Monday, April 4, 2016

SABC1's on-screen PG13 over inappropriate-for-children Generations - The Legacy saved it from being fined by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has found that a "PG13" on-screen advisory for an inappropriate episode of SABC1's Generations about snakes, bloodletting and sangomas saved the public broadcaster and channel from getting a fine.

Viewers, churches and the Traditional Healers Organisation alike have complained the last few months about Generations - The Legacy's witchcraft and sangoma storylines on SABC1.

Complaints - also including SABC2's Muvhango similarly incorporating witchcraft from a witch doctor and a zombie - centre around the content being inappropriate for younger viewers and that the SABC is "showcasing" African spirituality in a negative and derogatory manner.

Following complaints the BCCSA found that what the SABC is showing in Generations - The Legacy at 20:00 is "stressful to children" and that the public broadcaster was not allowed to do so - "adult content" can only be shown after at least 21:00 on free-to-air public TV channels after the so-called "watershed" time period.

"Broadcasters may include any topic in its programme, even satanism and witchcraft, although we do not make a finding that that satanism or witchcraft was part of the episode or not," the BCCSA said.

"What we are concerned about, is the effect of this episode on children. For young children the scenes of a sangoma performing rituals and especially the scene with the large yellow snake would surely be distressful."

"Had there not been a viewer advisory of PG13 the BCCSA would have found SABC1 in contravention of the code of conduct. The warning thus saved the broadcaster from a finding against it," the BCCSA ruled.

"One positive aspect that resulted from the hearing is that representatives of the SABC undertook to broadcast in future oral warnings over and above on-screen warnings under similar circumstances," the BCCSA said.