Radio advert offends pro-Israel listeners

National radio station 5FM set the cat among the pigeons by flighting an advertisement, featuring a top visiting musician, that promoted the boycott of Israel.

The 20-second advert, during prime time, featured Dave Randall, the lead guitarist of British electronic band, Faithless, who performed in South Africa last weekend.

Randall intoned: “Twenty years ago I would not have played in apartheid South Africa. “Today I refuse to play in Israel. Be on the right side of history. Don’t entertain apartheid. Join the international boycott of Israel.” The station received a flurry of complaints by email and phone and on social networking sites.

Samantha Cambier commented on Facebook: “Go to hell 5FM and Faithless … you have lost a lot of listeners, that’s for sure!”, and Boaz Yarmarkov stormed: “FU 5FM for going political”.

“We got a call from the station saying it was receiving many complaints and was finding it difficult to continue to run the advert,” said Joni Barnard, a member of South African Artists Against Apartheid, the collective that created the advert. “But in the end, it continued.”


Criticism
Barnard said many of the complaints branded the ad “anti-Semitic”. “But to criticise a state is not anti-Semitic, just as to criticise apartheid South Africa was not anti-white,” she said.

Randall and Faithless’s lead singer, Maxi Jazz, are well-known supporters of the boycott, divestment and the sanctions campaign against Israel. Last year the band cancelled a tour of the country.

5FM has defended the decision to continue to run the advert in a statement, saying that it had “offended certain segments of the station’s listeners as it contains anti-Israel content voiced by a member of the band Faithless”.

But, it insisted that the advert, like any other, “is the property of the advertiser who has paid for it [and] does not reflect the views of 5FM or the SABC”. SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said that the station had not foreseen the complaints. However, Barnard said that the complaints were wholly expected. “An advert of this nature is highly provocative,” she said.

“We chose to make a political statement and, obviously, that does come with repercussions. “But it is critical to make people think and question their ­political position.” South African Artists Against Apartheid include writer Imraan Coovadia, artist Brett Murray and poet Allan Horwitz.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

SIU raids master of high court

Officials assisting with deceased estates, trusts, and protecting minors allegedly siphon off funds

SABC’s policy still so Hlaudi

Media watchdogs are concerned about inadequate changes to editorial procedures

Giro d’Italia’s Israel start under fire

Politics is set to overshadow the iconic cycling race, which stands accused of ‘sport-washing’ human rights violations

Spokesperson: All is well at SABC

Kaizer Kganyago confirms staff members are still picketing outside the SABC but that, despite this, programmes have not been disrupted.

SABC stays mum on R42m fraud allegations

The broadcaster's spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, says they do not want to undermine the work of the ad hoc committee probing the organisation's board.

Metro FM’s Eddie Zondi dies

Popular radio Metro FM host, Eddie Zondi, has died reportedly from a heart attack at the age of 47.
Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

See people as individual humans, not as a race

We need to ingrain values of equality in education, businesses, society broadly and religious groups to see people

JJ Rawlings left an indelible mark on Ghana’s history

The air force pilot and former president used extreme measures, including a coup, enforced ‘discipline’ through executions, ‘disappearances’ and floggings, but reintroduced democracy

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay...

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies

Traditional healers need new spaces

Proper facilities supported by well-researched cultural principles will go a long way to improving the image and perception of the practice of traditional medicine
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…