by Thinus Ferreira
Media24’s TV division in South Africa will also be a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination workspace from March, joining other South African broadcasters, TV channels and producers, a growing list of other South African companies and institutions, as well as international TV and film outlets requiring that workers have taken the jab.
From March people visiting or working on Media24’s various TV productions will be required to be vaccinated for the coronavirus.
Several South African universities, companies from Discovery to Standard Bank, MultiChoice, Dis-chem, and Old Mutual to MTN and others; as well as international companies like Netflix already introduced vaccine mandates.
In America’s TV and film industry studios and broadcasters have stringent on-set Covid-19 safety protocols in place since studios and channels risk losing millions of dollars if a production must shut down because of Covid-19 positive cases.
Big local South African reality shows, shot under extreme safety regulations as so-called “Covid-19 safe bubble shows” like the upcoming 4th season of MasterChef SA on M-Net (DStv 101) produced by Homebrew Films or the 9th season of Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts which is currently being filmed by Afrokaans, have a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy in place.
South African insurers don’t want to insure shows against potential losses because of Covid-19 or production shutdowns forced by Covid-19 cases.
Ishmet Davidson, Media24 CEO told TVwithThinus that “VIA,
HONEY and POP! make up the Media24 TV division and as such they are
subject to the same policy that makes
vaccinations mandatory for all employees, service providers and visitors, including clients, who enter the company’s premises, effective from 1 March 2022″.
“This applies to everybody involved in any production at our studio in die
Media24 Centre or at any of the company’s other premises.”
Ishmet Davidson says “From the onset of the
pandemic Media24’s main priorities have been the health and safety of our
people and business continuity, and we remain committed to taking every
reasonable precaution to protect employees against Covid-19.”
“The policy was developed with broad input and
within the ambit of the law, balancing the rights of individual employees with
our duty to provide a safe work environment.”
Asked what the requirements are from independent production companies commissioned to produce content for its TV channels, Izelle Venter, Media24 TV general manager, told TVwithThinus that these production companies are not yet mandated to provide proof that on-air talent and crew have been vaccinated.
“For now, contracted shows for our channels from external producers are governed and
navigated by the policies of the respective production houses, at their own prerogative.
This is an issue that we will re-evaluate from time to time.”