Carte Blanche must apologise

2012-04-19 13:25

Investigative magazine show Carte Blanche will have to apologise on-air for a story after the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa found that they “mischaracterised” a device from Electro Smart “as a timer”, which is actually sold as an energy saving device.

According to the commission, “a clear statement must be broadcast to the Carte Blanche audience that what they had viewed did not give a balanced picture of the situation”.

The commission was asked to, but decided not to impose a fine for the insert which was shown on August 14 on M-Net.

Carte Blanche is a Combined Artists production.

“The respondent (Carte Blanche) must, without comment, and during the first five minutes of the first or the second programme after the issue of this order, broadcast the following statement,” said the commission in its findings of the case.

“The Broadcasting Complaints Commission has directed M-Net to broadcast the following statement during the programme:

“In its 2011 insert on the Electro Smart apparatus, which is sold as an electricity saver, Carte Blanche contravened the Broadcasting Code in the following aspects:

» Carte Blanche failed to obtain available evidence from an expert, which had been provided by Electro Smart’s distributors, which would have confirmed the company’s assertion that the apparatus does save electricity;

» Carte Blanche failed to inform viewers fully that a device almost identical to the Electro Smart apparatus had been approved in 1986 by the SABS (South African Bureau of Standards) as an electricity saver;

» And lastly, a statement was made in the insert that Electro Smart agreements after 2005 were null and void because they violated the National Credit Act, yet the distributor was not invited to comment on this statement.

“Had Carte Blanche done so, the distributor would have indicated that the National Credit Act, in his view, was not applicable to the contracts and that the contracts were, indeed, valid.”

Carte Blanche has indicated that the show will be appealing the decision from the commission and that no apology will be happening, awaiting the appeal of the commission judgment.

The show’s legal representation said: “Carte Blanche will be bringing an application for leave to appeal the judgment. In the meantime, the sanction has been suspended.”

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