Issue no 58 10 July 2009

top story

  • Mozambique’s TV broadcast industry is comparatively small for the size of the country. It is limited by how many of the country’s population it can reach and therefore the level of advertising revenues that can be achieved. Nevertheless it s making serious inroads into the audiences of the state-run TVM. Russell Southwood looks at the current state of play.

    Besides TVM, there are three other private TV stations in Mozambique: the first to launch, STV; Miramar, a church channel from Brazil; and the latest newcomer TIM. The three big players are the first two of these and the Government-run TVM. There is some talk of another private broadcaster, KTV, entering the market.

    In addition, there are international channels like RTP from Portugal, South African Pay TV operator DStv (with 15,000 subscribers) and in Maputo only, cable TV from TV Cabo (with 10,000 subscribers). The latter is owned by the Portuguese Visabeira Group. It’s not clear whether the Government will make more frequencies available for new stations but state-run TVM has plans for a second channel.

    A number of international companies including eTV and Portugal’s SIC have looked at investing in the market, although international ownership is restricted to 30%.

    Although there are no studies showing where audiences are, the reality is that most TV viewers are to be found in the main towns and cities, with the largest proportion in the country’s capital Maputo. However, only 36% of the population is urban with 44.1% under the age of 15. In all there are 18 local languages spoken beyond the official language of Portuguese. Therefore broadcast TV probably reaches 5 million out of the country’s 20 million.

    Recent independent audience share research showed STV taking 50%, followed by TVM with 40% and the rest sharing 10%. Nevertheless TIM claims that it is no 1 in some of the provincial capitals it has opened up in.

    TVM used to be top dog but it has been fighting back, particularly in some time slots. Its rivals acknowledge that it has more extensive local coverage but point to its inherent subsidies like its access to free or low-cost satellite and fibre optic capacity.

    The biggest challenge is getting advertising because although the country’s economy has grown rapidly since the end of the civil war, there are not a lot of advertisers. The main advertisers are the country’s two mobile operators, mCel (owned by the Government) and Vodacom (owned by the South African company of the same name).

    Both advertise extensively on all stations. The current discussions about allowing a third mobile operator must therefore be music to the broadcast industry’s ears. According to Daniel David of STV the big problem is the fundamentally state-orientation of the economy:”All the major companies are state-controlled and they are not market-oriented.”

    STV charges US$200 for 30 secs and has 6 minutes it can sell per hour but does not always achieve that. For social and cultural advertising, it gives a 50% discount.

    Alongside these revenues, production for something like a local studio-based programme can cost between US$4000-5000 per hour. STV’s David says the country has independent production companies but they are “very weak.” The group which owns STV has its own production company that works for outside clients, as well as STV. Both STV and TIM shoot digitally and edit using Final Cut but TVM is still using Betacam SP. However, it has plans to digitalise its production.

    TIM’s Joao Ribeiro is more optimistic:”Quality of production is undergoing a revolution. You’re seeing more ideas but people are more committed to quality. There are a lot of adaptions of ideas from Europe like Big Brother and Idols. In terms of news, there is much more free speech and the quality of journalists is improving. The quality of graphics is improving. This has been a huge change from 4 years ago.”

    Rights for international programmes usually cost between US$500-600 per hour with sports rights coming in at considerably more than these figures.

    Both STV and TIM operate their own transmitters and as a result of the low advertising rates havee only expanded nationally one step at a time. Both TIM and STV operate radio stations and the latter also has newspapers.

    The Government (through the regulator) has started to draw up a policy paper as a prelude to starting the digital transition. But as TIM’s Joao Ribeiro observes:”Nothing is happening.” STV’s Daniel David says much the same thing but is planning to get a conference under way this November to drive a wider discussion of the issue, including what technical standards might be used.

    SADC Ministers have approved a switchover by 2013. And although Government progress has been slow, it has indicated that it wants to see a separate signal carrier company set up. Obviously this will allow the private companies to match the wider national coverage that TVM currently offers.


  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched a series of radio programmes in the Central African Republic (CAR) as part of an outreach campaign aimed at informing the country's population about the court's mandate and activities.

    The 13-episode series, which will be broadcast in the Sango language, is called "Understanding the International Criminal Court" and uses a question-and-answer format. At least 14 separate radio stations are expected to air the programmes.

    The radio programmes are the result of some 50 outreach sessions held by the ICC in the Central African capital, Bangui, between January and June this year.

    Individual episodes will be aired once a week, and the topics include the structure of the court, the rights of suspects, judgement and sentencing and the rights and responsibilities of witnesses and victims.

    The situation in the CAR is one of four - along with Sudan's Darfur region, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda - currently under investigation by the Prosecutor of the ICC, an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

  • The state-of-the-art Cape Town Film Studios (CTFS) currently under construction are due to be opened in March 2010. According to Nicco Dekker chief executive officer of CTFS, the South African film industry is burgeoning with many big-budget productions using the favourable exchange rate, specialist creative and technical talents, stunning locations and temperate weather to full advantage.

    According Dekker chief executive officer of CTFS, South Africa’s film industry is burgeoning, with many big-budget productions using the favourable exchange rate, specialist creative and technical talents, stunning locations and temperate weather to full advantage.

    He said recent productions include Clint Eastwood’s The Human Factor, starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman and The Bang Bang Club starring Ryan Phillippe.

