mystery and Suspense is one of the fastest growing genres in pay-TV and Discovery is in pole position leading the category," says Paul Welling, the senior vice president and head of channels at Discovery Networks CEEMEA.

Meanwhile the Discovery Channel (DStv 120) was by now supposed to have switched to an HD channel on MultiChoice's DStv in South Africa.

 Discovery Networks International and MultiChoice promised subscribers and the industry in November 2013 that Discovery would become Discovery HD within the first quarter of 2014 - pegging it for sometime between January and March 2014.

It has not happened and DNI and MultiChoice have not announced a new date or a new official time frame for the Discovery channel's HD upgrade.

For the time being Discovery continues to be shown in SD. Discovery HD Showcase (DStv 172) which would have been discontinued as a TV channel, therefore continues to run on the DStv platform.

Carte Blanche on M-Net returns its intro theme and music in a shortened, edited down version of the iconic theme song.

Carte Blanche on M-Net (DStv 101) has returned the weekly investigative magazine show's award-winning introductory theme and iconic music although in a severely abbreviated form.

The long running Combined Artistic Productions show earlier this year, and for the first time ever, completely cut its award-winning new introduction sequence just after it won a prize and dumped the Sunday evening M-Net show's iconic and instantly recognisable theme tune.

Viewers were not happy.

The situation was worsened by Carte Blanche anchor's telling viewers who just got voted out in Survivor South Africa: Champions and spoiling that M-Net show for viewers who haven't yet watched it.

Carte Blanche also got rid of the overview of different stories at the top of the hour where anchors such as Derek Watts and Bongani Bingwa told viewers all of the segments that an episode of the magazine show will be covering.

Now a truncated and edited down 15 second intro theme, together with the iconic orchestral score, is back on Sunday evenings at 19:00. The Survivor South Africa: Champions spoilers have also been eliminated.

Not back though on Carte Blanche is the short introduction of what segments the show will be covering, but viewers are already responding positively to "Carte Blanche's return to sanity".

"You instantly know you're watching Carte Blanche again - Carte Blanche! - and not some transient news headlines kind of show," a viewer told TV with Thinus about the return of the theme music and echoing the sentiments of several viewers.

"It feels more real with the music back. As if Carte Blanche is doing effort and is a real credible programme and real appointment television if there is a proper opening theme, instead of just suddenly throwing stories at you," said another.

BBC First likely set to replace BBC Entertainment; how long before the BBC Entertainment to BBC First rebrand happens in South Africa?

BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) is clearly on its way out and set to be replaced by BBC First as the new name for the BBC Entertainment TV channel from BBC Worldwide.

ALSO READ: The end of BBC Entertainment on DStv?
ALSO READ: BBC Brit starting as a new BBC global TV channel - will MultiChoice add it to DStv's channel line-up?

It's not clear when BBC Entertainment will be rebranded as BBC First in countries such as South Africa and the rest of Africa, but it is now clear that BBC Entertainment's days as the name for the channel is very likely numbered.

BBC Worldwide runs its set of channels such as BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform.

In October last year BBC Worldwide announced that one of the existing international channels from the BBC will be rebranded, but has as yet refused to say and specify which one it will be.

Australia is getting the new BBC First channel in August. And BBC Worldwide just announced the programmes which will be on BBC First - ranging from Call the Midwife and A Young Doctor's Notebook - exactly the British TV programming South African viewers have been watching on BBC Entertainment's programming schedule.

In a statement BBC Worldwide says "BBC First will give its audience more exceptional British shows than ever before".

In addition BBC Worldwide will start BBC Earth and the male-skewed factual entertainment TV channel BBC Brit as new BBC international TV channels.

That could possibly see BBC Knowledge transformed into BBC Earth and BBC Lifestyle's existing programming folded into BBC Entertainment/BBC First with BBC Brit which is courting a male viewership, taking over the place of the existing BBC Lifestyle.

It's also conceivable that BBC Brit and BBC Earth - the two new TV channels BBC Worldwide announced - won't be replacing any of the existing ones, but just enlarge the existing portfolio of BBC channels, although that would mean a somewhat unwieldy and large BBC Worldwide TV channel collection.

Vikings drama which just started on M-Net Series Showcase, renewed for a 3rd season of 10 episodes.

Drama Vikings has been renewed for a third season.

The first season of the MGM Television produced series started in South Africa in March on M-Net Series Showcase (DStv 113).

It follows after M-Net secured the broadcasting rights to the show which in the United States is shown on History (DStv 186) and which History didn't want to show on the History channel in South Africa.

Vikings has been renewed for a third season of 10 episodes.

Thando Thabete dumps's Club 808 after just 8 months 'to pursue other career opportunities'.

Thando Thabete has dumped's Club 808 just 8 months after she joined the weekly music programme in July 2013. didn't announce Thando Thabete's exit from Club 808 - struggling in the ratings and long past its former glory since the show was moved from Fridays to Saturdays in mid-2013. said in answer to a media enquiry that Thando Thabete "left the show to pursue other career opportunities".

Thando Thabete's last appearance was this past Saturday, 29 March.

In a statement to TV with Thinus, says "we can confirm that Thando Thabethe will be leaving Club 808. We wish her well in her future endeavours". is not appointing a replacement - Thando Thabete was already the replacement for Dineo Ranaka who upped and left and Club 808 in June 2013. Instead Club 808 will make use of local South African celebrities to co-host the show.

"Viewers can look forward to an interesting line-up of dynamic South African personalities who will be invited every week to host the show with DJ Mo Flava," says

eNCA starting a series of special election reports this coming Sunday with Siki Mgabadeli talking to ordinary South Africans.

There's been no word from eNCA (DStv 403) about it and no announcement, but the 24-hour TV news channel will start on Sunday (6 April) with a series of special election reports from Siki Mgabadeli before South Africa's next general election 7 May.

Siki Mgabadeli on-air eNCA presence follows the highly successful latest season of the town hall style debate and talk show The Big Debate which the SABC canned and eNCA and took over from SABC2, as well as appearing during the eNCA's coverage of the opening of parliament at the beginning of 2014.

