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Multichoice fined R40 000 for negligence

Multichoice has been fined R40 000 for airing two promotions deemed unsuitable for children, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) has ruled.

The first complaint was lodged by Charlene Baptiste in August last year, after a promotion was aired in a break during a children’s programme on the Disney XD channel 304. Baptiste was watching the programme with her eight-year-old niece when the promotion aired. It was a collage of scenes from movies to be featured on other DStv channels and showed violence, couples kissing intimately, and other scenes. Baptiste said the content was disgusting and inappropriate for children.

The broadcaster submitted that the content did not “feature any meaningful scenes that may make sense in the mind of the younger viewer”. “It does not contain any story line and is too generic for any meaning to be ascribed to it,” it said. “Although it contains some scenes from action films, we submit that it does not contain any of the violent scenes that may be disturbing to younger viewers. All scenes are very fleeting.”

However it agreed with Baptiste that it did not make sense to broadcast the promotion on the Disney XD channel. “The promo was inserted as a gapfiller after the advertisement that was meant for the slot had been withdrawn,” it argued. “We do apologise to the complainant for the inconvenience caused.” In a ruling on Thursday, the BCCSA fined Multichoice R15 000.

Zombies
The second complaint was lodged by Olivia Bornman after a promotion for the zombie television series “The Walking Dead” was broadcast during a family programme on the Nat Geo Wild channel 182 on November 11. Bornman was upset by the “gruesome, shocking and frightening pictures” shown in the promotion, which she watched with her children, aged between two and seven.

The broadcaster argued it had no control over the programming of promotional material in some instances. It said it had taken disciplinary action against the errant employees. “This is purely a matter between the broadcaster and its staff and does not concern the BCCSA,” it submitted.

Multichoice said it had apologised and that this had been accepted by the BCCSA tribunal. The BCCSA, in a ruling handed down last Monday, found Multichoice grossly negligent and fined it R25 000. – Sapa

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