Friday, August 7, 2015

Broadcasting Compaints Commission finds eNCA guilty of taxi violence story that's not fair; slams eNCA for taking too long to respond to complaint.

eNCA (DStv 403) has contravened the Broadcasting Code after the Sabido owned 24-hour TV news channel broadcast a news story on taxi violence in KwaZulu-Natal blaming the private security industry without giving the industry a chance to respond.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) found eNCA guilty of contravening the Code for pay-TV broadcasters.

The South African TV news channel was reprimanded but didn't receive a fine.

The BCCSA also slammed eNCA for taking months to adequately respond to the complaint it received in February.

eNCA argued before the BCCSA that the channel had not breached the Code and that the story broadcast in February this year is accurate and fair.

In the story eNCA showed an independent researcher, called Mary de Haas, but on-screen the woman was not identified, with no name banner at the bottom of the screen and no name mentioned by the eNCA reporter in the story.

The BCCSA said in its findings that "the independent researcher continued with her diatribe against the private security industry".

"The worrying aspect of this broadcast is that the necessary research required for a programme such as this to comply with the broadcaster's responsibilities in terms of the Code seems to have been done after the broadcast and only once a complaint had been lodged," the BBCSA found.

"In our opinion, the average viewer of this programme would go away with the conviction that the private security industry is the main cause of taxi violence in KwaZulu-Natal - which might or might not be true - but this is contrary to the Code," says the BCCSA.

"The object is for broadcasters to fairly represent opposing points of view. In this instance we find that that this had not been done and accordingly find that the broadcaster has contravened the Code."

The BCCSA also slammed eNCA for taking too long to respond adequately.

"This complaint was lodged in February but the broadcaster only responded on 19 March. The complainant was dissatisfied with this response and commented on it. The registrar then allowed the broadcaster to react to the comment but on 3 July she had not received the broadcaster's reaction and she was obliged to arrange for a tribunal hearing," says the BCCSA.

"This matter was only heard on 23 July, some five months after the complaint. The broadcaster apologised for the delay and the apology is accepted but the broadcaster is requested to be more meticulous with its responses to complaints in future," says the BCCSA in its judgement in the case.