In the series of special election reports and with an angle highly reminiscent of The Big Debate, Siki Mgabadeli will look at how ordinary South Africans are being affected by certain issues as she speaks to professionals from Sandton to mineworkers in the North West and farm workers in the Western Cape.

Sky News appoints Sherine Tadros as new Middle East correspondent based in Cairo, Egypt.

Sky News (DStv 402) has appointed Sherine Tadros as Middle East correspondent to be based in Cairo, Egypt, while Tom Rayner, currently the Middle East news editor will become a Middle East reporter based in Jerusalem.

Sherine Tadros who will take up the new job from May, will be based in Cairo but will cover stories from across the Middle East region. She covered the Middle East and the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

"I am delighted to make these appointments," says Dan Williams, the head of international news at Sky News. "Egypt is now at the very heart of the Middle East story and we will get enormous benefit from having a permanent presence there".

"Tom, in the 18 months that he has been based in the region, has already made a significant impact," says Dan Williams.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

BREAKING. Chelsea Handler is done with E! Entertainment, her late night talk show and satirical After Lately show, says her manager.

Comedienne and American female late night talk show host Chelsea Handler is done with E! Entertainment (DStv 124), her late night talk show Chelsea Lately and the spin-off satirical mockumentary show, After Lately.

Her manager Irving Azoff told The Hollywood Reporter that Chelsea Handler "intends to leave when her contract expires".

Chelsea Handler's current contract runs out with E! at the end of the year, which means that if she leaves, it will end her late night talk show seen in South Africa after 8 years.

Earlier this month Chelsea Handler blasted E! Entertainment saying E! Entertainment is "a sad, sad place to live" and that "they don't know what they're doing. They have no ideas. It's a failure".

E! Entertainment in a statement only says "Chelsea Handler has nine months left on her contract and E! will not comment on the future of Chelsea Lately at this time."

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Judge for Yourself with judge Dennis Davis returns to eNCA for a new 13 episode season on Sunday 30 March at 18:30.

Judge for Yourself with judge Dennis Davis is returning to eNCA (DStv 403) for a new season of 13 episodes on Sunday, 30 March at 18:30.

Judge Dennis Davis is a high court judge and remains the presenter for the 12th season of the current affairs show which discuss and critically analyses political and socio-economic issues in South Africa.

The first half of the new season of Judge for Yourself will see various political parties in South Africa defend their election manifestos and ask them how they plan to realise the constitutional rights of South Africans.

The show realeased a preliminary date and topic line-up for the first 6 episodes:

Education - Sunday, 30 March 2014
The constitutional right to decent education is paramount to transforming our country. The ANC, COPE and the DA talk up their plans for fixing our education system.

Corruption – Sunday, 6 April 2014
Government is constitutionally bound to function in a clean and accountable manner. The ANC, DA and UDM lock horns over how corruption is best tackled in their election manifestos.

Land reform - 13 April 2014
Land restitution and redistribution is an emotional issue in South Africa. The ANC, DA, EFF and FF+ assert their plans for land reform in their election manifestos.

Crime – Sunday, 20 April 2014
How will political parties tackle issues of safety and security?

Job Creation - 27 April 2014
It’s said to be the big issue of these elections, but how does each party plan to create sustainable jobs? The ANC, DA and EFF go head to head on their proposed policies to spur on economic growth.

National unity - 4 May 2014
The Constitution of South Africa is founded on the values of non-racialism and non-sexism. The ANC, DA and IFP talk about how they plan to achieve a non-racial, united South Africa.

Carte Blanche on M-Net on Sunday is looking at porn - as well as a plastic surgeon who've botched procedures.

Carte Blanche on M-Net (DStv 101) on Sunday evening at 19:00 is looking at pornography.

Pornography will be one of the topics covered in Sunday evening's hour of the weekly investigative news magazine show on M-Net, with Les Aupiais on the story.

Other stories include Port St Johns and a botched robbery in which the military intervened and then had things go wrong.

The show is also looking at a plastic surgeon and the Health Professions Council's alleged failure to act against him despite repeated complaints. Carte Blanche's Devi Sankaree Govender finds out why consumers are not better protected from rogue surgeons.

In Lydenburg service delivery in the Mpumalanga town is at an all-time low, despite provincial intervention. Audits show wasteful expenditure of R57 million, a joyride on the mayor's account and a malfunctioning fire department.

Carte Blanche's presenter Bonita Nuttall is on the story with producer Bernadette Maguire and journalists Wynand Grobler and Sasha Schwendenwein.

Friday, March 28, 2014

BREAKING. MultiChoice shutters the Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel on DStv; channel will be dead until coverage resumes on 7 April.

With no new content and fearing viewer fatigue from repeat over-exposure, the Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel (DStv 199) on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform has gone dark, telling viewers that the TV channel will only broadcast again from 7 April at 07:00.

The Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel on DStv lost anchor Subniv Babuta this past week who left South Africa (no announcement was made to the press), and also ran into two other somewhat unforeseen challenges which made it difficult to remain on air.

Firstly the sensational Oscar Pistorius murder trial was extended from its original conclusion on 20 March - however TV with Thinus was last week told in response to a media enquiry that the TV channel would continue until the conclusion of the court case, whenever that might be.

The extension of the trial - due to the time it took for witnesses to take the stand - means that the dedicated TV channel supplied to MultiChoice by Combined Artistic Productions would remain operational and in production for a longer period than originally anticipated.

This means that MultiChoice will be utilising bandwidth and infrastructure for the TV channel for longer than originally scheduled. The cost of producing and running the TV channel will also be more.

The Oscar Pistorius murder trial will now continue until at least mid-May.

Secondly, an unexpected postponement due to illness of a court assessor - together with a public holiday, and more coming in April, as well as days where no court sittings took place - didn't help the Carte Blanche supplied channel.

It forced the channel into multiple repetitive broadcasts of recorded, earlier court proceedings which has an adverse effect on viewer interest and impacts ratings.

The decision was therefore taken to shut down the Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel for just over a week, given costs, lack of new, rolling content, and the risk of viewer fatigue.

The Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel which went live on 2 March, will start again on Monday 7 April at 07:00. No viewership figures were announced but the channel pulled around 190 000 viewers per day during the first week on air.

