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Van der Merwe vs Radio Rosestad on religious slur

Posted by radio On April - 22 - 2014 Comments Off on Van der Merwe vs Radio Rosestad on religious slur

A recent complaint was lodged against Radio Rosestad on which speakers allegedly mocked the way in which Islamic people recite their holy book the Qur’an. The case heard on 13 March 2014 is based on a show which aired on October 2013. The apparent slur also conveyed sentiments that that one of the five pillars of Islam – the expression of faith, is a “mantra” and is therefore “Satanic.”

Law

 

Of course the sane assumption would be that a country such as South Africa, heralded for its upstanding track record in respecting different beliefs, would be eons ahead of below the belt jibes and derogatory remarks made about faith.

 

Radio Rosestad (100.6 fm Bloemfontein) is a community based station formerly known as Radio Vryheid and its inability to reign in its shock jocks violates the right of citizens to make choices according to their convictions, the right to change their faith, the right to be educated in their religion, the right to educate their children in accordance with their philosophical and religious convictions and the right to refuse to perform certain duties or assist in activities that violate their religious beliefs. This is boldly according to The South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms(SACRRF)

 

Held that it was not permissible to broadcast such a view on air without, at the very least, the presenter stating that the opinion of a Muslim cleric should be sought to discuss the view. Since the view expressed attacked the core of Islam, and was emphasised repeatedly, it amounted to hate speech based on religion. The Complaint was upheld and a fine of R10 000 was imposed

 

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Stinker complaint against Kaya does not hold

Posted by radio On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on Stinker complaint against Kaya does not hold

[By : Radiobiz Reporter]

 

A complaint has recently been lodged with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa against Kaya FM’s breakfast team for derogatory remarks. The complainant, T Thobejane, has based the complaint on a comment that was made on the 28th of January where unemployed people were allegedly said to have body odour. The skit where member of 180 with Bob, Kuli Roberts, is supposedly to have said unemployed people smell,” has been viewed by Thobejane as distasteful.Kaya_FM

 

The broadcaster responded by saying, “these are a series of parody political party manifestos that the breakfast show team members put together” and that they “cannot single out Kuli’s comments in isolation to her other team members and that this was positioned as a parody around political parties releasing their campaign manifestos.”

 

It was deduced that there are certain problematic aspects to the complaint: firstly, the Complainant complains on behalf of “unemployed people” (a category that she herself is implicitly not part of). The complaint assumes that “unemployed people” constitute a category that needs special protection (as with children, the aged and physically and mentally disabled persons)

 

After consideration of the facts before the BCCSA found that there is no infringement of the Code and the complaint is not upheld.

 

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Kaya FM found not guilty of playing Warren G

Posted by radio On August - 10 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

A Warren G song which included the words “nigga” and “fuck” was broadcast by the Kaya FM during the 180 with Bob Mabena breakfast show. The Tribunal was informed that the general policy of the Kaya FM is to remove these words from songs or use a radio version of the song.

 

The song indeed included the words complained of. However, the words were not clearly audible, and it was only after listening to the song a few times that members of the Tribunal actually heard the offending words – and then only very vaguely, as they were sung in an indistinct manner which, we were told, is typical of the singer. BCCSA was also told that listeners who know the singer’s style and the song would have had no problem in discerning the words.

 

Kaya FM explained to the tribunal at the hearing of this matter that the offending words are consistently removed from songs which are broadcast on its station. However, a new system had been introduced and the words had not been picked up by this system. The error in the system has since been rectified.

 

 

To make a finding against the broadcaster in this instance would amount to nitpicking. Moreover, the offending words were barely audible. The complaint was not upheld. Ramkissoon vs Kaya FM

 

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Motsweding FM fined by the BCCSA

Posted by radio On July - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

In several broadcasts, Motsweding FM disclosed the identity of a raped child. It appeared that the broadcasts were made with the intention of furthering a campaign against rape. Such broadcasts were, however, in conflict with the Broadcasting Code.

 

Only an adult may grant permission that his or her identity be disclosed under such circumstances. A parent is not permitted to do so on behalf of or in the interests of a child, even if such a child has passed away. Such a disclosure is, in any case, not permitted by the Criminal Procedure Act, unless the presiding Judge or Magistrate has granted permission.

 

The Tribunal held that, although the disclosure of the identity amounted to a bona fide mistake and the broadcasts were apparently made in the public interest, the disclosure of the identity of the victim amounted to a serious contravention of the Code. A fine of R10 000 was imposed.

 

For the full judgement, visit http://www.bccsa.co.za

 

 

 

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Radio the winner in the latest BCCSA cases

Posted by radio On July - 8 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
 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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Radio rulings: with whom does the buck stop?

