Highveld Stereo gets a slap on the wrist for ‘coolie’ insert

2010-11-18 14:11

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission reprimanded 94.7 Highveld Stereo for broadcasting a comedy insert that repeatedly used the word “coolie”.

“Stand-up comedians are known to test the waters and this is a risk that audiences take. In the case of a broadcast, however, one deals with the airwaves, which are public property, and where a listener has no warning of the impending calumnious language, whatever the context,” the BCCSA said in its judgment.

Radio jock Alex Jay played the insert by comedian Riyad Moosa at 10.15am on August 16.

The BCCSA received a complaint from S Naidoo, who said that the use of the word belittled Indian people.

He argued that such incidents caused “considerable (and sometimes irreparable) damage to reconciliation and acceptance”.

The ‘K’ word
Naidoo asked if Jay would have played the insert if it had used the word “kaffir”.

“I doubt it, since the word is always alluded to as ‘the K word’ by black and white alike on 94.7 especially.

“I feel that the inherent conservative, docile nature of Indians makes them ripe for the picking for the likes of Mr Jay & Co,” said Naidoo.

“I can only imagine people, particularly Indians, sitting in open-plan offices (such as my wife) and having to listen to this publicly offensive material with work colleagues sniggering and laughing around the corner or in the next cubicle.”

The BCCSA agreed with him, saying even though the intent was not to be hurtful, the broadcast still infringed people’s dignity.

In the insert, Moosa starts off by referring to people from Pakistan as “Pakis” and then compared that to the use of “coolie” and said that, although the word was no longer used in South Africa, where he comes from, people might still be referring to him as a “coolie” when he leaves their company.

He said, in fact, the audience might, afterwards, be referring to him as a funny “coolie” comedian – drawing loud laughter from the audience.

Moosa also quotes a fictional character with a typical sophisticated English accent, saying: “These bloody coolies. They have so many wives ... completely unacceptable by Western standards, as I was saying to my mistress!”

The BCCSA said: “There is also no doubt that Riyad Moosa is a very successful comedian and is prepared to laugh at himself. The context also indicates that the jokes were intended to draw laughter and not to denigrate.

“The present satire, although quite splendid, cannot trump these core values of dignity and respect, even within the context of satire. There will probably be exceptions, even in broadcasts, but the facts before us do not justify such an exception.”

The broadcaster was reprimanded, but not fined.

“If this kind of broadcast takes place again and a contravention is found to have taken place, the present finding against the broadcaster will be taken into consideration when it gets to sanction.

“A reprimand would, however, suffice in the present matter,” said the BCCSA.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.