Monday, July 17, 2017

Broadcasting Complaints Commission fines negligent ANN7 R10 000 over wrong reporting; ANN7 said it notices 'unfortunate attempts to drag ANN7 into politics'.

The Broadcasting Complaint Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has fined the Gupta-owned channel ANN7 (DStv 405) carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform R10 000 for a repeated offence of the same wrong reporting - something ANN7 wanted to first blame on a video editor, and then on the news anchor not reading correctly and who ANN7 said it gave a warning letter.

The BCCSA got another complaint regarding distorted news that was broadcast on ANN7 on DStv on 4 June - following the exact same complaint about wrong reporting that ANN7 did in March and in April - apologised for in May - and then repeated yet again in June.

On 4 June an ANN7 news anchor told DStv subscribers that the former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille "had said that colonialism was not at all bad".

Helen Zille however never used the "at" word ever. Even without that word inserted by ANN7, her utterances around colonialism caused a firestorm and ignited big public debate in South Africa.

ANN7's continued wrong reporting however further inflamed the news story.

Very shockingly, this was a mistake that ANN7 already had to apologise for a month earlier, on 5 May, after running the wrong mistake and repeating it multiple times over many days in March and in April, before eventually correcting it after a complaint to the BCCSA.

Yet in June the channel from Infinity Media again did the same erroneous reporting and again told DStv subscribers that Helen Zille said "colonialism was not at all bad". The second time ANN7 blamed the news reader.

After having first blamed a video editor earlier in the year, ANN7 told the BCCSA that it's now blaming the news anchor.

Although it was a multiple repeat of the same mistake and wrong reporting that surfaced yet again, ANN7 said "it was a rare error by an anchor who has been served with a warning notice" and that ANN7 "offers to run an apology on the ticker scroll".

ANN7 that belongs to the highly controversial Gupta family, told the BCCSA that "it is impossible to not notice unfortunate attempts to drag ANN7 into politics due to its ownership."

Weirdly, and not making any sense, ANN7 told the BCCSA that it "has faith that the institutions tasked with safeguarding the democratic structures and values will not allow vested campaigns to muffle an important opinion voiced by ANN7."

The BCCSA in its judgement slammed ANN7, saying that "in the present volatile political situation in the country and in light of the previous contraventions regarding this controversial news story, one would expect ANN7 to be extremely cautious in follow-up broadcasts".

The BCCSA in its judgment found that ANN7 was negligent in briefing the news anchor that ANN7 decided to blame for the channel's shoddy and wrong reporting.

The BCCSA castigated ANN7, finding that ANN7 "ignored the BCCSA's requests (9 and 13 June) that it should confirm that a verbal apology would be broadcast".

"Since the BCCSA was not notified about the apology, it could not be approved and the complainant could not be informed".

"This is a second complaint about the same issue and this time it could not be blamed on system error - the ANN7 news editor should have noticed."

The BCCSA ordered ANN7 to "repeat the apology and the Registrar informed at least 48 hours before it is broadcast so that the relevant parties may be informed".

ANN7 was also slapped with a R10 000 fine for the repeated wrong reporting.