BCCSA scolds MultiChoice

2009-09-10 22:31
Johannesburg - MultiChoice has been reprimanded for failing to warn viewers that a movie it broadcast contained foul language, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) said on Thursday.

"It was held by the BCCSA Tribunal that the broadcaster should have provided more information so that the viewer could exercise an informed choice," it said in a statement.

The movie, Meet the Applegates, was broadcast in June.

The complainant, Bruce Wolvaardt, charged he was misled by the broadcaster after the movie, advertised as a comedy and seemingly suitable for the whole family to watch, turned out not to be.

He watched the movie with his children and found himself in an "uncomfortable situation" as phrases such as "cocksucker", "cunt" and "fuck", were frequently repeated, while the movie also showed drug abuse by a minor. MultiChoice admitted the word "fuck" was used repeatedly and that the film was broadcast during the watershed period.

It said the word was "much part of the story" and was not used in a derogatory fashion, but was used as an adjective in most cases. "The fact remains that foul language is foul language no matter the qualification," the commission said in its ruling.

It said not much clear and consistent information was provided to the audience about the classification taken by MultiChoice to ensure viewers were not misled about the genre of the film.

"... the broadcaster’s parental control mechanism tool is a brilliant tool, but it is not enough to say that because it is available, then the viewers cannot complain of being misled and ill-advised as it appears in this case."