MultiChoice says the Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel will from now on "adjust its live broadcast schedule according to the court proceedings".

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BREAKING. Tellytrack saved from the glue factory as Phumelela and MultiChoice sign a new agreement for a locally focused horse-racing channel.

Phumelela and MultiChoice have signed a new contract for the Tellytrack (DStv 239) horse-racing channel which would have ended today on DStv, but will now continue on the pay-TV platform's channel line-up - but only for individual DStv customers and hotels and with a new local horse-racing focus.

MultiChoice no longer wanted Tellytrack on its channel line-up due to non-performance, but MultiChoice, Phumelela, Gold Circle and Kenilworth Racing will now keep Tellytrack on DStv thanks to a new agreement.

Bookmakers, restaurants, pubs and clubs will no longer get Tellytrack.

The "new" Tellytrack will have a stronger local horse-racing focus in terms of content. Tellytrack will also be made available to DStv Access and DStv Family subscribers, beyond DStv Premium and DStv Compact subscribers who've received the channel until now.

The new local focus on South African horse-racing and wider availability on more DStv bouquets are part of a plan to try and increase the viewership of Tellytrack.

"All parties involved worked hard to ensure the service to the vast majority of DStv subscribers who use this channel is not disrupted," says Mark Rayner, the chief operating officer (COO) of MultiChoice South Africa.

"We are delighted that MultiChoice has agreed to make TellyTrack available to individual DStv subscribers and hotels. We want our sport to reach as many people as possible," says John Stuart, Tellytrack CEO.

BREAKING. SABC chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala must resign immediately after her public, party political canvassing, says SOS Coalition.

Civil society is calling for the immediate removal of the SABC chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala who've publicly turned party political this past long weekend when she told residents of KwaMashu at a house hand-over ceremony to vote for the ANC and that too many political parties in South Africa are confusing.

Ellen Zandile Tshabalala who became SABC chairperson last year and was/is an advisor to president Jacob Zuma on black economic empowerment, embarrassed herself and the SABC during a television interview on the SABC in February.

Ellen Zandile Tshabalala, blamed apartheid and apartheid era tests for the shocking lack of skills at the SABC revealed in an independent skills audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Ellen Zandile Tshabalala also ripped South Africa's print media, saying "people in this country vilify the SABC" because the SABC is "competition number one".

As chairperson of the board, a month has passed with no word from the SABC board on what it has done regarding the PwC skills audit report, and no suspensions or clear action which has been taken over the Public Protector's shocking report into maladministration, abuse of power, irregular appointments and firings at the SABC.

Implicated is the SABC's famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng who is still in his job, has not been suspended, and who has the backing of Ellen Zandile Tshabalala.

In a recorded interview Hlaudi Motsoeneng admitted to the Public Protector that he lied about having a matric, and made up symbols for a matric certificate he knew he could never produce. The Public Protector said Hlaudi Motsoeneng should never have been appointed at the SABC, and implicated him directly in the dismissal of all the SABC personnel who testified against him during a disciplinary hearing.

The SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition, a broad-based civil society pressure group representing the South African broadcasting industry, academics, TV production sector organisations, independent unions and institutes, is calling for Ellen Zandile Tshabalala to be removed after publicly doing political canvassing for the ruling party.

The SABC board, SABC executives and journalists are supposed to be apolitical publicly at the public broadcaster which critics and commentators fear have become a state broadcaster doing the ANC political party's bidding.

"Ellen Zandile Tshababala has crossed an important boundary of safeguarding the independence of our public broadcaster," says the SOS Coalition.

"The SABC must be left alone and allowed to confine itself to doing its job which is to educate and and inform us without bias , without fear and favour," says the SOS Coalition.

The SOS Coalition says Ellen Zandile Tshabalala needs to resign because of "her controversial support, and refusal to suspend the SABC's acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng despite very serious allegations of corruption and fraud" and her refusal to move ahead and implement the recommendations of the Public Protector's report.

"Her proposal to take over as acting CEO of the SABC flies in the face of basic principles of good corporate governance," says the SOS Coalition.

The SOS Coalition says Ellen Zandile Tshabalala needs to go and that the SABC board needs to "publicly distance itself from any form of electioneering" before May's general elections in South Africa.

"The SABC board must once and for all publicly reject the outrageous call for '70% good news'," says the SOS Coalition - another hapless and misguided edict ordered by Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Charlotte Hawkins gone from Sky News' Sunrise; replaced with Isabel Webster next to Eamonn Holmes.

Charlotte Hawkins has left Sky News (DStv 402) and its morning breakfast show Sunrise.

No announcement from Sky News. Charlotte Hawkins left Sky News to join another new British TV breakfast show which will start in the United Kingdom on 28 April.

Isabel Webster is replacing Charlotte Hawkins on Sunrise next to Eamonn Holmes.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sky News appoints Faisal Islam as the 24-hour British TV news channel's political editor.

Sky News (DStv 402) has appointed Faisal Islam as its new political editor in the place of Adam Boulton.

Faisal Islam will take up his position later this year at Sky News and was at the United Kingdom's Channel 4 News where he is the economics editor.

Sky News will be covering the Scottish Referendum in September this year and the United Kingdom's general election in 2015.

"The political editor is one of the most important and demanding roles at Sky News. We have a long history of challenging the way politics is reported in the United Kingdom and I know Faisal Islam is keen to continue this; I am confident he will rise to the challenge," says John Ryley, the head of Sky News in a statement.

BREAKING. Maria Bartiromo goes from CNBC Africa on DStv to Fox News Channel on StarSat with new show starting this Sunday.

Maria Bartiromo is going from MultiChoice's DStv and the CNBC Africa (DStv 410) channel to On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat and the Fox News Channel (FNC) (StarSat 405) with her new weekly Sunday show, Sunday Morning Futures, which will start this coming Sunday, 30 March at 16:00 (South African time).

FNC announced Sunday Morning Futures today.

It follows Maria Bartiromo who left CNBC and did her final appearance on CNBC Africa in November 2013 after signing a new deal to work for the Fox Business Network which included a weekly show on the Fox News Channel.

