BCCSA dismisses 3 cases

2013-07-08 19:44
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Johannesburg - The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) has dismissed three complaints lodged against radio stations this year, the commission said on Monday.

In the first case, Gaye Derby-Lewis complained about an interview on 10 April between Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Talk Radio 702 presenter John Robbie.

She is the wife of Clive Derby-Lewis, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the killing of SA Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Chris Hani in 1993.

Derby-Lewis alleged that the interview spread a lie by propagating, as a truth, that there was a "conspiracy" surrounding Hani's assassination.

She said Robbie and Sexwale were in contempt of a high court finding that there was no evidence of a "further" conspiracy in Hani's murder.

The BCCSA said irrespective of what the court ruled in the relevant prosecutions, there was clearly a view among some South Africans that a conspiracy did indeed exist, although evidence of such had never been put forward.

It said the mere expression of an opinion in conflict with a court finding did not amount to contempt of court.

The complaint was not upheld.

Undermining the public’s right

In the second case, a complaint was lodged about a programme aired on the SABC's SAfm on 14 and 15 March, and on 5 April.

The programme included interviews with Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa, and Sudanese ambassador to South Africa Ali Yousif Ahmed Alsharif.

The complainant, Hassen Lorgat, said the public was not given time to interact with them, and said this undermined the public's right to interrogate their assertions.

Lorgat said this "gave the personalities opportunities to propagate a view, which in some cases was blatant lies and distortions".

The SABC argued that the BCCSA did not have jurisdiction on its programme format.

BCCSA chair Kobus van Rooyen ruled that the complaint not be upheld.

'Extremely insensitive'

In the third case, a complaint was lodged against Jacaranda FM regarding a joke concerning "a midget being bathed in a wash basin".

The joke was made by Rian van Heerden in a morning show on 2 May.

The complainants, who did not attend proceedings, and were identified as Odendaal and De Jongh, described the joke as "extremely insensitive".

In reply, the radio station said Van Heerden had over the years referred to midgets and used them to create content for his shows.

"He has done so in full enthusiastic participation of the people in question," it argued.

The commission said the use of the term midget would not seem to be appropriate within a community, which strived to move away from discrimination.

It said making fun of people who fell within this category had the effect of isolating them from the broader community.

However, since the complainants did not indicate that they fell within this category, the complaint was not upheld.

Read more on:    bccsa  |  tokyo sexwale  |  chris hani  |  john robbie  |  johannesburg  |  media

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