Posted by radio On June - 18 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[Written By: Kagiso Mnisi]

 

A recent furore had a listener wrangled in a BBCSA involved spat with Gagasi FM where the argument was that an incorrect statement attributed to her in a newspaper was repeated on air by the Respondent broadcaster. The statement concerned the parole of a person who had, inter alia, by way of negligent driving caused bodily injuries to the Complainant. The complaint which involved the Afternoon Showoff presenters Thandolwethu Strydom and Trevor Phillips, begged the most obvious question: do radio producers/presenters do the necessary legwork to verify information or just read whatever is on script?

 

Stirs of this nature are not at all new in the local media space. One can remember the widely publicised incident of provacateur David Bullard vs. The Sunday Times http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/David-Bullard-lays-charges-over-axing-20120413, where a column he had written was seen as contentious and racist. But what irked the most in this case was the lack of oversight by editorial. Why did the column see the light of day in the first place? The same concern should be appropriated to Gagasi FM’s Afternoon Showoff team for its lack of thorough fact during its feature.

 

Far abroad conservative shock-jock, Rush Limbaugh, has been caught foot in mouth when he described 30 year old law student, Sandra Fluke, as a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his show. This came after Fluke had appeared before Washington lawmakers to explain why her university ought to offer free contraception under its student health insurance plan. Limbaugh’s hot air comment has seen revenue drop of $5.6m (£3.6m) in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the previous year on stations that his show is syndicated. The controversy has put to question whether shock-jocks are a slowly dying breed.

 

Contemporary radio has come to rely on secondary sources for content but that does not warrant lackluster on its part. Just as in print, radio practitioners should go direct and make sure that announcements are sound and true. Given that the majority of people listen to radio more than they consume other forms of media, the airwaves should frontline the cause for truthful probing.

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94.7 Highveld Stereo and Kfm face the BCCSA

Posted by radio On March - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

[By: Radiobiz reporter]

 

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) recently ruled on two complaints lodged against 94.7 Highveld Stereo and KFM.

94.7 Highveld Stereo:

The first complaint in opposition to Highveld Stereo had to do with sexualisation in the media and the protection of children from this. The complainants named Hill and Roux found fault with sexually suggestive sounds broadcast as part of a prank call shortly after 7am on Highveld. This formed part of a practical joke which was played on the partner of a woman who had initiated the hoax with the anchor. The complainants felt the material may be harmful to children.

“My seven year old son enjoys the Highveld Stereo music so we switched on to it. At approximately 7:12am, a prank playing DJ played material of an extremely dubious nature for public broadcast, especially given the station’s popularity with school going children. The audio footage was of a woman moaning in a sexually suggestive way. I quickly switched stations out of concern for my young son,” said Hill.

Roux added, “I was driving with my 14 year old son.  For this joke, the woman in question recorded a fake orgasm which the presenter used. I felt embarrassed and immediately changed frequency.  I found it totally inappropriate, if the presenter had saved the broadcast for after 8am, it would have been better. In my opinion and observation, most of the current problems are due to moral decay. Radio stations have a moral and public duty to refrain from this decay.”

BCCSA chairperson, Professor JCW Van Rooyen, referred the matter to a tribunal for a hearing and a decision.

In their evaluation they found that the defence of the respondent (Ms Pheladi Gwangwa, Station manager at Radio 702) was that the correct warning of 15PG was given numerous times before the prank was broadcast. This indicates that parental guidance was advised. But the tribunal pointed out to the respondent that age restrictions and advisories are only intended for television.

They went on to note the anxiety and concern of the parents understandable, and emphasized that greater care should be taken by broadcasters with regards to subjects such as sexuality, bad language, profanities and the like at a time of day when large numbers of children are likely to be in the audience.

The judgment is as follows: “ We have come to the conclusion that although, this is not the kind of material which should be broadcast at that time of the morning, the repeated warnings and the absence of sexually explicit language, saved the broadcast. We do not believe that a substantial number of children under the age of 12 would have understood what the sounds implied. The embarrassment experienced is of course, on the part of the parents, understandable in the circumstances. The complaint is not upheld.”

 

KFM:

The second complaint was directed at KFM about an unbalanced news item which the complainant, Peter Allderman, felt was one sided.  The Eye Witness News (EWN) report which was broadcast on December 12 around 7:30am related to the Western Cape Provincial Education Department’s plan to close down approximately 20 schools. 

Mr Allderman’s complaint was that the report’s contents which stated that “the teachers would possibly lose their jobs”, were simply not true. He said every teacher would be offered alternative employment and it is up to them. He went on to say that the report was deceptive and it was wrong not to permit the Education Department to comment.