    South Africa and its creative talents are highly regarded internationally and is the talk of the town in Cannes, especially director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi,) currently riding high with the Number One film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

    “The complex will consist of over 75,000 square feet of high-specification soundproof stages, each with a roof height of more than 65 feet, lighting gantries at almost 40 and 50 feet,” explains Dekker.

    “The complex will consist of over 75,000 square feet of high-specification soundproof stages, each with a roof height of more than 65 feet, lighting gantries at almost 40 and 50 feet,” explains Dekker.

    “With five-foot-wide walkways, a hanging capacity of 150kg/m˛ and a point load of 1.8 tonnes, we are confident that we will be able to meet the technical needs of any production. CTFS will also have the ability to transmit dailies electronically anywhere in the world.”

  • Popular soap Studio 263 was pulled off air while Legacies remains the only local soap to be aired on television, ZTV's new viewing season unveiled recently has revealed.

    The corporation's public relations manager, Sivukile Simango said the decision to scrap Studio 263 was made after the director of the soap Godwin Mawuru said they needed more time to develop and repackage the soap. He, however, promised that Studio 263 might be back on the screens in the September schedule.

    Meanwhile another official from ZTV, Walter Mufanochiya said the new viewing schedule had been designed to bring back the lustre of the station's heydays before viewers switched to international channels.

    Speaking at the season launch held at Pockets Hills recently, Mufanochiya said over the years, the corporation had witnessed a great decline in the number of viewers who now preferred international channels, compared to the local station. "We had for quite a long time suffered viewer flight due to DStv, Etv and Sabc who have become our major competitors."

    He added that this new schedule is set to reclaim its title of being the family's favourite since most of the films constituting the schedule were still new and had not been screened on other stations that have become people's daily channels.

    Over 600 titles have been packaged and these encompass all genres from comedies, drama, sitcoms and cartoons. Since the corporation focuses on entertaining, informing and educating they also have 102 programmes that cover environment, tourism and science and technology information. Fifty-six family programmes and 52 karate movies are part of the new titles to be screened on ZBC.

    Mufanochiya added that they would flight 100 fillers in-between programmes for the smooth continuity of programmes, including cartoons that will run from 5-10 minutes. The new schedule began on July 1 but would not immediately start off with all the 600 programmes, as some of them were still being packaged. "The rest of the titles will be added to the schedule in September." In taking care of the legal framework we have local content which take the larger share of the schedule."

    The Herald

  • The mythical white man in the African jungle, swinging from tree to tree, who as character became a star of film and TV has got his own exhibition in Paris. Musée du quai Branly’s, " TARZAN! ou Rousseau chez les Waziri “ (“Tarzan or Rousseau and the Waziri") exhibition is on until September 27, 2009.

    Film makers, broadcasters and more recently green leaders have sought inspiration in this completely mythical character, who became a major influence on millions of people's childhood. Like many successful screen characters, Tarzan came out of a book that was first published in 1912. It was not long before he went multi-media as a cartoon, hero of two popular radio programs, theatre, musicals, TV series, cinema, advertising, accessories, toys and even video games.

    The Internet Movie Database lists 89 movies with Tarzan in the title between 1918 and 2008. The word Tarzan in Google gets to more than 12 Millions results. The fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungle by apes was the creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs, an American with a fertile imagination born in Chicago in 1875. Tarzan's jungle upbringing gave him abilities above those of ordinary humans: he is strong, fast and agile, he can recover from fights quickly and he is able to talk to animals. Tarzan later meets with civilization only to reject it, contemptuous of its hypocrisy. He then returns to the wild as a hero, protecting nature and his animals friends.

    Through this exhibition, the Musée du quai Branly (quay Branly museum) seeks to explore the myth incarnated by this popular icon, through a series of objects resulting from the collections of several French museums, but also through the original boards drawn for the cartoons, and film clips.

    Tarzan is a pretexts to explore imagination and to meet with the african adventure. Indeed, according to his creator, “Tarzan possessed an animal’s stoicism and a man’s intellect,” above all through his link to the African jungle. There was a stereotypical, reconstructed jungle which, while being inhabited by wild animals, was also alternately invaded by Roman armies, anthropoids, Amazons, Ant-men, crusaders, prehistoric men.

    Tarzan has come back to life in all the fullness of his different metamorphoses under the mischievous eye of Roger Boulay who curated the Kannibals and Tahitian Women exhibition in the Musée National des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie [National Museum of African and Oceanian Art] in 2001. Like this previous exhibition, it traces the pre-conceived ideas and seeks out the clichés by revisiting the history of this larger-than-life character and by playing on the different views people have held in relation to him: epic, neoromantic, comical or burlesque.

    As the expert Francis Lacassin wrote, “In the techno-mechanical, industrialised and feverish civilisation of the 20th century, Tarzan is like a breath of fresh air. His name evokes the goodness of green plants and growth and the hope of a shared epic all at once.” The route of the exhibitions recalls Burroughs’ sources (Kipling, Rider Haggard, Robida), and also the rapid changes and ups-and-downs Tarzan has undergone. Films, books, posters, photographs, figurines, accessories, sculptures, costumes, paintings, ethnographic objects, outfits, toys, dolls and comic books provide an image of the hero’s world which is both composite and abundant at the same time. The “ape language” and the famous roar are all part of this multi-faceted exotic panorama.

