Why does the minority decide for the majority?

2012-05-14 07:25

Chris Moerdyk

Maybe I don't understand the concept of democracy but I swear blind it has something to do with the majority deciding on things that affect society at large.

So, I have to ask why it is that in so many cases in South Africa, the minority decides what is right or wrong for the majority of us.

I keep thinking about research that came out of the UK some time ago and which I am prepared to bet my life that the same situation also exists in South Africa given that we are both nanny states.

Essentially, the same number of people who complain about ads also complain about TV programmes.

Now, this is quite surprising because the perception one gets is that far more people complain about ads than programmes. The reason for this is possibly because, like the situation we have here in SA, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission actually makes it as difficult as possible for viewers to have a TV programme removed while the Advertising Standards Authority effectively makes it as easy as possible for consumers to get some sort of action.

But, the statistics that fascinate me the most are that 76% of the population have never ever thought seriously about complaining about a TV commercial and 78% about a programme.

While only four percent have actually complained about ads and five percent about programmes, 20% have thought about complaining about an ad and 17% about a programme, but never actually got round to doing anything about it.

Now, when it comes to programmes and ads the question one has to ask is why such a tiny minority seems to be getting its way?

Unfortunately, there are no stats to show how many of the four percent were complaining about misleading ads and how many were just bitching because they were personally offended in some way?

But, whatever the split, the number of people complaining on moral grounds about ads and programmes is tiny and while they didn't seem to get their way in terms of programmes, they do manage to get a lot of ads pulled or at least hauled off air for a while during investigation.

I know I tend to become somewhat obsessive about advertising and programme regulators but that's just because it utterly offends my sense of fair play. It annoys me that while government does not censor anything a tiny bunch of whackos can do just that on behalf of the majority.       

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  • Shannon Butler - 2012-05-14 08:09

    I suppose the constitution is there to protect the rights of a minority from the views of a majority, problem is sometimes its taken too far and end up being bombarded with "politically correctness" where freedom of speech should supersede this on occasion.

  • wesley.bischoff - 2012-05-14 09:42

    Because they are bored and have nothing better to do than to not only waste their time, but the time of others, while getting perfectly ok things removed just because they find it offensive. Quite selfish actually.

  • Doug - 2012-05-14 10:18

    1. People who are rational and satisfied often dont want to "Rock the Boat". 2. They believe nothing is wrong, so why change it. 3. People who are upset make a louder noise than the ones who are happy. That having been said , we should try and start a culture of airing our thoughts when we are happy about something ... Just an idea ... I often feel that people who become violent and destructive either by action or speech do not represent the true feelings of the masses. I could be wrong ... but the positive voice needs to stand up and be counted again !! :)

  • Doug - 2012-05-14 10:19

    the world must be a scary place when you know little and assume alot ... just saying ....

  • straatslak - 2012-05-14 11:07

    Makes me think of this:

  • Morgoth - 2012-05-14 11:24

    Ah, the censorship mentality. There is an old story of when the first Oxford dictionary were compiled. A Group of old ladies approuched the head of the project to compile the first dictionary which spanned more than just one volume. They wished to express their gratitude for not having any indecent words in the dictionary. All that the great Lexicocrapher said in return, was "And I would like to thank you for letting us know you where looking for them. This simple story shows that those who wish to be offended, would look for tings to be offended about, even if they have too look throught the entire dictionary to find "dirty words"

  • frank.hubris - 2012-05-14 12:01

    If this article were subject to the same standards, one can and should complain that the title has nothing to do with the content of the article. I thought this would be a discussion of voting habits, instead it turns out its a moan over people moaning on whats on TV.

      Jason - 2012-05-14 17:48

      There is more to life than politics

  • gerry.pelser - 2012-05-14 12:34

    If one moans about TV - ads or programming - you seriously need to get a life. War, famine, rape, murder, and you choose to write in and moan about a TV ad? Nee regtig man mense. But a philosophical answer to the question if it was rhetorical and taken out of context: Why does the minority decide for the majority [in a democracy]? Because truth is not democratic. No matter if 99.9% of people vote for 1+1 to equal 3, it will never be true. This is the inherent danger of democracy.

  • Musa Mahlangu - 2012-05-14 13:33

    This is my complaint about the Constitutional democracy. The constitution and 12 so called learned Judges reign supreme over the will of the majority. However majority decisions unchecked by standards and minority rights protection also mean the lynch mob is coming for you even if you are right!

  • Paddy - 2012-05-14 14:52

    Apathy Rules. OK?

  • Farmworker - 2012-05-16 15:49

    I thought that you are talking about politics because I was wondering the same along the line of politics, why does the minority dictates and decide on what the majority could do

  • micheal.moolman - 2012-05-16 18:56

    South Africa;a nanny state, maybe. I have to agree with Mr Moerdyk though and if I understand correctly to what he's referring to, there have been some seriously funny adverts pulled of air as a result of what Chris is talking about. One hilarious Nandos advert comes to mind.

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