In early 2014 it became clear that she would start her new weekly show before the end of March.

On Sunday Morning Futures, Maria Bartiromo will "interview business leaders and newsmakers on economic topics like job creation and investment opportunities, with the goal of preparing viewers for their financial future," says Fox News Channel.

"Maria's renowned expertise covering financial markets, job forecasts and the economy has helped define her as one of the finest business journalists in the industry, and I am confident she will bring even greater value to Fox News Channel's weekend programming," says Michael Clemente, Fox News' executive vice president of news in a statement.

MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up service for Game of Thrones on the DStv Explora contains an unexpected - and delightful - dragon surprise.

If you love television, if you watch it, watch a lot, even pay to see it and  pay for better TV, then I know that you love effort, that you appreciate clever, that you love attention to detail, and have respect for people working in television who go the proverbial extra mile because it's not just a job but clearly a passion too.

There's one such a clever piece of television now on South Africa's TV sets - a clever dragon egg easter egg hidden in MultiChoice's DStv Explora and its DStv On Demand DStv Catch Up service for Game of Thrones.

And I feel I need to say a collective "thank you" to the unknown MultiChoice worker or workers responsible for that, its creativity and conceptualisation in terms of an idea, its planning and creation, and execution and inclusion.

It's shows true love, true passion, true cleverness and true effort - because without it Game of Thrones as video-on-demand (VOD) episodes on MultiChoice would have been perfectly fine. But with the little added detail it is just even more awesome.

At the start of every Game of Thrones episode - and MultiChoice has now downloaded the entire first season as well as the second season of this fantasy drama to DStv Explora decoders for viewers who want to rewatch or catch up on missing episodes - viewers don't just find the age restriction.

The basic age restriction comes up for Game of Thrones ... and then something unexpectedly delightful, and just fantastic in its superfluous and totally unnecessary, clever, coolness happens. A dragon.

Just after the age restriction is given on Game of Thrones a dragon swoops in, and down, and breathes some fire.

It lasts literally for just a few seconds. But it is a very clever touch of added special effort which is really great. A small thing, which helps to make a big difference.

BREAKING. Jesus Perezagua out as president of Fox International Channels for Europe and Africa.

Jesus Perezagua is out as president of Fox International Channels (FIC) for Europe and Africa - leaving without any reason being given.

Jesus Perezagua whose been with the company since 2003 was appointed as president for Europe and Africa at FIC in July 2011 and was tasked with building "a new growth engine for television in Africa".

FIC runs channels such as National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD and FOX on MultiChoice's DStv; and Nat Geo GOLD, FOX, FX and FuelTV on On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat; with FOX Movies which is supposed to start on StarSat as well.

Jesus Perezagua will leave FIC at the end of April and FIC has not said why he is leaving, or where he is going.

"We are disappointed that Jesus Perezagua is leaving FIC," says FIC president and CEO Hernan Lopez.

"He's done an outstanding job growing FIC Europe and Africa as a valued asset for the company and we are grateful for his leadership over the past several years. However, we respect his decision, thank him for his tremendous contributions, and wish him nothing but the very best".

"We'll start an immediate search for his replacement, and hope to have an executive in place as soon as possible," says Hernan Lopez.

South African government compares South African TV industry and digital terrestrial television to the Ukraine.

The South African government is comparing South Africa's TV industry and the long-delayed switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) to the Ukraine.

Instead of comparing upwards and to countries with more sophisticated television markets and TV industries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Western Europe and comparable TV markets like Australia, New Zealand, parts of Asia as well as South America, the South African government chooses countries with lesser developed TV markets when it wants to compare and rationalise the inclusion of a conditional access (CA) system or encryption for free-to-air public television.

At issue is a contentious standoff in South Africa's switch from analogue to digital television, already delayed for more than half a decade.

The majority of South Africa's broadcasters want public, free-to-air television in South Africa to remain unencrypted. Some manufacturers agree.

Some local decoder manufacturers, the government and however want an encryption system be built into the set-top boxes.

South Africa's 11 million TV households will have to buy a set-top box at about R800 each, and in many cases also a new special antenna as an additional expense. Built-in encryption technology - whether used or not - will make these boxes more expensive in terms of hardware as well as proprietary software licences.

Encryption will also lock the boxes for South Africa, making it impossible for South African viewers to possibly buy cheaper imported STBs which adhere to standards, or to buy TV sets from international manufacturers which have DTT receivers automatically built-in, but no encryption systems.

An encryption system which makes boxes more complex and expensive for the ordinary TV viewer, will aid the government's goal of using digital migration for job creation, to build and maintain a local set-top box industry.

An encryption system will also enable STBs to be switched off when they're taken outside of South Africa's borders like neighbouring countries, preventing TV signals from South African TV channels from being seen outside of the country.

The department of communications attacked the pay-TV platform MultiChoice, South Africa's community TV stations and the National Association of Manufacturers in Electronic Components (Namec), saying other countries are also using, or are about to use the same system where the signals for public television are encrypted and with an encryption system built into boxes.

"They include Zambia, Uganda, Botswana, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Malawi, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Malaysia, Ukraine, Belarus and Slovakia," says the department of communications".

In a statement South Africa's minister of communications, Yunus Carrim says South Africa's STBs "will have a control system for industrial policy and other reasons".

"The STB policies are consistent with the ANC's Mangaung resolutions and government's policies on encouraging competition in monopolised sectors, BBBEE, job-creation and advancing the needs of the poor and disadvantaged," says Yunus Carrim.

"The South African market will be flooded by cheap low quality STB imports and undermine the local manufacturing industry and the prospects of jobs," says Yunus Carrim.

"Poor people will not be able to buy new digital televisions for years to come".

"Most emerging black manufacturers anyway support control. Without it, they will lose out to foreign imports".

BREAKING. SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala publicly asks that people vote for the ANC and makes political statements she is not supposed to do.

Over the long weekend Ellen Tshabalala, the SABC chairperson who is supposed to be apolitical publicly as the head of the SABC board and the South African public broadcaster, asked people to vote for the ANC and took a public party political stance by promoting a specific, and the ruling, political party.