    Constantly referenced and exploited, Tarzan of the Apes was quite a success and to this day is published in 56 languages. Tarzan’s series of 22 adventures spanning the years 1914 to 1947 have been published in more than 15 million copies and have led to the production of close to 15,000 comics and 42 feature films not including the innumerable television series and cartoons. As one of the best-known literary characters globally, Tarzan continues to project a certain image of Africa as well as what's called human civilisation to the world. He embraces a form of return to Mother nature and the very foundation of peoples' identities. «Tarzan thought about how fragile the frontier between the primitive and the civilised is» wrote Edgar Rice Burroughs.

  • - Anant Singh's Videovision Entertainment has teamed up with TOM Pictures, the makers of the acclaimed Gums 'n Noses to produce the new comedy feature, Stiff. The film which is currently being shot in Johannesburg is directed by Craig Freimond and stars Carl Beukes, Lionel Newton, Lindiwe Matshikiza and Nick Borraine with Singh, Helena Spring and Robbie Thorpe producing.

    - Former Super Eagles goal tender and Atlanta Olympics Gold medallist, Emmanuel Babayaro, has recently released a single, and is making his first music video entitled Naija Area. The video features Jude Orhorha, the Amata's, Sound Sultan,1924, Tolu Devine, Tope Swag, ID Cabasa, but to mention a few. The footballer now turned artiste will embark on a trip to European later in the month to search for another location for his next video.

  • At RFI (Radio France Internationale), strikers are now into the eighth week of a strike which started on 12 May over redundancies. RFI announced that it would lay off 200 employees, a fifth of the staff. According to trade unions involved, it is the longest strike in the French public audiovisual sector since 1968. On a station where information used to take the largest proportion of time, music is now “de rigeur”.

    RFI has nearly 40 million listeners in francophone Africa.«For an African politician, being interviewed on RFI is like becoming marchal», underlines Jérémy, political journalist in Cameroun. If there was civil unrest in a francophone country, one of the first measures taken by the Government was to cut off the RFI transmitter.

    Francophone African leaders listen to this radio, and its journalists are very influential. Many of them have been asked to leave the country, for example from Antananarivo iand Dakar. RFI journalist Jean Hélène in Abidjan was assassinated in October 2003. In Dakar, those who like to comment on current affairs are sometimes given the nickname «RFI».

    The other reason for the radio's influence comes from the fact that radio remains the dominent media in Africa. Even village people can afford to purchase a radio while television is being censored by local political authorities. At the same time, the African francophone press has become too expensive for the vast majority. Dailies in many countries do not publish more that 10,000 copies.

    Indeed RFI is holding its own against the newer, private radio stations. Cities like Dakar or Cotonou have more than ten radio stations. Nevertheless, RFI still has 200,000 listeners in the Senegalese capital, with an audience share of 16 %, ranking RFI at the third place in the market. RFI represents access to international information with correspondants in almost every country of the African continent.

    Starved of French language news are turning to «radio de Londres». The BBC has equipped its African network with powerful FM transmitters. The BBC also provides local information and its French programming is about to be transferred from London to Dakar over the next few months. «La Beeb» is perceived as an excellent radio station, whether it is in French or in English, which helps people improves their use of Shakespeare’s language. And as some local wags have commented, the BBC could well become the second favorite wife, perhaps even their preferred one. There are now rumours about Chinese radios broadcasting in French...Will the information quality remain the same?

    Summarised from a Pierre Malet article.

  • Vuzu TV, billed as South Africa's first interactive television channel, launched at The Zone in Rosebank, Johannesburg. It will host a flagship show on the channel, which is based on the E-entertainment news show, like the one from the US.

    Media types, celebs, almost celebs and cool people gathered around to witness the launch of the new channel along with a performance by Mozambican dub band. Nonhle Thema and Siyabonga Ngwekazi are the offical faces of Vuzu.

  • ICT personalities Irene Charnley and Suzanne Vos were appointed as non-executive directors to the SA Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC's) interim board by Parliament yesterday.

    Their appointments come in the wake of the controversy surrounding the state-owned broadcaster's board and management, which resulted in allegations of mismanagement, misappropriation of funds and corruption. The SABC now has debt of more than R800 million.

    The board that Parliament dissolved also had two ICT personalities: broadcasting and telecommunications academic Allison Gillwald, and former ICASA councillor and currently head of Cell C's regulatory division Nadia Bulbulia.

    Charnley is CEO of telecommunications company Smile Telecoms, which aims to roll-out a network catering for low-income households and subscribers who are unable to afford the basic rates charged by the cellular network operators.

    She started her career in the trade union movement and then joined industrial holdings group Johnnic, before becoming a director of cellular network operator MTN where she was part of the team that spearheaded its listing. At MTN, Charnley helped negotiate MTN's contracts to enter various markets, including Iran.

    Charnley formed Smile Telecoms just over two years ago. Last year, she supported attempts by former communications minister, the late Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, to block the Altech court applications to allow value-added network services to convert to individual-electronic communications network services licences.

    Vos, a former Inkatha Freedom Party MP, was a long standing member of Parliament's communication committee. She had a central role in the drafting of the Electronic Communications Act, the law that replaced the Telecommunications Act.

    Almost two years ago, when the former SABC board was first appointed, Vos warned in Parliament against it, as she thought then it was too heavily weighted in favour of former president Thabo Mbeki's political allies.

    “It is a great honour to be appointed to the board and I shall certainly do my best for the good of the country and the corporation. It is too early now to comment on what will happen as the new board has yet to meet,” Vos says.

