Cape Town – Moja Love (DStv 157) and its controversial show, No Excuses, Pay Papgeld, has now been fined R20 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa after being found guilty a second time of breaching the broadcasting code of conduct.
The fine comes a month after Moja Love and Pay Papgeld were found guilty of another transgression in another episode in which the BCCSA ruled that the channel and show damaged people's dignity and privacy and failed to protect the children involved.
In the latest transgression the camera crew barged into the wedding reception of a man who was getting married to his second wife in early-December 2018 in Ekurhuleni.
The man complained to the BCCSA about the alleged illegal and unauthorised recording at his wedding as presenter Moss Makwati – who has been replaced with Dr Malinga – gate-crashed his wedding reception near Germiston and confronted him with "unresearched and unfounded" allegations.
After recording the episode, Moja Love flighted a Pay Papgeld promo several times identifying the man, as well as friends and family members.
Moja Love told the BBCSA that "the channel and TV crew were not aware that the man's wedding celebration was ongoing. The intention was to go to his home to request for an interview and offer him a right of reply" and acknowledge that the "show's presenter entered the tent".
"On the show footage it's clear that once the man understands what is occurring, he guides our presenter out of the tent, speaks to him in a soft voice and attempts to downplay the issue."
"Yet as the situation seems to come to a resolution the new wife enters the conversation and actively turns it into a heated spectacle," said Moja Love.
'PURE SENSATIONAL TELEVISION MATERIAL'
In its judgement on 1 April, the BCCSA says "Further shots in the promo show that the confrontation turned violent with the wedding guests joining the complainant in an attempt to chase the TV crew, who accompanied the presenter, away from the premises".
"It then becomes a free for all with the crew fleeing while being assaulted by the guests – pure sensational television material and very undignified." The BCCSA found that "the private life and dignity of the complainant was indeed intruded upon".
"It is clear that the complainant’s private life and private concerns were severely intruded upon by the presenter and filming crew of the programme when they barged into the wedding reception of the complainant."
"The complainant could be recognised on the excerpts broadcast in the promo, however fleeting. It appears that the wedding event was completely ruined by the actions of the broadcasting team. This caused serious humiliation to the complainant," Prof Henning Viljoen, BCCSA chairperson, ruled.
"This is the second complaint of this nature lodged with the BCCSA the last few months where a programme or a promo of such a programme is broadcast as entertainment while the dispute between the parents has been or is being resolved by the Maintenance Court."
"It is contentious whether this form of entertainment protects the rights of children better than referring the dispute to the Maintenance Court," the BCCSA said.
"Be that as it may, our conclusion is that the complainant is not a public figure, and although the public may have an interest in the private lives of men who allegedly do not pay maintenance or sufficient maintenance for their children, in this instance there is no proof of the public having a legitimate public interest in the private affairs of the complainant."
"Our finding is that the broadcaster did not exercise exceptional care when it broadcasted this promo in which the complainant could be clearly identified. The result is that the right of the complainant to privacy and dignity was violated with this promo."
In the ruling, the BCCSA says "We do not accept the argument by the broadcaster that it granted a right to reply to the complainant during the confrontation at the wedding reception, and that it thus complied with the provision in the code."
"Express and informed consent to an interview was required, but the complainant could not give this in the embarrassing situation he found himself. There was an outright violation of his right to privacy and dignity."
"The broadcaster contravened the code by not exercising exceptional care when dealing with the right to privacy and dignity of the complainant," said the BCCSA. A fine of R20 000 was imposed which must be paid to the BCCSA by 15 April 2019.