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Gareth Cliff cleared of 'bitch' charge

2012-07-31 17:24
Johannesburg - The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has dismissed a complaint against controversial 5FM presenter Gareth Cliff for calling a woman a "bitch".

The word was used in a "playful and melodramatic manner", the BCCSA said in a ruling released on Tuesday.

Cliff, who hosts 5FM's Breakfast Show, addressed a female caller as "Dear Bitch" on 6 June, in an attempt to get her to call the station back. However, the woman, who was never named on the show, took offence and lodged a complaint with the commission.

She had called two days earlier to express her opinion about M-Net's Idols programme.

A 5FM representative argued that the woman's dignity had not been impaired as she was not identified.

He told a BCCSA tribunal the incident needed to be seen in the context of broadcasts over three days.

The woman's "aggressive and confrontational style" had resulted in Cliff referring to her as "Dear Bitch" in the same way one would refer to a person being "bitchy".

The woman said: "My complaint is against Gareth Cliff using such profane and unnecessary language, even not knowing the individual."

She argued that children listened to the morning show, and should not be exposed to such language.

While the complaint was not upheld, 5FM was cautioned that repetitive use of the word should be discouraged.

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