  • The extension process of the signals of the state-run Angola National Radio (RNA) and Public Television (TPA) in whole country is in a coverage of 85 to 90 per cent, on Friday announced the deputy minister of Mass Media, Manuel Miguel de Carvalho "Wadijimbi", according to Angop.

    Wadijimbi made the announcement in the National Assembly while answering a question from MP Maria Carolina Fortes, from the MPLA, who asked how many districts had radio and TV coverage.

    "The process is in the final stage. We are in a coverage of 85 to 90 per cent", said the deputy minister, who was speaking on behalf of the incumbent Manuel Rabelais, under the debate on the proposal of the 2009 state budget, passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday.

    Angola Press Agency

  • - Residents of the eastern district town of Kenema have raised concern over the continuous closure of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service television station, SLBS/TV located in the township despite consistency in electricity supply in the area.


  • The African Movie Channel (AMC ) continues to blaze the trail as the home of Africa’s top creative talent and most captivating entertainment. From Friday, 26th June, AMC will make available on-demand, the epic 11-part tale of Mary Slessor, the Scottish missionary whose service to the people of Calabar is remembered and honoured to this day.

    With backing from the BBC, the series was produced and directed by top Nollywood director Jeta Amata, with help from long-time friend Nick Moran, star of the cool British gangster flick Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

    Mary Slessor features Jeta’s father Zack Amata and uncle Fred Amata, two of the leading members of Nollywood’s ‘royal’ Amata family. The real star of this production is British actress Alison Pargeter, who rose to fame in British BAFTA-winning soap opera, Eastenders. Her portrayal of Mary Slessor brings the heroine of Calabar to life.

    This compelling drama series recounts the colourful and courageous story of Mary Slessor, who lived and worked among the people of Calabar in the late 19th Century. By learning their language and culture, she spread the Christian faith and persuaded those with long-held traditional beliefs to abandon cruel practices, such as the killing of twins at birth, and adopt new ones, like modern medicines for the cure of various tropical diseases. She also crusaded for women’s rights and social justice in the context of communities that had been torn apart by the slave trade over many generations.

    Mary Slessor of Calabar her story, so entrenched in the Calabar cultural heritage, is a poignant recount of a woman’s strong commitment and selfless service to humanity with rich moral values. Her story is so touching as to bring Queen Elizabeth II to her gravesite in Calabar in the year 1953 to pay homage to this great woman.

    AMC’s co-director, Lola Onigbogi said, “Mary Slessor of Calabar is one of the most significant recent developments in African television production. With international funding, an international cast and crew and shot on location where actual events took place, it brings an African story to life for audiences all over the world. With AMC, we have created a platform that ensures audiences the world over can share in this inspiring story".

    This gripping on-demand series can be watched in exclusively on the African Movie Channel And for a limited period only, the African Movie Channel is offering the first three episodes for the price of two.

  • A Black business consortium is to serve papers on the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) opposing the publication of digital terrestrial television (DTT) regulations governing the allocation of additional digital channels.

    The National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) consortium is opposing the allocation of 50% of Multiplex 3 to M-Net, saying this would extend MultiChoice's monopoly to digital terrestrial television.

    The digital switch time-frame is from November last year to November 2011, although Icasa indicated on Friday it would engage with Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda with a view to extending this. Nafcoc says Icasa should have allocated some of the spectrum to black companies, and regulated to ensure the sustainability of these black-owned pay-TV businesses.

    M-Net and MultiChoice, the operator of DStv, are both owned by media group Naspers . They enjoy a monopoly on pay-TV in SA, as other licencees -- On Digital Media (ODM), Telkom Media and Walking on Water TV (WOWtv) -- have not yet been launched. All three, however, have indicated their interest in DTT.

    If M-Net conducts a "hard switchover" within 12 months by swapping customers' analogue decoders with digital decoders, it will be rewarded with 50% of a multiplex for its own use. A multiplex is a technical term for the transmission of several TV channels on one frequency. The number of channels that can be carried in this way depends on the technology used, but M-Net is likely to end up with four to eight channels altogether.

    The commercial launch of DTT was originally scheduled for November 1 last year, but the Cabinet approved digital migration policy only last year, delaying the publication of regulations governing the switch- over, including the DTT regulations published by Icasa on Friday. Icasa spokesman Sekgoela Sekgoela said he could not comment as the authority had not received any correspondence from the consortium.

    "What we did was right," Sekgoela said. "If we did not think it was right we would not have published the regulations."

    Icasa councillor Robert Nkuna said on Friday the remaining 50% of the disputed multiplex would be awarded to "interested parties", including licencees such as ODM, Telkom Media and WOWtv, once M-Net had completed moving its customers to a digital signal.

    See story below in Regulation and Policy

    Business Day

  • - The story of the Nigerian movie industry’s success has been examined in an interesting documentary called "Nollywood Babylon," by Canadians Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal. It traces Nollywood's roots back to a 1992 thriller called "Living in Bondage." "Nollywood Babylon" mixes scenes from Nigerian movies with a wide range of Nollywood professionnals. Length: 74 minutes. , Museum of Modern Art 11 W. 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, NYC, USA.


