MultiChoice fined R10 000 for Hannibal ad

2013-08-05 17:02

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MultiChoice has been fined R10 000 for an advert for the television series "Hannibal", the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) has said.

It said it received three complaints about the advert aired during the cooking show Masterchef Australia on M-Net on April 24. Hannibal is loosely based on a horror novel by Thomas Harris, titled "Red Dragon" which details the early relationship between cannibal psychiatrist Dr Hannibal Lecter and his patient Will Graham.

One of the complaints said the advert showed "very violent and grotesque images that is certainly not for children and should not be aired during family viewing time".

Another said: "It was absolutely disgusting for an adult – but totally inappropriate for family viewing."

The third said the images in the advert "would imprint on anyone's mind instantly, and are the stuff of nightmares".

Multichoice agreed and said the advert was not suitable for younger viewers.

"Ordinarily such a promo would not have been approved by the channel for broadcast during family viewing time," it said.

"However in this particular case, the promo was actually a commercial advertisement and had been paid for by a foreign channel purchasing airtime on a local channel."

It said the channel advertising the promo was therefore not required to send it to M-Net for pre-approval.

"The channel ceased broadcasting the promo before [the] watershed period immediately after receiving this complaint. In addition we have implemented measures to ensure that our screening and pre-approval processes are strengthened to avoid a repeat of similar."

The BCCSA found the advertisement was in contravention of the subscription code, in that it broadcast material unsuitable for children before the watershed period.

"We are, accordingly, of the view that, despite extenuating circumstances and immediate rectification, it would be appropriate to demonstrate the importance of the said protection [of children] by imposing a fine," the BCCSA said.

"The maximum fine is R60 000. We believe that a fine of R10 000 would be appropriate in the present instance."

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