MultiChoice fined R10k for bloody promo

2013-08-05 14:42
Cape Town  – The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has slapped MultiChoice with a R10 000 fine for contravening the subscription television code after M-Net aired a gory TV ad in April promoting the series Hannibal during family time viewing.

Shocked viewers watching MasterChef Australia on M-Net on 24 April were outraged when they were suddenly subjected to a graphically violent promo for the drama series Hannibal which, at the time, was broadcast on another DStv channel, Sony Entertainment Television (DStv 127).

Hannibal is a TV series based on the Thomas Harris novels about cannibal Dr Hannibal Lecter, and stars Hugh Dancy as FBI agent Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal, a brilliant forensic psychiatrist and meticulous serial killer. The first season came to an end on Sony Entertainment Television on 16 July.

After the BCCSA received complaints, the broadcaster responded saying it has "identified a weakness in the pre-approval and screening process" of TV promos which are commercial advertisements and that the channel "ceased broadcasting the promo before the watershed period immediately" after it received complaints.

Promo material 'shocking'

"We agree with the complainants that the promotional material was indeed shocking," says the BCCSA in its judgement, slapping MultiChoice with the hefty fine. "The fact that it was paid for by relevant company, is irrelevant," says the BCCSA.

Viewers who complained were upset, saying they were watching MasterChef Australia on M-Net at 18:00 when suddenly they and their children saw bloody violence and a naked, mutilated body.

"If DStv insists on broadcasting gratuitous, sick, violent shows with adult content, then these should occur outside of prime time, when all sensible families are asleep," said one complainant to the BBCSA.

"I was watching MasterChef Australia with my children who are 7 and 9," wrote another. "I was shocked and appalled to be confronted with an advert for Hannibal, a series about a serial killer.

"The visuals included violence, blood, a mutilated naked body, dripping blood - it was absolutely disgusting for an adult - but totally inappropriate for family viewing. I am totally shocked by this experience," wrote another.

"I have two little children who I am trying to protect from such evil things and such adverts during clean programmes that we as a family enjoy is unacceptable. Unfortunately this is not the first time and I fear it may be becoming a trend," wrote another complainant.

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