News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
21 Feb 2018
8:12 pm

BCCSA rules in SABC’s favour on ‘Black Monday’ coverage

Gosebo Mathope

The BCCSA ruled that the visuals were contextualised and Ferreira's complaint of strong language was subjective.

'Black Monday' protesters at Voortrekker Monument, south of Pretoria, 3 November 2017. They were protesting against farm murders. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo / ANA

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has ruled in favour of the SABC in a complaint brought against the public broadcaster by a complainant, Thinus Ferreira, about reportage on ‘Black Monday.’

The substance of Ferreira’s complaint was that news bulletins on SABC 3 and Channel 404 broadcast on 2 November 2017 about the ‘Black Monday’ protest carried visuals of the old South African flag, the AWB flag and German Swastika flag.

He argued that their use was unfair, inaccurate and untruthful but the SABC argued that the newsreaders on the bulletins gave context to the words used and why the flags were shown. After viewing a video clip of the news item, Bccsa found that there was no evidence that the SABC did not present the news report in a correct context and in a fair manner.

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It ruled that the news broadcast were “without intentional or negligent departure from facts whether by distortion, material omission or summarisation” and also could not find evidence that there was any contravention of the Broadcasting Code of Conduct.

Ferreira’s complaint has also condemned the use of strong language and accused the SABC of spreading wrong information and aggravated an issue of national importance through obfuscation. The SABC’s contention was that the march was fairly covered and the focus of the story was about the actions of the protesters.

It said the story was angled to look at other aspects that had not been covered, and reiterated that neither the reporter nor the minister claimed that the burning of the the flag happened on that day. The BCCSA ruled that it is Ferreira’s subjective view that the language used to too strong.

“The SABC is pleased with the ruling as it serves as a clear indication that we are upholding the BCCSA’s code of conduct and the editorial policy. The SABC would like to reassure its audiences of its unwavering commitment to deliver news that is well-researched, accurate and unbiased, without compromising its public mandate, integrity and editorial independence,” spokeperson Kaizer Kganyago said in a press statement earlier today.

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