Cape Town TV (CTV) and the “Workers’ World” Labour TV Show
Cape Town has a new Community TV station. WWMP together with other organisations played a leading role in the establishment of CTV. Currently CTV is campaigning for a much more supportive environment from the state for community broadcasters. WWMP director, Martin Jansen has been the CTV board chairperson since its establishment in 2006. We are replicating our successful radio shows with weekly 30-minute labour shows on Cape Town TV (CTV).
We have a production team in place to produce these shows, and launched our first show on 29 April 2009 with a Mayday special. We are hoping that the experience of this project will form a model for labour shows on other TV channels in future. In line with its organisational aims, during early 2008 WWMP planned to develop a weekly labour TV show to be broadcast on the then emerging community TV channel, Cape Town TV (CTV). WWMP had been an instrumental and key founding organisation of CTV. Based on this plan we proceeded to organise the necessary resources and fundraise for the project. We successfully completed the first “pilot season” over 13 weeks that ended in July 2009. During much of this time valuable lessons were learnt and we have already ensured changes and improvements to bring the viewers of Cape Town an even bigger and better labour TV show.
Overall Aim of the project and link to WWMP vision:
The Labour Show’s main focus is highlighting the plight of workers, especially vulnerable workers such as domestic, farm, temporary and female workers directly to the community of Cape Town. It aims to take those “cases” and “claims” made by workers whose rights have been violated, out of the files and onto the screen, which is then broadcast to Cape Town. The show aims to facilitate an exchange between trade unions, members of the community and workers and promote united action against human rights violations, poverty and exploitation. The show also moves into the realm of the personal by revealing the stories of hardships faced by workers, by deliberately moving away from merely presenting their case, but rather representing their voices, which often tell of damage to their lives as the result of, for example, long working hours, low wages, poor social support and psychological injury sustained in the workplace.
Objectives of the CTV Labour Show:
Production and broadcasts of a weekly labour show
During our first season this was the main objective. The experience gave us hands on experience of the requirements for a regular weekly labour TV show. We successfully produced the show with the help of several “professional” and inexperienced volunteers. The entire project and everyone concerned gained tremendously and we can confidently proceed with the required expertise for producing an even more professional and compelling labour show.
Since the mainstream media hardly ever focuses on workers’ and poor people’s lives and stories, we tried to expose the stories of workers and their trade unions to the general public and to encourage support and unity. The topics on the CTV Labour show encompass workers’ stories, from artists (musicians/ filmmakers) to factory workers to doctors and nurses and so forth. In these various stories, emphasis is placed on the value that these workers add to our lives and the ways the general public can rally around them to support them to ensure that their rights are not violated.
Skills development: Stories from the community
Every week the labour show included a 4-minute insert/ documentary that profiled particular workers’ stories/ issues. These weekly inserts are currently produced by a full-time producer at WWMP. However during the project period we ensured training for up to 10 trade unionists in video filming. In future we plan to incorporate their video footage into the documentary inserts and a labour news bulletin.
Advertising and marketing the labour show
We produced a promotional advert for the show which was flighted by CTV. More will be done in promoting the show during the next season, including leaflets and workplace posters.
Developing WWMP’s expertise in producing Labour TV shows
Besides the actual production and broadcasts this was the main achievement of the project and we estimate that by the end of 2010 we will be in a position to support the production of other labour TV shows on community and commercial/SABC channels.