'Apartheid was much more than bullying episode' - BCCSA on Tumi Morake comments

2017-11-22 19:18
Tumi Morake. (Twitter)

Tumi Morake. (Twitter)

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Johannesburg – Breakfast show host Tumi Morake's comments about her feelings on apartheid did not incite harm, a Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) tribunal has ruled. 

Morake sparked controversy on September 12 when she compared apartheid to a bully, who forcefully took a child's bicycle and then made the child share it.

READ: Koeksisters and langarm for Tumi Morake during racial storm

A Pretoria business then threatened to pull advertising from the radio station, while trade union Solidarity laid a formal complaint with the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), HuffPost SA reported at the time.

However, on Tuesday the BCCSA tribunal ruled in Morake's favour.

It said the complainant provided a lot of context that was not mentioned in the radio clip.

"No action is mentioned, nor is anyone encouraged to take action or to start with retribution," it said.

Clause had not been infringed

It felt her characterisation was not misplaced: "Apartheid was much more than a bullying episode. It constituted, in the eyes of the world, as is evidenced by resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, a crime against humanity".

The complainant stated that the comments were hurtful, but the commission said the word "hurtful" was not a criterion in the applicable clause. It followed that the clause had not been infringed.

The commission added: "This discussion was about some expat living in Amsterdam, who advocates the boycotting of Steve Hofmeyr’s tour. While this could be of interest to the public, it is hardly a matter of public interest in law".

Controversial bully metaphor

The BCCSA said the direction that the discussion took subsequent to its introduction could have been problematic if the presenters did not contain it in the manner that they did. 

"Tumi’s co-presenter Martin [Bester] upped the ante by saying that we are not all the same.

"When Tumi refrained from commenting, he prompted her to respond, which response ended with the controversial bully metaphor.

"Martin then concluded that the real problem is not defending a point of view but the way it was done.

"This conclusion is then neatly tied to the original topic, namely the manner in which Steve Hofmeyr defends Afrikaans and Afrikaners".

READ: Jacaranda FM: Tumi Morake has our full support

The commission found that the complainant in the matter targeted Morake's comments but that the discussion was "engineered and shaped" [to a certain extent ] by her co-presenter.

Both presenters were "skating on thin ice", it said.

"Breakfast shows should be mindful of the possible consequences when introducing sensitive matters".

Read more on:    bccsa  |  tumi morake

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