Radio report on rape unfair - BCCSA

2013-05-09 14:30
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Johannesburg - The SABC's Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) must acknowledge on air that a news item it broadcast contained insufficient detail, the BCCSA said on Thursday.

The item concerned related to sex crimes in South Africa, the Broadcast Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) said in a statement.

The BCCSA gave its judgment on the matter on Tuesday. It had received a complaint from a listener about the news item broadcast in February.

The news clip was lifted from a story by the French news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), and distributed by Sapa.

Story details

Translated into English, it reads: "According to official statistics, more or less 65 000 sexual crimes were committed in South Africa last year.

"According to police estimates, only one out of 36 cases of rape is reported. Recent research has shown that more than a quarter of South African men admit that they have raped a woman or a girl."

The listener complained that the story, which included information from a survey, did not adequately explain the methodology behind the survey or accurately report on its findings.

The study was conducted in three provinces and was based on the responses of men aged 18 to 49.

The complainant felt this information should have been included to avoid creating the perception that the study's findings encompassed all South African men.

The listener argued that the report breached the broadcasting code, as it was not fair, accurate, or properly contextualised.

RSG countered that it had no cause to question the report, as it considered Sapa, which issued the original AFP story, "a highly credible news agency".

"Overall, we submit that the complainant is making her own inferences through her interpretation of the item, and that there has been no transgression of the clause of the code in question."

The BCCSA found that the SABC was responsible for the final decision on whether news agency-supplied content would be aired.

Unfair rendition of the facts - BCCSA

When reporting on a survey, it was important to include background about how the study was conducted.

"As broadcast, the sentence gives a proportion that amounts to an irresponsible generalisation and amounts to an unfair rendition of the facts," the BCCSA said.

It ruled that RSG had to broadcast an explanation to the effect that the item was generalised and that details about the study should have been included.

This needed to be aired on two news bulletins, at the same time as the original broadcasts, before 22 May.
Read more on:    bccsa  |  sabc  |  media

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