‘Pretoria Afrikaans people bullying black people’ not racist

2012-10-31 14:38

Gauteng-based radio station, Kaya FM, was within the bounds of freedom of expression when its breakfast host Bob Mabena read out an SMS from a listener complaining about “Afrikaans people in Pretoria, bullying black people”.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) ruled that Mabena was within the freedom of expression limits, which include freedom of opinion, by airing the listener’s comment.

Mabena also immediately balanced it, according to the BCCSA’s judgment on the matter last week.

A listener, Hendrik Buhrmann, claimed Mabena made a “racist and discriminatory remark” on his show on September 20.

The BCCSA found that Mabena did not contravene its code of conduct.

Interestingly, Mabena’s co-host is Kuli Roberts, a former newspaper columnist who was fired for writing a racist column for a Sunday tabloid.

Roberts interjected immediately after the SMS was read and offered a counter-balancing comment, according to the BCCSA.

“The listener’s comment, though racist, did not generalise to include all whites, nor did it include all Afrikaners. Nor did it fall within the definition of hate speech,” the BCCSA found.

Buhrmann’s complaint was dismissed and he failed to attend the hearing on October 11.

Kaya FM station manager Lyndon Johnsone, who testified for the broadcaster, said Buhrmann went straight to the BCCSA when many listeners’ complaints were dealt with internally.

Buhrmann could not be reached for comment.

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