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Debora Patta to apologise to FF Plus leader

Staff Reporter

E.tv on Tuesday confirmed that 3rd Degree's Debora Patta will apologise for accusing Freedom Front Plus leader Chrisna de Kock of racism.

E.tv on Tuesday confirmed that 3rd Degree‘s Debora Patta will apologise for accusing Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Chrisna de Kock of racism.

“In hindsight and having viewed the edited programme, 3rd Degree came to the conclusion that the manner in which the allegation was put across was unfortunate. It is for this reason that 3rd Degree retracted the comment and apologised to Ms de Kock,” said e.tv spokesperson Vasili Vass.

During the interview on 3rd Degree aired on May 25, Vass said it was put to De Kock that she was a racist. She denied this. He added that at no stage were any accusations made against the FF+.

The FF+ submitted a complaint to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) about Patta’s treatment of De Kock during the interview.

“During the interview with Ms De Kock, Ms Patta came across very aggressively and did not give Ms De Kock an opportunity to answer on her allegations of racism,” said FF+ parliamentary spokesperson Anton Alberts in a statement.

“The information which Ms Patta used was also factually incorrect, but she nonetheless used it as a platform to place Ms De Kock, Afrikaners and the FF+ in a negative light.”

De Kock is the vice-president of the Student Representative Council on the campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). A video made by four white UFS students in 2007 sparked outrage as it depicted black workers taking part in an initiation-like ritual which included kneeling to eat food into which a student had allegedly urinated.

Alberts called on Patta and e.tv to apologise ahead of the BCCSA hearing.

The broadcaster and Patta agreed to do so.

“By offering an apology, Deborah Patta and e.tv acknowledge that they had made a mistake and exceeded journalistic boundaries with the production of an insert on racism at the UFS for 3rd Degree,“said Alberts.

However, Vass said the apology was for calling De Kock a racist and 3rd Degree did not “exceed journalistic boundaries”.

3rd Degree does not believe it exceeded journalistic boundaries in any way and in no way propagated lies, abused its position in the media or used the programme as a platform to promote personal agendas.

“In the context of what happened this accusation by the FF+ is unfortunate.”

He said the broadcaster also believed that the party was in breach of the agreement concluded at the BCCSA by raising the issues in the media and that this was “regrettable”.

All charges against Patta and the programme were dropped.

The apology would be aired on Tuesday on 3rd Degree.—Sapa

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