  • Anant Singh has announced the acquisition of the film rights to Durban advocate, Chris Marnewick's book Shepherds & Butchers. The book is a riveting cliff-hanger courtroom drama about capital punishment. Shepherds & Butchers won the University of Johannesburg's Prize for Debut Work of Fiction (English) and also appeared in the Sunday Times Long List for Best Works of Fiction for 2008 and was in the Top 5 shortlisted books of the 2008 M-Net Literary Awards and was also shortlisted in the Top 3 in the 2008 M-Net Awards for Books Best Suited to be Turned into a Film.

    "We are thrilled to have acquired the coveted rights to Shepherds & Butchers from Chris Marnewick," said Anant Singh. "Hats off to Chris who did a fantastic job with his first book. It is a compelling and absorbing story which we hope to turn into a powerful film. Chris deals with the death penalty, which is always a controversial issue with audiences around the world, in a profound way. It is also very satisfying for us to have concluded this deal with Chris as both of us are Durban based," continued Singh.

    Commenting on the film rights deal, Advocate Chris Marnewick said, "I have viewed a number of Anant's serious films and I think he is the right man to take the important message in Shepherds & Butchers to the public by means of a feature film."

    Development on the film will commence immediately and discussions are already underway with potential writers to adapt the book into a screenplay.

  • Media group Naspers released a solid set of annual results at the beginning of July, with most analysts commenting on an excellent performance.

    While the media sector in general has come under pressure from falling ad revenues, Naspers's pay-television and Internet businesses have helped it to weather the storm and increase revenue 30% for the year ending March. It posted revenue of R26bn, from R20bn the previous year. Core headline earnings grew marginally to R4.4bn, or R11.79 per share, from R4bn and R11.30 previously.

    CEO Koos Bekker said the group would continue its growth strategy. "New internet investments will be considered where opportunities arise, especially where they complement existing operations," he said. Financial director Steve Pacak said pay-TV competition and added regulation, as well as slower consumer spending, could affect revenue .

    Cobus Stofberg, CEO of subsidiary MIH, which houses the Internet, pay-TV and technology interests, said diversified revenue streams had made the group more defensive. Emerging markets, where most of Naspers's investments lie, also had better growth prospects than the rest of the world, said Stofberg.

    Pay-TV accounts for R14.9bn in revenue, an increase of 29% as the subscriber base grew. The Internet division increased revenue 136%, from R1.6bn to R3.8bn. Print media saw only a 3% growth in revenue, reflecting a slump in the advertising market, where revenue grew only 2%.

    Pay-TV margins declined from 34% to 32%, due to the costs of increasing its subscriber base, and to decoder subsidies and premium-content costs.

    But it found 453,000 new subscribers in South Africa and 230,000 new subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa, proving its resilience in a downturn. It now has 2.4-million subscribers in South Africa and 900,000 in sub-Saharan Africa. Advertising came under pressure, but pay-TV has a subscription-based revenue model. The number of consumers upgrading to more premium pay-TV packages equalled those who were down grading, with the mid-priced Compact bouquet seeing most growth.

    Naspers proposed a dividend of 207c a share, a 15% increase over last year's 180c .

    Business Day

regulation & policy

  • The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has launched a complaint with the office of the Ombudsman accusing President Ian Khama and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) of abusing the national television station, Btv.

    The accusation has come through a letter to the Ombudsman, Ofentse Lepodise. The letter is signed by BCP deputy secretary general, Motsei Rapelana. The BCP wants the department or the ministry of Communications Science and Technology to be investigated by Lepodise.

    "We write with respect to a repeated pattern of abuse of office by the Department of Information and Broadcasting and the minister responsible for the department with respect to glaringly disproportionate coverage of political campaigns by various political parties in favour of the BDP," the party states.

    It says that Btv's biased coverage of BDP events to the exclusion of all other parties amounts to abuse of office. "We consider this an abuse of office and or maladministration having regard to the fact that the Department of Information and Broadcasting is funded by the public through payment of taxes," the BCP says.

    The party says it was prompted to launch a complaint after Khama and his friend Thapelo Olopeng were 'paraded' on national television at a BDP event organised to launch Education Minister and BDP secretary general, Jacob Nkate as a contestant for Ngami constituency.

    "In the most bizarre form of abuse of a national television station, the President, the supposed custodian of national resources and values paraded his long time friend and party activist, a certain Olopeng," the letter says.

    At the launch Olopeng and Khama called on party members to protect their President (Khama) from attacks by the private media. The video clip in which Olopeng appeared on Btv ran for more than the standard time, BCP says.

    "This bizarre act was afforded extended coverage by Btv in a manner that has never been seen before," argues the BCP. The party says Olopeng does not hold any political office in the ruling party but is accorded special television coverage on the basis of his friendship with Khama. Olopeng is a former army man and close friend of Khama.

    "Further, the disproportionate coverage of the BDP, more particularly by the Btv is a violation of the freedom of expression as entrenched in the Constitution of Botswana.

    This is so because the practice stifles free flow of information with respect to critical vehicles of democracy (political parties) that are registered and lawful. In our view, freedom of expression includes the freedom of the public to receive information without undue restrictions. The injustice in this skewed coverage of critical players in a democracy is denying the public fair coverage to enable them to take informed decisions about their destiny. Furthermore, this amounts to a blatant abuse of trust," says BCP.

    Mmegi/The Reporter

  • ICASA released its finalised digital terrestrial TV (DTT) regulations on Friday, after almost a year in the making. These could see M-Net face a commercial competitor in just over a year. To make way for a new competitor, M-Net will have to migrate to its own “dedicated” multiplex, which will free up its old space for a new player.

