BCCSA: Boston bombing sounds acceptable

2013-05-31 14:22
A makeshift memorial for victims of the Boston bombings. (File, AP)

A makeshift memorial for victims of the Boston bombings. (File, AP)

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Cape Town - Radio broadcasts featuring sound clips of the Boston Marathon bombings were neither explicit nor graphic, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA said on Friday.

A listener had complained that the sounds of the United States bombings and the victims' traumatic experiences were inappropriate for children.

The clips were featured on East Coast Radio and Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) around 07:00 on 16 April this year.

The listener felt that the content was broadcast at a time when young children would be travelling in the car and that it would "generate deep thought and even fear".

The SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said the story broadcast on its station, RSG, was in the public interest because it was of an extreme nature and involved an international event in which South African athletes had taken part.

"There was no attempt or intention by SABC news to exaggerate, sensationalise, or dramatise what had actually happened. In fact, SABC news fulfilled its public and editorial mandate by providing a factually accurate and truthful story as soon as possible for its audience," it submitted to the tribunal.

‘Important to hear, understand incident’

East Coast Radio submitted that it had been the station's duty to deliver the best possible news and information product that it could for a story of that nature.

"As a medium that targets a 25-49 age group, we know that this was important for our core market to hear and understand the incident," it said.

It argued that it could not be assumed that children were immune to knowledge of such violence, considering the types of television programmes and computer games available.

The tribunal found that the combined effect of the blast and victims' screams, as well as comments made by witnesses in the immediate aftermath of the blast, resulted in individual details being lost.

"In effect, the general cacophony reduced the impact of the discrete elements of the sounds that were broadcast," tribunal chairman Kobus van Rooyen said.

"Nothing in the broadcast amounted to an exploitation by the broadcasters of the situation. In so far as children are concerned, a warning was also not necessary," he said.

The broadcasts did therefore not contravene the broadcasting code and the complaint was dismissed.
Read more on:    bccsa  |  media  |  boston explosions

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