On Friday Ellen Tshabalala publicly canvassed for votes for the ANC in KwaMashu, telling residents that "there are too many political parties", saying that multiple political parties registered for the May elections are "confusing" and telling residents that "the government knows where it is going".

Ellen Tshabalala as SABC chairperson told KwaMashu residents at the event to hand over houses, to vote for the ANC and not any of the opposition parties.

In 2012 SABC board member Cedric Gina appeared on SABC News television wearing an ANC shirt at a SABC press conference, showing how far the lines have blurred at the SABC between its role of being a public broadcaster, and having turned into a state broadcaster where SABC board members, and in turn executives, are appointed by the ruling political party.

SABC board members, SABC journalists and personnel - although they have personal views and hold party political preferences - are not supposed to speak out publicly or canvass for votes for any specific political party.

A month after the results of a scathing PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report into the shocking lack of skills and qualifications at the SABC, as well as a damning report from the Public Protector on abuse of power and maladministration at the SABC - which also implicated the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting chief operating officer (COO) - Ellen Tshabalala's SABC board has not placed him on suspension and has not made public any actions or direct interventions which have been taken following the reports.

On Monday morning the SABC didn't respond to a media enquiry asking if it is still SABC policy that members of the SABC board, SABC personnel and SABC executives be apolitical publicly about political party affiliations and not do public canvassing. The SABC was also asked if there is any comment or response on Ellen Tshabalala's public speaking in KwaMashu. So far there's been no response.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

SABC fires Gugu Duda as acting chief financial officer - replaced with James Aguma; Tian Olivier is the new acting CEO as stop-gap measure.

The spate of dismissals and firings of top executives seen the past half a decade at the SABC continues as a running theme at the South African public broadcaster which summarily fired its acting chief financial officer Gugu Duda and replaced her with James Aguma.

After Lulama Mokhobo dumped the SABC as CEO in February after finishing just two years of her five year contract and after the SABC couldn't say who the new acting CEO is since March, Tian Olivier (pictured) is now the acting CEO as a stop-gap measure at the broadcaster.

Since 2008 the SABC's senior management has been in a constant state of unstable flux, with senior executives constantly being hired and fired at top level, including resignations, dismissals, draw-out labour court disputes and multi-million rand payouts by the SABC due to unfair dismissals, golden handshakes and to simply get rid of former executives after relationships turned acrimonious.

A new year at the SABC means new executives and new executives in acting positions.

The SABC has not yet advertised the position of chief financial officer for a permanent replacement (with the famously matricless Hlaudli Motsoeneng in the position) - a position which has not been filled by the SABC since 2006 and for the past seven years.

However James Aguma now assumes the position of acting CFO. He is an Ugandan chartered accountant.

Gugu Duda, a chartered accountant, has been dismissed and sent packing on Wednesday. She was suspended in September 2012 at the SABC in relation to procurement and financial irregularities.

Tian Olivier has himself been the acting chief financial officer at the SABC before. James Aguma joined the SABC in 2013 as the general manager for strategy and governance in Hlaudi Motsoeneng's office.

Tian Olivier has also been the head of audience services at the SABC. "It is imperative that at this stage we provide support to the two acting executives who have just been appointed," says Ellen Tshabala, the SABC board chairperson in a statement. 

Carte Blanche on M-Net interviews South Africa;s Hollywood actor Sharlto Copley on Sunday night at 19:00.

Carte Blanche on M-Net (DStv 101)  on Sunday night at 19:00 will have an interview with the South African actor Sharlto Copley who've made a name for himself in Hollywood the last few years.

The very recently secured interview for the weekly news magazine show with Sharlto Copley comes on the same night that M-Net will show the movie Elysium at 20:00 in which Sharlto Copley appears and which was directed by his friend Neill Blomkamp.

"The Carte Blanche interview with Sharlo is quite a coup," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

"For the first time on South African television, Sharlo shares personal pictures, anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories from his awe-inspiring career".

"Furthermore, it's fascinating to hear how Sharlto and his long-time friend, director Neill Blomkamp, have integrated our culture and 'South-African-ness' into their movies and how they grafted for many years before their big break into the international scene. It's indeed a must-see interview".

Carte Blanche caught ip with Sharlo shortly after wrapping in South Africa for the latest Neill Blomkamp feature, Chappie.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

BREAKING. MTV Base's MTV Africa Music Awards 2014 to take place in South Africa for the first time in Durban on 7 June.

Viacom International Media Networks International Africa (VIMN Africa) just announced that the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) will take place in South Africa for the first time with the MTV Africa Music Awards 2014 set for 7 June in Durban.

The Durban International Convention Centre will host the MAMA's this year and will be shown on MTV Base (DStv 322), MTV (DStv 130) and other partner channels in June. VIMN Africa and MTV started the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2008.

The MTV Africa Music Awards celebrate musicians and achievers impacting Africa's youth culture.

"We are thrilled that the MTV Africa Music Awards 2014 will be taking place in South Africa for the first time," says Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director for VIMN Africa.

The MTV Africa Music Awards 2014 are open to all artists whose music videos have been accepted for airplay on MTV Base or MTV during the qualifying period of 20 March 2013 to 19 March 2014.

OPINION. Dear communications minister Yunus Carrim, stop behaving like the evil emperor of the galaxy with digital television in South Africa.

South Africa's egotistical minister of communications Yunus Carrim appears to not want public debate on the country's long-stalled switch-over to digital terrestrial television (DTT), and has the audacity to blatantly hint, overtly warn, and admonish groups and organisations that they've  "served to substantially weaken the case of those opposed to the government's policy" by simply speaking out about it.

Don't forget that these groups and places have existed for far longer than Yunus Carrim has in his position. Instead of congratulating people for the courage of their convictions to speak out, Yunus Carrim appears to want to blast them into submission - and to show others that they better keep quiet.

Trash, mister minister Yunus Carrim. Trash.

And if the TV industry - which has much more expertise, knowledge and years of experience than you because they actually work with these things and have for years, speaks out in ads and an open letter - and that ad and public appeal weakens their case in your eyes, then really there is something very big wrong with the department of communications and whoever makes decisions regarding DTT.

