BCCSA rules against SABC, MultiChoice

Regulation & Policy

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has ruled against the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and pay-TV provider MultiChoice in separate complaints, with the former being reprimanded and the latter receiving a fine.

The BCCSA received a complaint against MultiChoice for broadcasting a promotion of what the company described as a “teen fantasy drama” on its Disney XD channel during its morning programming in December last year.

The complaint said “the promo contained scenes of growing human teeth and fingernails, suggesting an episode of a horror movie and requiring an age restriction of 13”.

MultiChoice responded by saying the promo “contains only two fleeting scenes with actors changing into what looks like human with wolf’s features” and “the images do not last long”.

It said Wolfblood, the programme for which the promo was aired, was a children’s show targeting individuals 10 years and older.

However, the BCCSA issued the broadcaster with a ZAR5,000 fine (US$472), saying the “absence of adequate warning violated rights of parents and caregivers to be informed about the nature of material to which their children are exposed on television”.

The BCCSA has also issued a ruling against the SABC after a complaint was issued by bracelet manufacturers Rhino Force for unfair programming on the public broadcaster’s SABC2 nature programme 50/50.

The complaint focuses on the way an interview dealing with the sale of bracelets to raise funds to save rhinos from poaching was handled on the show

“The complainant was that the interview was not balanced, and that, in spite of the SABC’s production team being provided with facts that demonstrated the complainant’s honesty, the programme nevertheless projected an image of dishonesty,” the BCCSA said.

The SABC responded by saying: “We submit that there has been no contravention of the BCCSA Code and that this complaint be dismissed as vexatious.”

The BCCSA ruled errors of fact, along with the omission of relevant material, amounted to contravention of the BCCSA code.