'Don't touch me on my studio' debate gets all-clear

The “Don’t touch me on my studio” debate has been given the thumbs-up by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

In a ruling released on Wednesday, the commission rejected complaints from members of the public that e.tv had not been fair to Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) secretary general André Visagie.

The debate was broadcast in April shortly after the murder of AWB leader Eugene Terre’Blanche.

“It is understandable that e.tv, by arranging a debate of this nature so soon after the murder, was courting trouble—and trouble was soon to come,” commissioner Henning Viljoen said in his ruling.

Visagie stormed out of the debate after threatening his co-panellist, political analyst Lebogang Pheko, who had repeatedly interrupted him.

He was also involved in a confrontation with presenter Chris Maroleng, which resulted in Maroleng uttering the immortal words: “Don’t touch me on my studio”.

Viljoen said he did not think that e.tv had contravened the broadcasting code of conduct rule that called for reasonable efforts to fairly present opposing points of view.

“Despite the interruptions, the heated debate and the fiasco at the end, I think that each party had the opportunity to put its viewpoint on this controversial matter to the viewing public,” he said.—Sapa

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