    ICASA says there is a need for more competition and hopes the new multiplex will help to facilitate it. “The authority is convinced more capacity is needed to bring about competition in this sector,” the regulations explain.

    However, the new licence relies on M-Net having to perform a hard switchover to its new multiplex within the next 12 months. It has also been asked to switch off frequencies it used for its community services network.

    The regulator will also only allow M-Net to apply for another channel after the end of the dual-illumination period. “In preparation for the introduction of competition, M-Net will initially be allocated 50% of its multiplex and can only apply for an additional channel at the end of the dual switch-over,” adds ICASA.

    While MultiChoice's DSTV also expects competition soon, it has not been included in the DTT regulations, because it is a satellite and not a terrestrial service. Broadcasters will have to broadcast in both digital and analogue for some time, so M-Net will have a long wait for its additional channel. This dual-illumination period was expected to end in November 2011; however, the regulator has noted in the latest regulations that it will advise the communications minister to extend this timeframe.

    M-Net and eTV will also be given the opportunity to apply for an ECNS licence, which will give them the rights to build and run their own networks. Companies like Sentech traditionally carry the broadcasters' signals across their networks.

    Competition will not be limited to the spectrum freed by M-Net, as the regulator says there is also room for eTV competition. The regulator says once the dual-illumination period is complete, interested parties can apply for a licence to sit on the same multiplex as eTV.

    The free-to-air broadcaster has been allocated 60% of its multiplex, and has been given the right to apply for additional capacity once the country's TV services are fully digital. SABC has been granted 100% of its multiplex, although it must set aside 10% for Christian broadcaster Trinity Broadcasting Network, a channel in the Eastern Cape region.

  • - The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) announced recently that it was pushing forward its tough stance on broadcasting squatters, saying it hoped to regain over 150 licences and auction them in order to improve vibrancy in the sector. However, it has targeted 35 frequencies to start with.

    - The Link Centre - Graduate School of Public & Development Management (P&DM), Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa has announced its 2009 course in broadcasting policy and regulation: Certificate in Broadcasting Policy & Regulatory Trends (South Africa)

    This course commences on 24 August 2009. For more course information, go to course page on the Link website:

technology & convergence

  • Kenya's mobile providers are moving to strengthen their Internet offerings in response to growing demand for services over the last quarter. Zain Kenya has announced a 25 per cent cost reduction for the unlimited Internet package in a move aimed at growing its market share in the increasingly competitive data business, while its rivals Telkom Kenya and Safaricom announced the launch of online portals geared at driving more subscribers to use data services.

    In a statement, Zain Kenya managing director Rene Meza said the company was now focusing on growing the data business by ensuring widespread access to the internet.

    "Reliable and affordable Internet will spur growth in key sectors of the economy and also create new areas of entrepreneurship, similar to those that have been created through the introduction of mobile telephony in Kenya," said Meza.

    Following Zain's reduction, customers who sign up for the service will now enjoy unlimited Internet for Sh2,995 per month down from Sh3,999 and will also receive a free USB modem.

    In addition, customers who subscribe to the service which is only accessible to post-paid users, will now pay a deposit of Sh5,000 down from Sh10,000, however they will be required to sign up for a minimum of 12 months to enjoy the unlimited Internet access.

    On its part, Telkom Kenya became the second mobile operator to launch an online portal after its competitor Safaricom officially launched its version last week.

    Telkom's Orange World is an online gateway offering subscribers news, sports, games, listings, travel information and entertainment while on the move, and signals the company's desire to tap into the growing numbers of Kenyan consumers who access the web using their mobiles.

    "This will probably even be the next must-have playground accessory. Our service will be affordable and phone handset prices will probably experience a substantial price drop in the next few months," said Jean-Michel Chanut, head of marketing and Strategy at Telkom Kenya.

    Last week, Safaricom launched its portal ( hoping to provide free content for its over 1.6 million subscribers who access the Internet using their phones.

    Telkom Kenya will allow subscribers to its mobile service one month's free access after which it plans to charge for access to news, entertainment and information channels.

    Chanut said he believed that sales of WAP-enabled, or Internet-enabled mobile phone handsets would usurp current handsets as must-have gadgets in coming months.

    Business Daily

  • Angola and Russia on Friday here signed a contract for the building, launching and operation of the Angolan telecommunication satellite named AngoSat, following the visit of president of the Russian Federation, Dimitri Medvedev is paying to Angola.

    Worth USD 327.6 million and a production time estimated at 39 months, the contract foresees apart from supply of technical means, the training of Angolan cadres in space technology for satellite management.

    AngoSat will have 15 years of life and will serve to support national infrastructures of telecommunications and terrestrial digital television all over the country.

    It will enable the coverage in Africa, Europe, in C band, and the Southern Africa, in particular, in Ku band.



  • A conference called « journée VNeT » has been organised in Tunis at Hotel Concorde Les Berges du Lac, on the 19th. June with the theme « digital convergence and the launch of DTT in Tunisie. Participants at the event said that these technologies represent a major cultural opportunity for the audiovisual landscape of Tunisia, allowing a wider access to information.

  • Michael Jackson died of heart failure last Thursday June 25th 2009 at the age of 50 and left the world in a state of shock. Described as a music legend, one of the most famous man of the Xxth century was a King of Pop. Michael’s influence on music and culture has been acknowledged by international artists and critics worldwide.

