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Popular SABC2 soapie 7de Laan contravened the Broadcasting Code of Conduct when it portrayed a disturbing suicide attempt.
So says the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), who ruled that "the threatening actions of the character were indeed too repetitive and graphic for the timeslot".
Though a suicide helpline was screened after the controversial episode, which also carried a PG13V age restriction, the BCCSA rules that "the suicide helpline number screened afterwards was of little or no use to traumatised children, and that the 13V advisory was not sufficient".
The April 27 episode, which drew an angry response from viewers, featured the character Herman Croukamp desperately trying to win back the affections of his wife. With all seemingly lost, a drunk Croukamp starts playing with a gun and contemplates ending his life. Viewers dubbed the episode “traumatic”, “shocking” and “ignorant”.
The BCCSA agreed, saying that SABC2 and 7de Laan “crossed over the ‘family content’ line”.
According to Media24, 7de Laan producer Danie Odendaal said the show carried a suicide helpline "in line with the aim of the series of not only reflecting real life as accurately as possible in this fictional series, but also ensuring that it serves the interest of the public good when this is necessary". - IOL