KFM and EWN responded to the allegations by saying they had not breached the provisions of the BCCSA Code of Conduct and that their reporting was truthful, accurate and fair. What was complained on was simply one instalment on a story that had been covered on over a long period of time, which had featured both sides of the story.

“The story broke out in or about mid year in 2012. EWN covered it from beginning and broadcast several reports on it, prior to the one complained about. Although the Education department’s response may not have been broadcast on this particular occasion, it had been given a right of reply throughout KFM and EWN reporting on this story when it broke out,” they said.

In their evaluation, Professor JCW Van Rooyen and his Tribunal stated that, “As long as balance is gained within a reasonable period, the Code is not transgressed. The respondent argued that the matter was balanced in news reports that covered the story as it developed. Ultimately balance was achieved and it was made clear that the teachers’ grievances were eventually addressed and their jobs protected. We considered the relevant broadcasts, which were made available to us, and we were satisfied that balance was indeed achieved.”

The complaint was not upheld based on the fact that balance was achieved in prior and later newscasts which dealt with the subject as it developed. 

  

  

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CASE NUMBER: 46/2012

DATE OF HEARING: 11 OCTOBER 2012

JUDGMENT RELEASE DATE: 08 NOVEMBER 2012

Van Den Heever COMPLAINANT

vs

MULTICHOICE RESPONDENT

TRIBUNAL: PROF KOBUS VAN ROOYEN SC (CHAIRPERSON)

PROF V BRONSTEIN

MS G HARPER

ADV R SEWLAL

MR E LININGTON (CO-OPTED MEMBER)

The Complainant in person

Respondent: Mr Bruce Mkhize, Regulatory Compliance Manager, Regulatory Affairs.

________________________________________________________________________

Hate speech – religion – political party criticised – not hate speech based on religion

Van Den Heever vs Multichoice Channel 122, Case No: 46/2012(BCTSA)

________________________________________________________________________

SUMMARY

The comedy Channel of DSTV carried a cartoon in which Jesus is identified with allegations against the ANC. Hate speech not present since religion was not attacked.

Complaint not upheld.

____________________________________________________________________

To view full judgement, follow this link: http://www.bccsa.co.za/images/hearings/JUDGEMENTS2012/PDF/MNET/case%20no%20-%2046-2012.pdf

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JACARANDA 94.2FM UNDER FIRE FOR DEFAMATION

Posted by radio On November - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CASE NUMBER: 50/2012

DATE OF HEARING: 11 OCTOBER 2012

JUDGMENT RELEASE DATE: 07 NOVEMBER 2012

GREEFF COMPLAINANT

vs

JACARANDA 94.2 FM RESPONDENT

TRIBUNAL: PROF JCW VAN ROOYEN SC (CHAIRPERSON)

PROF V BRONSTEIN

MS G HARPER

ADV R SEWLAL

MR E LININGTON (CO-OPTED)

Complainant: The Complainant in person.

For the Respondent: Mr JD Crawford, Legal Representative accompanied by Mr

Neil Johnson: Jacaranda Programme Manager.

Defamation – remarks on radio unjustifiably creating a suspicion that a person has criminal tendencies – held to be defamatory. Greeff vs Jacaranda 94.2 FM, Case No: 50/2012(BCTSA).

SUMMARY

The Tribunal held that remarks which were made by a radio presenter implied that the complainant is a person not to be trusted in the light of his having killed a dog. The radio presenter’s remarks were based on a report in a newspaper. The report made it clear that the complainant’s defence would be that he had acted in defence of his dogs. The Tribunal held that the remarks amounted to defamation and upheld the complaint. A fine of R25000 was imposed on the respondent radio station in the light of the seriousness of the implications of what was broadcast.

________________________________________________________________________

To view the full judgement follow this link: http://www.bccsa.co.za/images/hearings/JUDGEMENTS2012/PDF/JACARANDAFM/case%20no%20-%2050-2012.pdf

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ADJUDICATION NO: 51/A /2012

NAME OF PROGRAMME: SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, 21h58 ON 2.10.2012

BROADCASTER: SABC 3

COMPLAINANT: TANYA BOSHOFF

ADJUDICATOR: BCCSA ADJUDICATOR

COMPLAINT

Complaint that promo showed the method how to smoke Tik at a time when children could still have formed part of the audience.

APPLICABLE RULE

Clause 6(1) of Free-to-Air Broadcasting Code of Conduct:

Broadcasting service licensees must not broadcast material which is harmful or disturbing to children at times when a large number of children are likely to be part of the audience.

