The SABC's SABC1 channel has been fined R20 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) after yet again broadcasting bad language while children are watching, without prior warning, and before the so-called "watershed" time period.
After several prior complaints from viewers in similar cases, several prior warnings from the BCCSA, and after previously telling the BBCSA it will improve its screening and on-screen advisories, the SABC1 once again failed to upheld the Broadcasting Code when it broadcast Casper Nyovest's #FillUpTheDome concert on 18 November 2017 at 20:00, filled with profane language.
The SABC once again admitted that it erred and agreed "that the audience should have been warned about the contentof the broadcast in question".
The SABC messed up in several ways. The SABC1's programme acceptance department didn't properly watch the DVD themselves beforehand to know the actual content, the scheduling department didn't slot it for 21:00 or later, and the control room and playout department didn't add any parental guidance advisories.
The SABC's excuse for the systemic lapse in the case at the BCCSA was that "Our producers were so passionate about showing the success of this young musician to an extent that some regulatory mandates were bypassed".
SABC1 once again told the BCCSA that it will tighten its internal controls according to when what kind of content can be broadcast, as well as age restriction and parental guidance advisories that must be shown by the South African public broadcaster.
"The SABC would like to assure the Commission that internal processes of disciplining the concerned staff members are underway. We sincerely apologise to the complainant for any inconvenience caused and we are doing that we can to make sure that we minimise these kinds of incidents in our platforms."
The SABC admitted that SABC1 didn't follow procedure with the #FillUpTheDome DVD. "The programme was delivered late and we were racing for time to prepare it for broadcast hence the language certification issue slipped through the cracks."
SABC1 begged for leniency from the BCCSA, despite prior similar transgressions like with the 16th Metro FM Music Awards in 2017, saying the SABC has "proven that we have learnt from past mistakes and continue to comply".
The BCCSA said that it's very bad that the SABC's SABC1 channel committed the same mistake barely 8 months after the previous very similar incident.
"The Tribunal finds it difficult to ignore that within the 8 months of the receipt of such an adverse adjudication, SABC1 broadcasted #FillUpTheDome outside the watershed period and still omitted to give the viewers cautionary warning as expected by the Broadcasting Code".
The BCCSA slammed SABC1 for its apparently lackadaisical approach to adhering to the Broadcasting Code of Conduct, saying "there is nothing in its presentation which evidences their awareness of their obligation as entrenched in the broadcasting code" to protect children, not to use grossly offensive language before the watershed period, and to properly warn viewers beforehand.
SABC1 was fined R20 000 and must pay it before 28 February 2018.