Citizen complaint against 702 not upheld

2012-09-28 12:28


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Johannesburg - The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has ruled in favour of Talk Radio 702 following a complaint against it by The Citizen newspaper, the commission said on Friday.

The complaint centred on 702 radio host John Robbie stating on 27 July during his show that The Citizen's headline about MasterChef SA's winner not receiving his own restaurant was misleading.

The Citizen complained that the newspaper was not given an opportunity to reply on air and defend the story, nor were the contents of the article referenced.

The ruling stated while The Citizen was entitled to a right of reply, since Robbie's comments were of a serious nature, an offer made to the newspaper after 27 July to reply should have been accepted as it would have addressed their complaint.

"The tribunal stated that not all offers of a right to reply would have this effect, however, in the circumstances, it would have been reasonable for The Citizen to have accepted the swift offer," the commission said in a statement.

"The complainant should have accepted this offer... Such an opportunity was provided as soon as the radio station became aware of the complaint."

Not accepting the offer had created a gap of evidence, the commission said.

The ruling cautioned Talk Radio 702 to exercise diligence in attempting to reach a person subjected to serious criticism during the same programme.

"Of course, as frequently occurs, the presenter should also, in serious cases, add the comment that a full picture can only be achieved where the person criticised is also heard.

"This approach will promote the search for truth, which listeners are constitutionally entitled to hear."

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