    Michael Jackson formed, with Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama, a trio of famous personalities with african origins.

  • In preparation for November's election, a wave of restructure has occurred within Tunisian leading information media. Mohamed Fehri Chelbi has just been nominated CEO of the nationale Television channel, Chaouki Alaoui is CEO of the national radio, Mansour M’henni, CEO of SNIPE as the new editor of the government's journal “La Presse de Tunisie”, and Mohamed Gontara as Director of “Centre africain de perfectionnement des journalistes et communicateurs (CAPJC)”.


    On 1st july 2009 Paul Biya has nominated Philémon Yang First Minister of Cameroun as well as 7 new ministers and one state secretary including: M. ISSA TCHIROUMA BAKARI as Minister of Communication and M. BIYITI BI ESSAM as Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. Philémon Yang replaces Inoni Ephraïm who has leaded for the last 5 years. Philémon Yang, a 62 ans magistrate was a “haut commissaire” of Cameroun in Canada and ex-secretary to the Cameroun president.

    Alan Rolston joins MoviWorld

    Well known Producer, Alan Ralston has joined Moviworld. After a successful time working with Neal Sundstrom and Terry Vallet last year on the movie Finding Lenny and a short stint in Cape Town for the commercials season.

    Filmmaker South Africa.

    2 to 19 July 2009
    Encounters - 11th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival

    5 to 20 july 2009
    Panafrican Cultural Festival, Algeria

    In Algeria, 51 african countries have confirmed their participation at the 2nd edition of the panafrican cultural festival (PANAF).

    Zouaoui Benhamadi, head of the festival communication département has validated that 8.000 foreign artists and 15.000 algerians will take part in the event including two countries who have a large african community: the USA and Brasil.

    On july 4th afternoon, a parade will cross Algier associating all countries who have contributed to the event. Major african stars like Warda, Cesaria Evora and Youssou N'Dour are due to attend as well as 350 dancers selected in various african countries.

    Recently, the algerian minister of Culture, Mme Khalida Toumi, has inaugurated the "Résidence des artisites" in the Zéralda, county, West of Algeria.

    Health specialists have testified that Algeria has reinforced proactive measures against A/H1N1 virus to welcome participants with maximum security. A police force of 22.000 agents will also be patroling in Algier during the festivities.

    23 July to 2 August 2009
    The 30th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF)

    Call for applications: scriptwriting workshops

    This 30th edition will present over 200 screenings of films from around the world, with a special focus on films from South Africa and Africa. A free writing and scriptwriting workshop is now opened to applications.

    23 - 25 August 2009
    Mediatech Africa 2009 EXHIBITION

    The Coca-Cola Dome



    South Africa

    10h00 - 18h00 (Thursday and Friday)

    10h00 - 17h00 (Saturday)

    24-26 August 2009
    PAMRO (Pan-African Media Research Organisation): 11th Annual Meeting

    To be held at Laico Regency Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya.

    5 - 13 Sept. 2009

    Lusaka - Zambia

    16 - 18 Sept. 2009

    Hilton Nairobi Hotel - Kenya

    contact: Cherise Barsell / Head of TV Stations Relations Africa

    1 October 2009 - 4 October 2009
    Pan African Space Station 2009

    3 - 19 Oct. 2009

    Johannesburg,Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth

    11 - 14 Oct. 2009



    21 - 23 Oct. 2009

    Sheraton Hotel & Towers



    22 October to 1 November 2009
    The Africa in Motion film festival (AiM)

    Edinburgh is home to Africa in Motion, the UK's biggest African film festival.

    The UK’s biggest African film festival takes place annually in October at Edinburgh Filmhouse, is officially inviting African filmmakers to submit short films for a new AiM competition. The competition is targeted specifically towards young and emerging African talent.

    The competition winner will be selected from a shortlist of films and will be announced at an awards ceremony at the third successive Africa in Motion festival in October 2009. The winner will have the opportunity for their film to be screened at AiM 2009 as well as the chance to win a significant cash prize. A selection of other short films specially commended by our competition jury will also be screened as part of a short film showcase at AiM 2010.

    The AiM 2009 Short Film Competition will be judged by a jury panel consisting of local film specialists and established African filmmakers; still to be confirmed.

    The dates for Africa in Motion 2009 have just been announced - 22 October to 1 November. The final programme will be announced early September. Please visit for full submission guidelines and to download an entry form. For any further enquiries, please contact AiM festival director Lizelle Bisschoff at:

    November 2009 (date tbc)
    IPTV World Forum Middle East & Africa - Dubai - Informa Telecoms & Media Conferences

    2-6 November 2009
    Africa Media & Broadcasting Congress 2009

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre - Johannesburg

    February 2010 (date TBC)

    22nd till 28th February 2010
    Aluta Film Festival in Kimberley, South Africa

    Call for Entries: The organisers of the Aluta Film Festival, South African premier township cinema event, are calling for entries from South African and International filmmakers for 2010, the 7th edition of the festival.

