BCCSA dismisses complaints about SABC interview with mom of convicted child rapist Nicholas Ninow

2019-11-06 22:06

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has found that the SABC did not violate its code when it aired an interview with convicted child rapist Nicholas Ninow's mother.

This after the commission said it had received at least 550 complaints against the channel for airing an interview with his mother, Chantelle, on October 27. 

BCCSA commissioner Nokubonga Fakude said the complainants were of the view the interview was sympathetic to Ninow and his family, and that it was traumatising and insulting to the seven-year-old victim and her family.

The complainants also said the interview, which was conducted by SABC reporter Chriselda Lewis, amounted to the "glamourisation of violence and the advocacy of hatred based on race and gender".

They also were of the view that the broadcast amounted to "white privilege" and that crimes committed by white people were "humanised".

Fakude, however, found that the airing of the interview did not amount to the advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity or gender.

She said it was not intended to take any sides but contributed to a matter of public importance which was the protection of children and women. 

In the interview, Chantelle apologised to her son's victim and her parents as well as her own children.

Role of media could not end after sentencing

"I am sorry for that little girl's parents and for that little girl. If it was my child I would be so angry and I know sorry doesn't cut it, but there is nothing else that I can say," she said.

Fakude said the interview sought to come up with new practical solutions to gender-based violence, adding that it also contributed to Chantelle's right to freedom of expression.

She also outlined that in a case of this sort, it was crucial to get to understand the perpetrator, Ninow, not for purposes of sympathising with him, but for unveiling the pandemic, which had led to the abuse and killing of society's most vulnerable groups.

"The North Gauteng High Court handed down a sentence that not only aims to punish Nicholas, but also to deter similar crimes. The role of the media could not possibly end after Nicholas was sentenced, especially with a case that has shocked the entire nation.

"It was imperative to understand the mind of the perpetrator in order to establish the cause of such hideous crimes, which continue to happen and which the courts alone, through punitive justice, cannot completely eradicate," Fakude stated in the ruling.

Ninow not less of a criminal because he is white

The commissioner said the interview was therefore not an attempt to nullify the severity of the crime committed by Ninow, but was for purposes of navigating other solutions, in addition to the criminal justice system, that would contribute to putting an end to violence against women and children.

Fakude stated the fact that Ninow was a "white rapist" and his mother had chosen to be interviewed by the broadcaster did not make him any less of a criminal than those who were from other races.

"It is improbable that the broadcaster interviewed Nicholas' mother because Nicholas is a white man, it is, however, more probable that she was interviewed because she was, first, willing to be interviewed and also because the rape case had been under public scrutiny from when it was first reported/revealed to the public, until when Nicholas was convicted."

Fakude found that the interview had not violated clauses 10(2) and (3) of the broadcasting code.   

The SABC welcomed the BCCSA's ruling, saying it viewed it as "an affirmation of SABC News' commitment to upholding its editorial policy and the BCCSA code of conduct in delivering news and current affairs independently and impartially".

Watch the interview below: 

Read more on:    sabc  |  nicholas ninow  |  johannesburg ­  |  crime  |  child abuse  |  courts
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