BCCSA cannot make order on Inge Lotz pics

2014-11-20 18:18
(BCCSA website)

(BCCSA website)

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Cape Town - Complaints about the broadcast of a blurred image of murdered Stellenbosch student Inge Lotz in 2008 cannot be taken further, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) ruled on Thursday.

Professor Jan Lotz, her father, first complained to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) after the initial broadcast on Carte Blanche, on M-Net, on 14 September 2008.

Lotz's body was found in the lounge of her Stellenbosch flat in March 2005. She had serious head injuries, inflicted with a blunt object, and stab wounds to her chest. Her boyfriend Fred van der Vyfer was found not guilty of her murder.

The broadcast in 2008 included an overview of the murder, which still remains unsolved.

Lotz was caught by surprise at the blurred image of his daughter's body and complained to the SAHRC, which ultimately failed to get the parties to reconcile.

Lotz complained to the BCCSA in 2010. The SAHRC submitted a complaint on his behalf that year to secure redress.

In both cases, the BCCSA registrar did not entertain the complaints because more than 18 months had elapsed since the broadcast, instead of the maximum of 30 days.

"No acceptable reason was given for the late filing, apart from the fact that the matter had not been resolved by the HRC," the BCCSA said.

"No order on the merits was made by the BCCSA at the time, and neither is the BCCSA permitted in law to do so now."

No appeal was launched against the registrar's decision.

M-Net told to apologise

The commission stated that neither Lotz nor the SAHRC had approached a court for a binding decision on defamation, infringements to dignity, and privacy.

"If such a broadcast is repeated and a complaint is lodged in time, the BCCSA will, of course, have jurisdiction to decide the matter either in favour of the broadcaster or the complainant."

In a final report this month, the SAHRC ruled that M-Net was in breach of the subscription broadcasting code and one of its recommendations was that the broadcaster apologise to the Lotz family.

The BCCSA noted that only it had the power to make binding orders on its broadcasters and had chosen not to because the time had lapsed.

The SAHRC recommended that the BCCSA consider providing best practice guidelines, particularly with regard to the dead.

The BCCSA said its role was not to issue such guidelines and that the SAHRC and other parties were welcome to make submissions the next time there was an inquiry into broadcasting code amendments.

Read more on:    bccsa  |  sahrc  |  inge lotz  |  cape town  |  media

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