E.tv new presenter Deborah Petta. Pic: Leon Lestrade.
E.tv new presenter Deborah Petta. Pic: Leon Lestrade.

Family institute to boycott e.tv

Time of article published May 10, 2011

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The Family Policy Institute on Tuesday said it planned a national boycott of all businesses who advertised before, during and after the broadcasting of pornographic content on e.tv.

“The sexual exploitation of women and children fuelled by pornography contributes significantly to the rape and sexual abuse of women and children in South Africa,” the institute's Errol Naidoo argued in a statement.

“This campaign aims to send a clear message, not only toe.tv but the SABC, DStv and Top Tv that Christian viewers will not tolerate smut on national television.”

The institute, which aims to “make marriage and the family the cornerstone of South African social policy”, first launched the “e-tv Mass Switch Off” campaign in protest against a late-night news bulletin that features nude women and other “pornographic content” on the channel.

Naked News is an international news programme screened after the late night movie at 10pm, featuring female presenters who are nude or strip during the bulletin.

Naidoo said he contacted over 2000 churches and their leaders to join the campaign given that the sexual content degraded and objectified women.

He advised them to block out the channel on DSTV and Top TV using the parental control function, or tune out the channel “until they have a snowy picture” if viewing directly. He hoped that if enough viewers boycotted the channel, e.tv would lose advertising revenue and be forced to comply with their demands.

Many churches had already signed up for the “mass switch off”, including the Evangelical Alliance of SA, the Apostolic Faith Mission of SA, the Methodist Church of SA and the Baptists Union.

This would amount to over eight million members boycotting the channel, according to membership numbers of these churches provided by Naidoo, and assuming every member participated.

Church members and other concerned viewers had lodged complaints about the news bulletin with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA. The commission however said the bulletin was not in contravention of broadcasting standards.

“It is within the watershed time for adult viewing and gives a verbal warning beforehand, as well as an age restriction of 18 with nudity that is shown throughout the show,” spokeswoman Shouneez Martin said.

“We have also noted that when the show is viewed on DSTV, it falls within the 18 age restriction and can therefore be blocked by viewers if necessary.”

Martin said the responsibility lay with parents with children viewing TV late at night.

“Parents should also take the responsibility... they have the right to remove the channel from their TVs as well as supervise their children.” - Sapa

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