MultiChoice fined R40k over 'grossly negligent' DStv promos

2015-02-02 11:18

Cape Town – MultiChoice has again been slapped with fines by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for showing content unsuitable for children.

The first complaint was about content which was aired on a Disney channel and the second was about a horror promo for FOX's zombie drama The Walking Dead which aired during the middle of the day on the Nat Geo Wild channel on DStv.

The BCCSA called MultiChoice "grossly negligent" in both cases.

MultiChoice and The Walt Disney Company's Disney XD (DStv 304), which was fined R5000 in June last year for unsuitable content, was yet again found guilty of transgressing the Broadcasting Code of Conduct and was fined R15 000 for showing an inappropriate promo on the kids channel after a complaint. MultiChoice has to pay the R15 000 fine before the end of February.

The inappropriate promo about movies on other DStv channels broadcast on Disney XD, showed violence, intimate kissing, and unsuitable scenes which are not supposed to be shown and which parents and children are not expected to see on such a channel.

MultiChoice told the BCCSA that the unsuitable promo on Disney XD was "human error" and was shown after a MultiChoice staffer "inserted the promo as a gap filler" after an advertiser withdrew an advertisement that was scheduled.

The BCCSA said MultiChoice's broadcasting contraventions "is compounded by the fact that it seems that this type of contravention is becoming a part of a pattern of contraventions of this nature".

'Negligence involved'

In another case MultiChoice was fined R25 000 for showing a "gruesome" zombie promo for The Walking Dead on Nat Geo Wild during the middle of the day while a woman was watching the DStv channel with her children aged between two and seven. Again MultiChoice blamed the mistake on "human error".

MultiChoice told the BCCSA that the satellite pay-TV platform "concede that the promo was not suitable for younger viewers and that it should not have been broadcast before the watershed period and not during the programme classified as suitable for family viewing".

MultiChoice told the BCCSA that "there are many TV channels for which MultiChoice is reponsible and that this entails considerable administrative work". MultiChoice said "the responsible person at the broadcaster did not check the right schedule for the broadcasting of this promo and there was negligence involved in the internal control".

The BCCSA said MultiChoice's promos which were broadcast inappropriately were "harmful to children".

MultiChoice argued that it has no control over programming of promotional material in some instances.

The BCCSA said "this argument is not acceptable as MultiChoice has to take responsibility for all of its broadcasts in terms of its broadcasting licence".

The BCCSA slammed MultiChoice for what it says is becoming a bad pattern and that these kinds of contraventions will not be tolerated.

"From these and other similar cases, it is clear that negligence on the part of the broadcaster, and not technical problems, is mostly the recurring cause of contraventions of the Code of Conduct as far as the watershed rule and classification of programming is concerned."

"In other words, the broadcaster seems to have a problem with human error," said the BCCSA.

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