Stations fined over Leigh Matthews story

2012-07-13 19:07

Johannesburg - Talk Radio 702 and 94.7 Highveld Stereo have each been fined R25 000 for defamation, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) said on Friday.

The fine followed a complaint by Silvanus Naicker about a story aired in May on the kidnapping and murder of Johannesburg student Leigh Matthews.

The BCCSA said the stations were found guilty of implicating Naicker in the murder "on meagre facts available".

"We do not think that the broadcasters acted with the intention of defaming the complainant," the commission said.

"But in South African law, negligence is sufficient for a finding of defamation by the media. In the result, we hold that the Broadcasting Code has been contravened."

The complaint was brought against Primedia, which owns both radio stations.

The BCCSA said the facts available to the radio stations did not justify their implicating Naicker.

"We have no doubt that the radio stations were negligent in broadcasting the material."

Scanty evidence

BCCSA said a reasonable broadcaster would not publish such an item with such scanty evidence at its disposal.

Naicker was implicated in the Matthews murder after a source said he was a friend of convicted murderer Donovan Moodley and that they had played volleyball together.

Naicker confirmed that he had played volleyball with Moodley, but said he had nothing to do with the murder.

In their defence, the radio stations said Piet Byleveld, a renowned detective, had told the radio stations that a Silvanus Naicker had been on his list as a possible accomplice at the time.

"But [Byleveld] had not had him prosecuted, since he did not regard phone records as a sufficient source to involve a person in a murder trial," they said.

The radio stations further argued that a member of their team had left a message on Naicker's phone, but that he had not phoned back.

In 2005, Moodley was convicted of kidnapping and murdering 21-year-old Matthews.

In February this year, Moodley went to court claiming there was a conspiracy against him.

He accused State advocate Zaais Van Zyl and Byleveld of creating and manipulating evidence against him.

  • Squeegee - 2012-07-13 19:37

    We still want to know who helped dump her body. There are still accomplices out there.

      Cassandra Eileen Olivier - 2012-07-13 23:04

      We all want to know that

  • Cassandra Eileen Olivier - 2012-07-13 20:04

    Talk 702 got what they deserved, especially after they had that dum ass comedian on making fun of Holy Communion.

      eddy.deepfield - 2012-07-13 20:16

      Holy communion makes fun of itself. Christ died two thousand years ago one amongst thousands that crucified. Get over it. In any case he is still alive and only died for two days.

      Cassandra Eileen Olivier - 2012-07-13 23:09

      eddy do you even know what Holy Communion is? Its the celebration of the last super if you read your bible you will see it says this is body and this is my blood...he is talk about the bread and wine

  • neel.dhanesar - 2012-07-13 20:29

    702 got what you deserved.. Avid listener, but sometimes your presenters/reporters/journalists are like kids who spotted the ice cream truck.

  • brainbowgold - 2012-07-13 20:46

    702 generally does excellent work. They should take it on the chin and apologise on air, or dig deeper and nail Naicker.

      Cassandra Eileen Olivier - 2012-07-13 23:13

      Did you read Piet Blyfevelds book in there he says that there is more to Leigh Matthews case...that its not completely closed

  • theunis.botha.96 - 2012-07-14 04:24

    They most certainly know who the accomplices is,but do not have enough against him/them to wrap it up without reasonable doubd,not yet.It is a waiting game where the perpetraitors will not sleep sound and look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives,fearing that particular approach or knock on the door.702 & HS invited trouble for themselves.

  • reuben.harper.9 - 2012-07-14 18:40

    I stopped listening to South African radio stations long ago. Too much talking, not enough music.

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