(Perhaps the TV industry should then take out national full page ads declaring "Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the SABC should stay" minister Yunus Carrim, because then that will also "weaken their case", meaning you will finally remove him. Just saying, because that's actually a real problem.)

Stop behaving like the emperor of the galaxy minister Yunus Carrim.

Unlike that galaxy far, far away, the last time I checked South Africa is/was still a democracy, sir. With freedom of speech and all that, at least on paper.

By telling a portion of South Africa's very concerned TV industry - our struggling community TV stations, a pay-TV operator, even an organisation making components used in the industry - that they've weakened their case by simply giving air to their grievances and telling ordinary South Africans where they stand and what they really feel is wrong, you want to SCARE others from speaking up and speaking out.

That is wrong and it is called being a bully.

I've read the open letter. As the minister of South Africa in charge of a department which has taken more than a decade now to bring our country DTT and still hasn't commercially switched it on, a department lorded over by a former "general" which derailed the process by wanting to change the digital broadcasting standard, and a department which disbanded the Digital Dzonga advisory council (on 1 April April Fools Day no less) not once but twice, you call the stance and the open letter's content's "astonishingly inaccurate".

Well, as a journalist who've covered television and the South African TV industry for longer than the terms of the previous FIVE ministers of communications COMBINED, I would call the open letter insightful, important, and filled with real facts made understandable to ordinary consumers, filled with warnings, and something drawing attention to real serious issues.

If I were you minister Yunus Carrim, I would not chastise but thank those in the South African TV industry speaking out and speaking directly to South Africa's confused and uninformed consumers and TV viewers.

Certainly someone has to, since nobody appears to be speaking to them (I thought the government and the department of communications and a national DTT call centre was supposed to).

Instead silence continues.

The flow of information to ordinary people from the government and the department of communications on what DTT is, what it entails, and what the real practical costs are, have certainly not been forthcoming.

How much is a set-top box minister Yunus Carrim? Who will decide if I'm poor enough for a subsidy and how, and who decided the income level cut-off and why?

Will the SABC be forced to supply the SABC News channel to DStv, StarSat and OpenView HD - what exactly is the rules for must-carry under digital television? Oh wait. There aren't any.

Can South Africans buy set-top boxes that adhere to the exact SABS and South African regulatory specifications if it is cheaper but not made in South Africa? When exactly will digital migration start commercially?

I can't call the answers to these and multiple more similar questions I have about DTT in South Africa "astonishingly inaccurate" ... because there aren't any.

Please stop demonising South Africa's TV industry minister Yunus Carrim. Their interest is the South African TV industry and TV viewers.

Yours should be too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

BREAKING. Discovery moves Klondike; pushes back the starting date of The Discovery Channel's dramatic new miniseries from April to June.

Discovery has decided to move its high-quality and very first miniseries Klondike for South African and African viewers to June.

Discovery Networks International (DNI) gave no reason or explanation for the change but there are possible external factors which could possibly have influenced the postponement within the South African context.

TV viewership is higher during mid-winter when more people stay indoors and home which would lift Klondike viewership.

Discovery might also desire a less cluttered marketed currently dominated by buzz and viewers transfixed on Oscar Pistorius TV and TV news coverage. The postponement will also give Discovery more time to find advertisers and sell more commercials, line-up a (more) sponsor(s) and build buzz for a well-produced, and very well received show.

Klondike, a dramatised historical version of the 1890's Klondike Gold Rush, revolves around two adventurers, Bill Haskell and Byron Epstein, who try to survive and find success amidst harsh weather and environments, together with a writer and a female mill owner.

Klondike unspooled in America in January on The Discovery Channel in the United States and was originally scheduled to start in April on the same channel on MultiChoice's DStv platform in South Africa.

Discovery's first scripted drama has now been moved two months later in South Africa and Klondike's new starting date on The Discovery Channel (DStv 121) is now Monday, 30 June at 21:00 until 4 August.

 Klondike will then repeat on Tuesdays at 11:20, Saturdays at 11:20 and Sundays at 17:15.

Turner shuts out TV critics in South Africa as international TBS executives jet in - and then wonders why its not getting the press it wants.

Today Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) had a programming upfront for Turner Africa, but, as it did a programming upfront presentation for new content coming to the Cartoon Network, Boomerang and TCM channels (with  international Turner executives who specially jetted in to South Africa), a lot of the country's notable TV critics in Durban and Cape Town and journalists writing about television nationally, were shut out.

While competitors like Disney and others hold multiple upfront presentations by repeating the same presentation in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town - or make sure that the relevant right group of longtime press and national publications covering TV are accomodated at their upfronts - the people responsible for Boomerang, Cartoon Network and TCM on MultiChoice's DStv platform couldn't seem to bother.

If they possibly, probably, wonder why they're not getting the press they want, or more of the press, coverage and exposure for their programming on these channels they (presumably) want, that's the very simple reason.

Let me be clear and say that I was invited to today's upfront event. Let me also add that the PR person appeared clueless that I was based in Cape Town although I - like several others who were not invited - write nationally on a daily basis about the TV industry.

I asked several people over the past weeks and I know that other longtime Cape Town based TV critics, writers and publications with their offices in Cape Town, were not invited and didn't know about the upfront presentation.

My guess would be that none of these people are going to be writing about Cartoon Network, Boomerang and TCM as much during the course of 2014 as they could have or would like to do. That is Turner's fault for not being willing, cognisant or able to do an upfront and do it correctly for all of South Africa's TV covering press (and how really difficult can this be?).

Turner Broadcasting flew in from overseas executives like Tal Hewitt (vice president and general manager for TBS, Turkey, Middle East and Africa), Jemma Yates (director for TBS general entertainment) and Cecilia Persson (vice president acquisitions and co-productions for the EMEA region).

It defies belief and strikes an odd tone that Turner Broadcasting would have its own executives come so very, very far and spend so much money to try and promote its new upcoming programming, but that TBS and its South African public relations company Burson-Marsteller can't then make the final link successfully and actually get all the relevant right press covering its TV channels there.

