Chris Moerdyk

Why does the minority decide for the majority?

2012-05-14 07:25

Chris Moerdyk

Maybe I don't understand the concept of democracy but I swear blind it has something to do with the majority deciding on things that affect society at large.

So, I have to ask why it is that in so many cases in South Africa, the minority decides what is right or wrong for the majority of us.

I keep thinking about research that came out of the UK some time ago and which I am prepared to bet my life that the same situation also exists in South Africa given that we are both nanny states.

Essentially, the same number of people who complain about ads also complain about TV programmes.

Now, this is quite surprising because the perception one gets is that far more people complain about ads than programmes. The reason for this is possibly because, like the situation we have here in SA, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission actually makes it as difficult as possible for viewers to have a TV programme removed while the Advertising Standards Authority effectively makes it as easy as possible for consumers to get some sort of action.

But, the statistics that fascinate me the most are that 76% of the population have never ever thought seriously about complaining about a TV commercial and 78% about a programme.

While only four percent have actually complained about ads and five percent about programmes, 20% have thought about complaining about an ad and 17% about a programme, but never actually got round to doing anything about it.

Now, when it comes to programmes and ads the question one has to ask is why such a tiny minority seems to be getting its way?

Unfortunately, there are no stats to show how many of the four percent were complaining about misleading ads and how many were just bitching because they were personally offended in some way?

But, whatever the split, the number of people complaining on moral grounds about ads and programmes is tiny and while they didn't seem to get their way in terms of programmes, they do manage to get a lot of ads pulled or at least hauled off air for a while during investigation.

I know I tend to become somewhat obsessive about advertising and programme regulators but that's just because it utterly offends my sense of fair play. It annoys me that while government does not censor anything a tiny bunch of whackos can do just that on behalf of the majority.       

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