    Deadline: November

    Categories: Features; documentaries; animation; short films

    Requirements: Preview: DVD PAL. Screening: 16mm, 35mm and video

    Awards: Aluta! Revolution Awards

    Fees: None

    Administrative address: 18985 Guttenburg Pitse Street, John Mampe. Phase One, Galeshewe, Kimberley 8300, South Africa

    Tel: +27 (0)76 853 1214

    Fax: +27 (0)86 513 7783

    Festival Director: Motheo Seleke

    Festival Administrator: Nandipha Shwababa

    4-4 March 2010
    Mobile Commerce World Africa 2010

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre - Johannesburg

    12-15 April 2010
    SatCom Africa 2010

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre - Johannesburg, South Africa

    followed by SatCom Star Awards

    13-13 April 2010

    Venue: Sandton Sun Hotel - Johannesburg

    Africa’s premier satellite event brings you the industry awards for best practice

    19-21 May 2010
    Broadcast & Film Africa 2010

    Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) Nairobi

  • SA award-winning animation industry had missed out on $70m-$100m worth of work in the past 18 months as the country had too few trained animators, Cape Film Commission marketing, communications and special 2010 projects manager Linton Rensburg said yesterday.

    Animation Training finally arrives on Cape Flats. Described by many people as one of the Western Cape Film Industry's most ambitious projects to date, the first phase of what has become known as the Cape Film Industry's Animation Industry Development Initiative will kick off at the False Bay College in Khayelitsha on the 26th June 2009.

  • Encounters is pleased to announce that Jonathan Powell, head of Acquisitions of Al-Jazeera Network, will be attending Encounters from 2 to 9 July. Powell is actively seeking to buy existing product and is interested in co-financing new projects.

  • CTV has been on air for 7 months now and has achieved an enormous amount with limited resources. During this period CTV has established a loyal viewership in the Cape Town community.

    With virtually no budget for content, CTV managed to garner a significant amount of local and international programmes, ranging from documentaries to short films, music videos and even some feature films. To produce local programming the channel has partnered with 15 independent production companies, five of which are currently producing programmes for CTV.

    The development of local talent is very much on the agenda of this young community broadcaster, which has already launched two training programmes in partnership with separate training providers. A total of 32 young people who have never had access to the audio visual media have received basic training and are working on content for the channel.

    They key challenge the station faced in the start-up phase was a lack of sufficient start up capital to set up and sustain it until revenues could be generated. With only a limited amount of seed funding from the MDDA, the station has been seriously under-resourced.

    This has resulted in a range of challenges such as lack of marketing capacity, a poor quality signal and a limited ability to produce content. Nevertheless the channel employees are confident that, once audience numbers are established, CTV will attract advertising and sponsorship to move it onto the next level.

    During this next phase of CTV’s development, the plan is to:


    CTV’s initial programming emphasis has been on acquired content as the station builds capacity to generate more content. The local film-making community has proven itself to be very supportive of this community initiative, and the station benefits from a stream of locally-produced videos. CTV has also secured a number of ground-breaking content deals that promise to bring top quality programmes to Capetonians.

    One of the most exciting additions is the Al Jazeera English, an international news and current affairs channel that is broadcast from 13H00-14H00 and from 20H00-21H00 from Monday to Thursday. Al Jazeera aims to give voice to untold stories, promote debate and challenge established perceptions - all of which resonate with CTV’s own objectives.

    Al Jazeera was previously only available to South African viewers on subscription channels, but CTV brings this world-class news channel to your living room free of charge. This gives CTV viewers a deeper knowledge of world affairs and particular insights into the turbulent Middle East, where the channel is based.

    Another ground-breaking deal has been signed between CTV and the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival. Encounters has been bringing world-class international documentaries to Cape Town audiences for the past 10 years. This year CTV will be the official Outreach Programme of the festival, with a mission to ensure that films which have previously only been seen in cinemas will be seen, free-to-air, by all CTV viewers.

    In-house Production

    The next phase of CTV’s development will bring an informative range of in-house programmes that promise to get Cape Town talking about important issues. CTV has secured the use of three fully equipped television studios based at UWC, UCT and AFDA and has set up an extensive database of volunteers who are willing to work on productions. This approach creates opportunities for skills development and job creation.

    The following in-house programmes will be launched between April and July 2009:

    Open Studio: This show, which is produced at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), is aimed at promoting public access and freedom of expression. The public access studio will showcase local storytellers, oral history, theatre, comedy, skits and puppetry or simply provide a space for people to air their views.

    Talk Shows: CTV has developed a range of issue-based talk shows, often in partnership with member organisations through reference groups. In some instances, such as the youth and disability programmes, CTV provides training to volunteers to enable members of the community to participate in the production of their own programmes.

    CTV is developing the following studio-based talk shows.

  • Focused on the approach of promoting contemporary creativity (especially photography), the “musée du quai Branly” has launched since 2008 an artistic creation program. Each year, this program will allow contemporary Non-European artists to present a project that offers a connection with the musée du quai Branly‘s mission in Paris. The museum is a cultural centre and place for research and education all rolled into one. The musée honours non occidental cultures and civilisations. Comprising a collection of some 300,000 objects, the permanent exhibition is organised into four geographical areas: Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania. The museum has made an open and dynamic choice for its slogan: “Where cultures meet in dialogue”. This slogan guides the work conducted by the museum in most of its areas of activity: cultural programming, the dissemination of knowledge and expertise, and sharing of this knowledge with cultures from where the collections originated, international cooperation and making the collections available to others.

    musée du quai Branly - Artistic creation projects

    37, quai Branly

    75007 - Paris - France

    Tel.: +33 (0)1 56 61 70 00

    Young contemporary African artists are welcome to send their pictures.

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