Or at least do the same programming upfront in Durban and, or in Cape Town like other TV content providers do.

While several other international content and channel distributors who have TV channels in South Africa - from Discovery to BBC Worldwide, from Sony to Universal Networks International and several more - have made the connection and make some effort at actually engaging with relevant press, TV critics and getting them to upfront events, Turner appears asleep at the wheel and behind the times.

Lament the gone-with-the-wind lack of TCM coverage and stories, and the lack of enthusiastic coverage over the next big Scooby-Doo mysteries all you want. 

Its probably because the ordinary South African TV critic and journalist who has so many other TV channels and programming to try and cover and keep track of, can't even be bothered to try and care if the people behind TCM, Boomerang and Cartoon Network seemingly don't.

BBC films 90 minute TV documentary special with David Beckham in the Amazon rain forest.

The BBC has been filming a documentary following the soccer player David Beckham and three of his friends exploring the Brazilian rain forest for a 90 minute TV special the past two weeks.

The as-yet-untitled David Beckham TV special doesn't have a confirmed broadcaster yet in South Africa or the African continent, or on the BBC Worldwide distributed BBC TV channels since it is such a new commission.

The past two weeks David Beckham spent time in the Amazon with his friends David Gardner and Derek White, as well as the film maker Anthony Mandler.

"This is an unforgettable documentary set in the hear of the dense Amazon rain forest following David Beckham," says Helen Jackson, the managing director for content at BBC Worldwide.

"Through his eyes, audiences will experience life in the jungle, something so distant from David's life on and off the pitch and in the glare of the world's media".

BBC Worldwide will launch the David Beckham rain forest documentary in April at MipTV 2014's international market.

BREAKING. The SABC without a CEO is unable and unwilling to say who is acting as CEO at the South African public broadcaster.

More than half a month after Lulama Mokhobo has been gone at the end of February, after dumping the SABC as SABC CEO, the South African public broadcaster is unable and unwilling to say who the acting CEO is of the rudderless corporation.

The SABC without a CEO is also a flagrant transgression of South Africa's Broadcasting Act.

The SABC is refusing to answer basic media enquiries asking who is acting as CEO at the struggling public broadcaster which lost yet another CEO - its fifth - in as many years.

Meanwhile controversy is swirling around the SABC's second highest executive, the famously matricless acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng who in a recorded interview with the Public Protector admitted he lied about having matric and made up fake matric symbols.

A month has lapsed since the release of the report and the SABC and the SABC board has not removed nor suspended Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The SABC has not responded to a media enquiry asking what actions the SABC or the SABC board has taken the past month over a scathing independent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report revealing a lack of skills at the SABC, as well as the Public Protector's report revealing abuse of power, maladministration, fraud and corruption at the SABC.

Asked who is leading the SABC as acting CEO, the SABC told TV with Thinus that "an official communique will be released, until then there will be no further comment".

The SABC isn't saying when it will release this "communique" and isn't able or willing to answer a basic question regarding corporate governance at the public broadcaster which keeps being rocked by management scandals.

"Currently the SABC is without a CEO, which is unacceptable, irresponsible and a transgression of the Broadcasting Act," says the two trade unions Bemawu and the CWU.

It also appears that the SABC wants to place an SABC board member in charge of the broadcaster by having a board member act as acting CEO.

Bemawu and the CWU warn that if the SABC does this, it will be "in conflict with the corporate governance principles, since SABC board members are not employees of the SABC, and as such do not qualify to fill positions of executives in whatever capacity".

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Writers' Guild of South Africa (WGSA) hands out Muse Awards in another monumental step forward in recognising TV and film writers in South Africa.

Shirley Johnston accepts her Muse Award Trophy for Felix as best feature script at the inaugural WGSA Muse Awards.

Recognising, valuing and rewarding writers in television and film in South Africa took yet another monumental step forward when the Writers' Guild of South Africa (WGSA) held the country's inaugural WGSA Muse Awards on Saturday evening at the Barnyard Theatre in Cresta Johannesburg.

Award winners who received a Muse Award Trophy include Fidel Namisi for Tooth and Nails (Best TV comedy script), Joshua Rous for the pilot episode of SABC3's High Rollers (Best TV drama script), Gisele Turner for eLimboland (Best stage play script), Shirley Johnston for Felix (Best feature script) and Kelsey Egan for The Chemist, a feature film (Best spec script, unproduced work).

Fidel Namisi who won for Tooth and Nails as Best TV comedy script.

Thandi Brewer received the WGSA Special Service Award.

"Finally there is an award which acknowledges the creators of local entertainment; the incredibly talented writers who take an idea and give it life, a face and unique character, which is then brought to the screen by the actors, directors and producer," says Harriet Meier, WGSA chairperson.

The WGSA believes that the Muse Awards will grow to become a regular and much-anticipated event on the local calendar.

Harriet Meier, WGSA chairperson addresses the Muse Awards audience.

WGSA member Richard H. Nosworthy of Plum Productions headed a team of musicians, vocalists and performers from the South African Guild of Actors (SAGA) to produce the WGSA Muse Awards with Jack Devnarain (Rajesh in Isidingo) who was the master of ceremonies.

Zama Mkosi, the chairperson of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) delivered the keynote speech at the WGSA Muse Awards which ran for 100 minutes, as scheduled, with a wide cross-section of representatives from South Africa's broadcasting industry present.

Joshua Rous who won for High Rollers as Best TV drama script. 

Muse Award Trophies were presented to winners by Verona Duwarkah (the head of SABC Television), Ayanda Halimana (commissioning editor at Mzansi Magic and Mzansi Wethu TV channels), David Makubyane (the acting general manager of local conten tfor On Digital Media and StarSat), Paul Raleigh (producer of the Oscar-winning film Tsotsi, and Nkateko Mabaso (general manager of M-Net's local interest channels).

The WGSA Muse Awards was followed by dinner and a good networking session and many attendees stayed for the Barnyard show, Battle of the Sexes.

The WGSA says writers who are not yet members are invited to join the guild and become eligible to submit their work for the next WGSA Muse Awards and can email

OPINION. M-Net's shocking glamourisation of gun violence in Isibaya publicity - why South African entertainment media needs to think more about what its actually doing.

