Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Broadcasting Complaints Commission finds SABC2's Leihlo La Sechaba contravened broadcasting code; must broadcast a correction.

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The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has found that SABC2's Leihlo La Sechaba has breached the broadcasting code, with the Sotho investigative magazine show meaning "Eye of the Nation" which has to broadcast a correction before the end of May.

Following complaints about a Leihlo La Sechaba insert broadcast on SABC2 on 11 September 2014 which the BCCSA upheld, the show has to broadcast a correction before 31 May during the introduction of an episode, in Sotho, with English subtitles.

The complaints were about an insert on the widow of a farm worker who told the show she was instructed to leave the farm with her children. Leihlo La Sechaba failed to include a reply by the complainants.

The SABC told the BCCSA that the reporter involved had attempted to reach the complainants for their input, however this was not mentioned in the episode during broadcast.

Leihlo La Sechaba in the episode looked at the rights of farm workers in South Africa and the alleged neglect of farmers to abide by the law in protecting the rights of workers - in this case the threat to a widow that she should leave the farm now that her husband has passed away.

The BCCSA found that only the view of the widow and supporting views were broadcast.

The SABC told the BCCSA that "although we accept that during the airing of the show no mention was made that the respondent had declined our initial offer of a right of reply, attempts were indeed made to get this".

"The core of the SABC's case is that it attempted to obtain a reply in regard to the accusation of the widow concerning the eviction from the farm by the first two complainants. This is denied by the complainants," said the BCCSA.

"There is a dispute as to whether such an attempt was made during the production phase of the programme. However, even if such an attempt had been made, the programme itself contained no reference to any such attempt - as in fact conceded by the SABC," the BCCSA found.

"The accusation by the widow led to a duty by the SABC to include at least one of the two complainants. However the programme as broadcast did not contain any such reply."

The BCCSA ordered SABC2's Leihlo La Sechaba to say before the end of May that the show "omitted to mention that we had attempted to contact the farm owners" and that the show didn't mention it in the programme as part of a lengthy 4-point explainer.

The BCCSA wrote an apology for the SABC at the end of the explainer to be broadcast: "The SABC apologises for not having obtained the view of Mr and Mrs Nel, and for failing to include their reply in the programme."

The BCCSA said in its judgment that the inclusion of the apology sentence in Leihlo La Sechaba "is a matter for the SABC to decide on since the BCCSA is not authorised to order an apology".