SA radio station fined R10 000

2013-07-29 16:26

Johannesburg - SABC radio station Motsweding FM was fined R10 000 for naming a child who had been raped, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) said on Monday.

A complaint was lodged after the child's name and surname was mentioned several times in May in a message which was part of the radio station's goodwill ambassador campaign.

According to the complaint listeners were given a "step by step of the rape and in the background the painful cry of a girl".

The BCCSA referred the matter to a tribunal for a hearing.

Was given permission

Motsweding FM said it had been given permission by the child's family to use her name, profile, and pictures as the face of its campaign.

"The station further got permission from the campaign drivers, [SA Police Service], and the [family], to tell [the child's story throughout the campaign because the family does not want any other child and family to go through what they and [the child] went through."

It said the promotion for the campaign, using the girl's name, was a call for action that was aimed at challenging the community to do something about the scourge of rape.

The station submitted that there was no transgression of the broadcasting code.

However, the BCCSA tribunal found that there was no provision in the code that a parent, or anyone else, may grant permission for the identity of a raped child to be disclosed.

"Although the mistake was a bona fide mistake and the broadcasts were apparently in the public interest, the disclosure of the identity of the victim amounted to a serious contravention of the code," the BCCSA said.

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