Station fined over beastiality skit

2010-11-05 20:59
Cape Town - The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa has fined radio station 567 Cape Talk R10 000 over a comedy slot in which a presenter described a man having sex with a goat.

The ruling, released on Friday, comes ten days after the commission rapped another radio station over the knuckles for a comedy insert making fun of the Hindu religion.

The commission said the Cape Talk piece was aired on the morning of June 4 this year, in a weekly segment called "The Week that Wasn’t".

In it, the commission said, comedian Nick Rabinowitz "was heard explicitly attempting to describe a scene from a Kenny v Spenny TV show broadcast on DStv of a man on all fours having a sexual act with a goat".

The commission said the broadcast fell foul of the broadcasting code's clause 28, which forbade the broadcast of material that contained scenes of "explicit violent sexual conduct" or of "bestiality".

The commission said it had decided some time ago, in other rulings, that "scenes" was "not limited to visual scenes".

Cape Talk, denying it had breached the code, had argued that the code required broadcast material to be judged within context.

'Unknown audience'

The station had said the programme had been a satirical review aimed at its audience of sophisticated adults who understood satire for what it was.

However the commission said there was a great difference between an audience which willingly went out to buy a ticket to attend a comedy show and an "unknown audience" which listened to a radio broadcast.

"The airwaves belong to the public (res publicae) and freedoms which might, in a pub show or exclusive public performance, be acceptable as part of comedy, simply do not fit on the airwaves," it said.

The fact that bestiality was illegal had not been a factor in coming to its decision.

"However, when dealing with bestiality it should be borne in mind that one is within 'forbidden waters' and that the word 'explicit' is not even added as a requirement in clause 28 in so far as bestiality is concerned.

"Of course context is important, but the fact remains that the details broadcast amount to a description of bestiality, which falls within the definition.

"We have come to the conclusion that it is necessary for the (commission) to show its serious discontent with the broadcast and thus a fine of R10 000 is imposed."

The fact that the programme was a "skit" had saved it from a higher fine.

Acts of humiliation

Kenny vs Spenny is a Canadian comedy "reality" television series about two men who face each other in various competitions.

The loser of the episode must perform an act of humiliation, usually selected by the winner.

In previous shows, Spenny has inserted his condom-covered tongue into a cat's rectum; the two have collected semen from used condoms in alleyways, had farting competitions, vied to keep their faeces in their pants the longest, and tried to have sex with each other's mother.

The American Kinsey reports, published in the mid-20th century, rated the percentage of people who had sexual interaction with animals at some point in their lives as 8% for men and 3.6% for women, and claimed it was as high as 50% for people living near farms.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission last month reprimanded East Coast Radio for a programme in which comedian John Vlismas said it was no use killing Hindus because they "keep coming back".

The commission said this constituted hate speech.

The station had already apologised to its listeners.

- SAPA
Read more on:    bccsa  |  media  |  hate speech
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