I loathe to show this photo which is an Isibaya publicity image from M-Net, and issued by M-Net, for the telenovela-turned-soap on MultiChoice's Mzansi Magic TV channel on DStv.

I sincerely didn't want to show this publicity image coming from one of M-Net's entertainment TV productions, but after much thought (and not knowing how to give an opinion on it without showing it), I'm publishing it here, although I wish I didn't have to.

I hate that somebody can willingly construct and plan, and take such an image and not see anything wrong with it.

And I can't believe a TV channel (especially Mzansi Magic falling in the premium M-Net pay-TV stable) would take such a photo and then have the ignorant audacity to issue it to the press, wanting it to be used in conjunction with a fictional entertainment TV programme.

I'm only showing this repulsive image which Mzansi Magic wanted used, here after I thought long and hard about it (ironically for M-Net, Mzansi Magic and Isibaya, it is being used) to illustrate a point.

I believe - and its my personal opinion - that with this image M-Net, Mzansi Magic and Isibaya consciously or unconsciously glamourise gun violence in South Africa, something which doesn't sit well with me.

The sad thing is that M-Net doesn't seem to know better. Sad as well is that, in turn, inexperienced or uneducated entertainment journalists, writers and editors of consumer and tabloid magazines and newspapers who are clueless or don't know better, will actually use this image in publications.

They will do so not thinking twice and not fully understanding, grasping or having a bigger comprehension of why an image like this is problematic and wrong.

After all, if M-Net which is a big broadcaster has a publicity department which issues an image like this, it surely can't be wrong to use it. Right?

I've noted and explained it before what the problem is with publicity photos for entertainment value in which people appear using, holding or pointing guns.

For people and journalists working in media and broadcasters who don't understand, or missed the entertainment journalism class, but who are willing to listen and perhaps broaden their understanding of the issue, I will explain it again.

Newspapers, online, TV and magazines are full of violent images. A lot of it is of news events, meaning actual violent scenes of conflict. It reflects real events which really happened. Its sad and sometimes disturbing, but a true reflection of society.

That doesn't glamourise violence or gun violence. You also won't really see images or depictions of that in entertainment media.

Even fictional accounts - like dramas on television deal with conflict and is based on real-life events and reflect or is inspired by issues within society. I don't have a problem with that either. And yes, those stories need to be told.

What isn't right however is to set-up, take, and distribute a photo of characters in a story or TV show showing then holding guns, showing a man pointing a gun at somebody's head with the finger on the trigger, and even have that person's head in a bag indicating a (possible imminent) execution style killing.

It is wrong because the photo or publicity photo isn't the show. It goes beyond the show for the sake of promoting and selling that TV show. Which means a show is selling violence (when it could be selling itself by showing multiple other aspects of its story or characters).

Remember the context as well, please. Which is that South Africa is a country which M-Net, Mzansi Magic and Isibaya know or should know has a gun violence problem.

If a viewer tunes in and sees such a fictionalised event in a programme its not good but fine. But to lure a potential viewer to possibly watch such a programme with publicity material glamourising gun violence is not fine in my opinion.

Imagine a fictionalised TV show in which a teenager constantly contemplates and has attempted multiple suicide attempts.

Would it be right, and would you stand for a publicity photo being made and issued about a teenager standing on a bed with a rope around her neck tied to the roof or cutting herself (staged for publicity purposes to promote the show, of course)?

It's just a photo after all. And one that's not really real.

Imagine a fictionalised TV show in which a bad character also abuses animals.

Would it be right, and would you stand for a publicity photo being made and issued about animals seemingly being "tortured" and displayed in situations where you see they are suffering (although no animals were really harmed during the actual photo shoot)?

It's just a photo after all. And one that's not really real.

Imagine a fictionalised TV show in which a bad character is abusing his wife or women.

Would it be right, and would you stand for a publicity photo being made and issued about a woman in blood, on the floor, clearly trying to get away, and a man standing over her, menacingly, with a chain or whip in his hand above his head, clearly ready to strike or hit her?

It's just a photo after all. And one that's not really real.

How desensitised do you have to be then, to think that a publicity photo of a TV show in which people stand with guns and point a gun at somebody else's head in South Africa is okay?

Those working in media need to realise what they're doing and what they're really seeing, and the responsibility that goes along with entertainment media content creation, the marketing and publicity of that content, and the responsibility of how to appropriately cover it.

Look at the photo at the top again. Study it.

The people having and holding the guns are finely dressed in suits. What does it unconsciously signal? It signals that they're rich and wealthy (unlike the person on his knees who is dressed differently). They're also the ones with guns (even thought you can surmise that they're the "bad" characters and perhaps not to be emulated).

It is my believe that images like this glamourises gun violence in South Africa.

Some ordinary people will see this image and unconsciously think things like the following:
"Rich people have guns".
"If you're wealthy you also need a gun as an accessory".
"If you're big and the boss, you have (to have) a gun".
"In South Africa its okay, although its not okay, to hold a gun to the back of someone's head because I've seen an image like that before in an entertainment magazine".

An image like this, possibly republished multiple times after Mzansi Magic and Isibaya sends it out, creates a normative perception of what and who you think everyone else is, and what they're doing. That negatively impacts society and South African society.

American fictionalised TV shows and dramas which deal with extremely harsh topics, subjects and social constructs from real-life - from 24 to Homeland and Breaking Bad - have people with guns who shoot, torture and kill people. It contains a lot of violence and violent scenes (and yes, viewers are appropriately advised of the content).

But even in gun-obsessed American culture you won't see that gun violence promoted so crassly and seemingly thoughtlessly in publicity material for what essentially remains an entertainment programme - even if that entertainment programme is about depicting real-life situations.

In South Africa we - individuals, media workers and media companies - can sponsor and support and give away money to causes and help raise awareness to and for a litany of causes from being against violence against women and children and even responsible gun use.

The real contribution people in media in South Africa - especially in the entertainment sphere - can however make, is to be more consciously aware, and careful, of the images and messages they are a part of putting out for public consumption.