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MultiChoice fined for vampire movie

2011-07-20 15:53
Cape Town - The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has fined MultiChoice R20 000 due to what the commission calls "aggravated negligence" on the part of the pay TV operator for a continued problem with implementing the correct age restrictions on movies.

This is the third time within a short period that the BCCSA has scolded MultiChoice and DStv's M-Net channels for a problem with the correct practical implementation of age restrictions.

"Parents and caretakers should be able to rely on correct advisories in order to utilise the parental locking system correctly," says the BCCSA.

The BCCSA received complaints from people saying they were shocked that the movie Daybreakers was shown on M-Net (DStv channel 101) with an advisory of PG13 displayed on the electronic programme guide (EPG) while the actual rating of 18VL was indicated on the screen and the movie was not blocked by the parental locking system.

Nightmare images

The BCCSA held that the "nightmare images" were not at all suitable for children and that "the horror content of the film was likely to have had a very harmful effect on a substantial number of children".

The BCCSA imposed a fine of R20 000 to demonstrate that this is a serious transgression on the part of MultiChoice.

One of the complainants, Debbie Hubbard, told the BCCSA: "I complained to MultiChoice and as of today they have not gotten back to me. At the customer care at MultiChoice they denied at first the movie was age restricted 18. Then I called another supervisor who said, no, it was 18, they made a mistake.

"MultiChoice makes millions and what is the point of having parental lock if they can't be bothered to check what movies they are screening?"

MultiChoice argued that there was partial compliance with the BCCSA code of conduct because the film was broadcast at 21:30 after the so-called "watershed" period, that the correct advisory of 18VL for the film was displayed on screen as well as announced and that such errors are not repeated by the same channels.

The BCCSA accepted MultiChoice's apology but was still of the view that "the error amounted to aggravated negligence."

In response to a media enquiry about the BCCSA fine, MultiChoice told Channel24 that "MultiChoice respects the decision of the BCCSA and will abide by its decision".

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