ADJUDICATION

[1] The complaint refers to a promo for a Special Assignment episode that was broadcast on 2 October 2012 at 21h58. The complainant contends that an explicit scene shows exactly how to smoke Tik. The complaint reads as follows.“Promo showing how a woman abuses the drug Tik. Visually shows the woman (supposedly a mother) putting the drug, Tik, into the pipe, lighting it, and smokingit. No warning was given of the nature of this promo prior to the promo being shown. People are not able to decide whether they want to see how this drug is abused by watching the “Special Assignment” show. People already see the sensitive content of the show promoted without any warning. Most teenagers are still awake after watching the TV show “The Good Wife” and would have caught the promo straight after the show. Previous addicts could also be watching TV and would not want to be reminded of this. This promo is so graphic that someone who does not know how this drug is abused suddenly is taught how to abuse it. Not everybody wants to see the show, but now everybody is subject to the sensitive content of the show unexpectedly. Surely this content can be kept for when the show is aired after warning of its content. I assume the reason for the show is: 1. awareness to try and combat the Tik addiction in the Cape flats; and 2. awareness of an increase in Tik babies due to addicted mothers, but airing such content in an promo defeats the object. This promo is harmful to the general public and in my opinion must be amended to not show such harmful content.”

The broadcaster responded as follows: “The promo for Special Assignment was broadcast well into the watershed period at 22:00. The promo displayed the episode’s advisory of PG13. We submit that there has been no contravention of the BCCSA Code.” I watched the promo and understand the complainant’s concern about the scene showing the direct use of Tik. However, it must be borne in mind that Special Assignment is a current affairs investigative documentary series, with the aim to uncover the truth about news events and the people involved in them. The promo in question can be described as cautionary since it is quite clear that it relates to a film intended for adult audiences which will be broadcast after the start of the watershed. It is also clear that the destructive effects of drug abuse will be addressed in the programme and that people who use Tik need to carefully consider their behaviour and the consequences of their actions. Typical of the genre of television advertising, the scene is also very fleeting of nature. The Code of Conduct specifies that promotional material which contains explicit scenes intended for adult audiences must not be broadcast before the watershed period. In this case the promo was broadcast after the watershed and the programme’s advisory of PG13 was displayed.

The issue of drug abuse is of great importance and concern to our nation, and part of the educative and informative task of the SABC is to reflect reality accurately and to raise awareness about destructive behaviour. However, as long as such behaviour is not presented as the norm, or approved of, it may serve an educational purpose. In the case of the scene under discussion, the promo makes it clear that the behaviour of the character is definitely not approved of and the use of drugs is not glamorised, condoned or encouraged. The complainant raises the concern that many teenagers could still have been in the audience after watching “The Good Wife”. It is possible, but in today’s world, it becomes more and more difficult to shield teenagers (and younger children) from the social ills of society and it serves no purpose to turn a blind eye on reality. One of the aims of current affairs programmes is to open the eyes of viewers to the dangers of life, a task which is not always sufficiently addressed by parents with regard to their children. The media provide a context for interpreting the world around us. This is one of the consequences of living in a media-saturated society and also the reason why content advisories are provided. In this case, if children under the age of 13 were exposed to the promo accidentally, hopefully they would not have understood the scene for what it was, which would reduce the possibility of imitation.

The legal test in determining whether material is permissible or not, is based on whether the reasonable viewer, who is broadminded, balanced and not overly sensitive, would allow the material to be available to other viewers even if he or she would not choose to be exposed to it. The contemporary South African level of tolerance is thus taken into account, as well as the contemporary mores of society. The test is not whether the BCCSA would regard material as appropriate or not, the question is whether the broadcaster has exceeded the limits of its freedom of expression. In this case the promo may seem risqué, but is not sufficiently over the edge to be in breach of the Broadcasting Code. In case children or teenagers were exposed to it, it might even have provided an opportunity for parents to discuss the consequences of drug abuse with them. The complainant mentions that “previous addicts could also be watching TV and would not want to be reminded of this”.

Cases where a complaint is lodged on behalf of other people are difficult to judge since it is unknown what these people’s reaction might have been or whether they are even aware of the broadcast. It would be presumptuous for the BCCSA to come to a decision without hearing their personal views. Broadcasters should nonetheless bear in mind that children and teenagers may form part of the audience at any time and exposure to promos are effectively impossible to control because there is no schedule available for when they are shown. Although the scene in question is fleeting, it was nevertheless quite clear. The broadcaster is urged to be extremely careful in the choice of clips that are used in promos and in the choice of timeslots for promos carrying disturbing material of any nature. In the result, no contravention of the Code could be found and the complaint is not upheld.

SOURCE: BCCSA

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