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Radio the winner in the latest BCCSA cases

Posted by radio On July - 8 - 2013
 A complaint was received from a listener in regard to the broadcast of the sounds of the so-called Boston Bombings by East Coast Radio and Radio Sonder Grense (“RSG”). Reference was also made to the broadcast of details of the trauma experienced by victims, as well as witnesses’ comments in the immediate aftermath of the explosions. The Tribunal held as follows: In so far as adults, including sensitive adult audiences, are concerned, the material was neither explicit nor graphic. Nothing in the broadcast amounted to an exploitation by the broadcasters of the situation. In so far as children are concerned, a warning was also not necessary. The combined effect of the blast and victims’ screams as well as comments made by witnesses in the immediate aftermath of the blast resulted in individual details being lost. In effect, the general cacophony reduced the impact of the discrete elements of the sounds that were broadcast. The complaint was not upheld.  Anders vs. RSG & East Coast Radio

 

A complaint was received from Mrs Gaye Derby-Lewis regarding an interview with Minister Tokyo Sexwale, which was held by Mr John Robbie of Talk Radio 702’s Breakfast Show. The date of the interview, 10 April 2013, was the twentieth anniversary of the assassination of the then Secretary-General of the SACP, Mr Chris Hani, and the subject of the interview was the interviewee’s personal recollection of that event and its repercussions. The Tribunal held as follows: The Complainant alleged that the interview “spread a lie” by propagating as a truth that there was a “conspiracy” surrounding the assassination of Mr Hani. The Complainant also alleged that the presenter and interviewee were “in contempt of a high court ruling” where there was no evidence of a “further” conspiracy. The Tribunal held that the reference to a conspiracy is permissible within the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Furthermore, such a reference does not, in any case, amount to contempt of court in expressing a view that does not accord with a court finding. The complaint was not that the opinion expressed defamed the Complainant. The complaint was that there was, effectively, no basis for such an opinion. The complaint was not upheld. Derby- Lewis vs. Talk Radio 702

 

 

     Tribunal holding: (1) that the “public importance” (public interest) requirement in clauses 12 and 13 of the Free-to-Air Broadcasting Code is, in the main, directed at debates on South African issues; (2) that a Complainant only has locus standi in regard to the right to reply in clause 13 of the Code where his complaint is that he was not afforded such a right; and (3) that the Complainant had not made out a case that the broadcast was of public importance in South Africa and that he, in so far as the right to reply was concerned, had not claimed such a right for himself. Complaint, accordingly, not upheld. Lorgat vs. SAFM 

 

For more on these judgements visit www.bccsa.co.za

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