Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BREAKING. kykNET fined R30 000 by Broadcasting Complaints Commission over deliberately using Tourette's Syndrome for comedy.

kykNET (DStv 144), M-Net's Afrikaans language supplied TV channel to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform has been fined R30 000 by the Broadcasting Compaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for using Tourette's Syndrome and incorporating it as "humour" in the improvisation comedy sketch show Proesstraat.

kykNET went ahead broadcasting the episode of Proesstraat on 10 March after the DStv TV channel was previously warned about a similar occurence where Tourette's Syndrome was used as a comedic device in an episode on 10 February 2014.

Actress Elize Cawood told two actors in Proesstraat to pretend as if they had Tourette's Syndrome to make the audience laugh.

kykNET told the BCCSA that the intention of Proesstraat is "to entertain the audience" and that it is "an opportunity to escape through laughter and to forget about daily depression and concerns" and that the scene did not contravene the Broadcasting Code.

"The mimicry amounted to a serious impairment of the dignity of persons who suffer from Tourette's Syndrome, and the comedic nature of the episode exacerbated the effect," the BCCSA found, calling it a "serious" impairment.

The depiction of Tourette's Syndrome was not in a TV drama which would have been different, but as comedy and to make people laugh at the Tourette's Syndrome sufferers.

"The portrayal concerned a minority that is in dire need of respect and sympathy, and which should not be made the laughing stock of of light impromptu theatre, which is broadcast to a wide television audience," the BCCSA ruled.

"A further aggravating factor is that the producer had been made aware of the sensitivities in this regard after an earlier episode where Tourette's Syndrome had been included."

kykNET has until 31 August to pay the fine of R30 000 for contravening the Broadcasting Code.