BCCSA dismisses complaint against 702

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Johannesburg - The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) has dismissed a complaint of unbalanced reporting against Talk Radio 702, it said on Friday.

The complaint involved a news bulletin about Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille being booed at an event, but which did not include President Jacob Zuma asking the crowd to give Zille a chance to speak.

The BCCSA found that Talk Radio 702 had broadcast both sides of the story in different news bulletins that were “reasonably connected in time and space”.

“A complaint was received in regard to a 7.30am newscast by Radio 702 on November 1,2013 which covered the fact that Ms Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape, had not been granted the opportunity to open an official function as a result of the fact that she had been booed by the audience,” said BCCSA chairman Kobus van Rooyen, SC.

Talk Radio 702 had reported on two aspects of the unveiling of a Saldanha Bay project where President Jacob Zuma addressed the crowd.

“The relevant aspects were, firstly, that... Zille, was booed when she was attempting to deliver a speech and, secondly, that... Zuma during his speech, admonished the crowd, telling them that they should grant a person an opportunity to express his or her view, even if they did not agree with that view,” Van Rooyen said in a statement.

A member of the public complained that the second news bulletin on Radio 702 did not include Zuma reprimanding the crowd. However, this had been included in a 3pm broadcast the day before.

The complainant said the 7.30am bulletin the following day carried only the aspect about Zille being booed.

“It was argued that this second broadcast was in conflict with the Broadcasting Code because it omitted the president's rectifying speech.

“The tribunal held that, as long as two news bulletins are reasonably connected in time and subject, which was the case here, it is not necessary for the radio station to broadcast both aspects again,” said Van Rooyen.

The matter was heard on March 13 and the judgment was released on Wednesday.

Sapa


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