The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) has dismissed a complaint about an SABC news report that depicted the old South African flag‚ AWB flag and German Swastika.
Television critic Thinus Ferreira lodged a complaint against the state broadcaster for its coverage of the Black Monday protests against farm murders in November 2017.
“The SABC interviews a minister who talks about ‘the burning of the flag’ as if it is something that happened now during the protest. No flag – either old or new – was burned at all‚” he said in a complaint to the BCCSA.
He argued that images of the flags shown on screen were old. “The story itself creates fear and exactly what the one minister (actually) warns about – fueling racial division – by using old images and attaching it to a current story‚ and using fake things‚ like saying a flag was burnt‚ and by being unbalanced by not including all of the various sides involved in the story. It is irresponsible and lazy reporting‚” he said.
In their response the SABC said that Ferreira had failed to see the context in which the images were shown.
“Nowhere in the clip did the reporter or the minister say that the burning of the flag happened on that day. It is the complainant’s own interpretation that it was the minister’s insinuation‚” the SABC replied.
The BCCSA said that images used during a broadcast needed to be in context and not serve as “gross distortion or misrepresentation of events that had occurred.” In this case the reported had explained why images of the flags were used.
“The news item was presented in a correct context and in a fair manner without intentional or negligent departure from facts whether by distortion‚ material omission or summarisation.”
The BCCSA ruled in favour of the SABC and rejected the complaint.