SABC2, 7de Laan blasted for suicide scene

2012-06-19 07:38
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – SABC2 and its popular soap 7de Laan have been found guilty of contravening the Broadcasting Code of Conduct due to the explicit portrayal of a disturbing and drawn-out attempted suicide.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has ruled that "the threatening actions of the character were indeed too repetitive and graphic for the timeslot" and that "the suicide helpline number screened afterwards was of little or no use to traumatised children, and that the 13V advisory was not sufficient".

SABC2 and 7de Laan were slammed by the BCCSA in its latest judgment, with the tribunal finding that the broadcaster "crossed over the 'family content' line" at a time when large numbers of children can be expected to be a part of the audience.

Angry viewers

The complaints received were upheld by the BCCSA, and SABC2 and 7de Laan were issued with a reprimand. The public broadcaster was cautioned to be even more careful with material that is broadcast during family time.

Applied media ethics dictates that suicides and attempted suicides get as little media exposure as possible, that reports about it are kept short and very basic, and that fictional accounts or portrayals not be "glamourised", over-dramatised or drawn-out.

Angry viewers complained to the BCCSA about the explicit portrayal of an attempted suicide in 7de Laan shown on 27 April.

One viewer said that "I'm an adult person and I was very disturbed. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth". Another complainant said the scene was "totally uncalled for in what is supposed to be a family show".

Another complainant who called 7de Laan's attempted suicide "upsetting" and a "pathetic display" said: "I would like to know if Herman (the character played by actor Deon Coetzee) or the producer ever witnessed a real suicide? I lost a son to suicide. This was just sensation-seeking of the worst kind and shows the producer's insensitivity.

"The actor and the producer should be severely reprimanded for taking advantage of such a serious and hurtful situation. I suppose they're trying to upgrade the pathetic soapie."

The SABC responded by saying that it showed a suicide helpline number "for four seconds and five seconds respectively before the end credits". The SABC said it felt that "an advisory of PG13 V would be sufficient to alert sensitive viewers".

Story drawn out to ensure viewers tune in

The BCCSA tribunal in its judgment found that the character's actions were indeed graphic, that scenes continued over two episodes, that the producers "admitted that the climax of the storyline was calculated to draw large audiences and to ensure that viewers tune in for the Monday episode".

"Television is a very powerful medium and witnessing violent scenes such as this may lead to severe emotional stress and anxiety in children," the BCCSA said.

"Although the visual depiction of such material may be central to the credibility of a storyline, it should be dealt with in a sensitive manner which is not too graphic.

"Broadcasters bear a heavy burden of responsibility in a country like South Africa where much emotional trauma is suffered because of acts of violence," reads the BCCSA judgment.

"This makes it all the more important for them to take special care with storylines where the details are within their control, in contrast to news events, where it's not."

Unrealistic and insufficient

"Younger children are very impressionable and do not dispose of established cognitive frameworks that would enable them to interpret violent psychological scenarios such as this one," the BCCSA found.

The Code of Conduct that broadcasters signed states that broadcasters are not allowed to "broadcast material which is harmful or disturbing to children at times when a large number of children are likely to be a part of the audience".

The BCCSA found that neither of the 7de Laan episodes in question were suitable for children's viewing and that the 13V advisory was unrealistic and insufficient.

"The responsibility cannot, at that time of the evening, simply be shifted to parents".


  • Manie - 2012-06-19 07:54

    I knew someone who died in a coffee shop! I think they should get rid of oppikoffie as well just before something happens.

      Barefoot - 2012-06-19 08:11

      And these car chase scenes on t.v many are killed by car accidents lol

      Joe - 2012-06-19 08:39

      Watching 7de laan will make any person depressed, adding a suicide scene... well that can push you over the edge

      romano.liut - 2012-06-19 09:11

      Best comments ever, funny guys! keep it coming

      Susan - 2012-06-19 10:03

      I don't think young children should be watching this nonsence..

      curry.paradox - 2012-06-19 10:30

      @Andrew - best laugh I have had in a while! Thanks!

      amanda.victor.92 - 2012-06-19 11:25

      I once saw someone die watching TV. I think they should ban TV.

      david.b.mcfarlane - 2012-06-19 15:21

      I think 7de Laan should have a mass suicide so we can get this crap off the air. Maybe they could all meet at the Deli and eat some of Hildas concoctions?

  • DSBennie - 2012-06-19 08:04

    I like how e-tv and DSTV-MNET always get fines for the smallest things, but the SABC just gets warnings over and over again

  • konanani.rachicoper - 2012-06-19 08:05

    Hands off 7de laan,i cant realy speak afrikaans but i enjoy watching,the characters are funy(i love oubus most).

      phosa.peter2 - 2012-06-19 08:26

      @konanani hope you are sarcastic

      yvonne.lehy - 2012-10-23 20:01

      Yes it is an interesting soap to watch, and why pick on it as there most of the tv programs, are violent, blood and guts, At least they do not show explicit sex scenes as the disgusting ones on etv,. Also lots of programs on dstv leaves lots to be desired, I love 7de laan, and for those who don't like it, how come they know what is going on in it, just switch to something else and leave us to watch.

  • prophetessbernadette.howard.3 - 2012-06-19 08:06

    Soap operas is not condusive to children or adult viewing as it keeps people entrapped in a world of deceit,lust,adultery,fornication and is also the NO.1. destroyer of family values.

      mike.hunnt.140 - 2012-06-19 10:26


      prophetessbernadette.howard.3 - 2012-06-19 14:00

      @faizoonm.Thanks for the comment.Its so true hey.Soapies only corrupt the mind and has no value.

  • Barefoot - 2012-06-19 08:08

    Children that watch 7de Laan?- i think they are already screwed they don't need help from the SABC

      donovan.f.muller - 2012-06-19 08:12

      LOL LOL LOL!!!!

      faizoonm - 2012-06-19 10:05


      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-06-19 11:54

      Faizoon, children are brought up by their parents, not the SABC

  • mary.sadler.35 - 2012-06-19 08:10

    Why are children even watching this rubbish? Surely there are educational programs more suitable to influence their concept of life? OK, so the same goes for adults.

      1CRAZYONE - 2012-06-19 10:51

      @ Faizoom STOP shouting! you are seriously get far to wound up over a soapie. Kids watch far worse in movies - murder, crime hear bad language. At school kids are exposed to peer pressure -bad language. Reality is that people do have sex, people unfortunately do commit suicide and trying to not show these issues to kids does not mean it does not exist. Have a look at the games kids play on their playstation...

  • Ryno - 2012-06-19 08:10

    they complain about a suicide scene in a SA soap - but nothing about the steamy love scenes in the american soaps?

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-06-19 11:56

      Faizoonm, please stop shouting at us.

  • jean.tredoux.5 - 2012-06-19 08:15

    Who watches 7de laan!? Who still watches SABC!?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-06-19 09:13

      Beats Isidingo... now there is a load of crap.

      Willie - 2012-06-19 09:55

      7de Laan and 7'o clock news is about all I watch on SABC and enjoy 7de Laan

      jean.tredoux.5 - 2012-06-19 10:34

      With the amount of series that's available I don't know why people want to watch this k... 7de laan makes afrikaans look silly...

  • nikondaniel - 2012-06-19 08:18

    I think the entire 7de Laan show should commit suicide. lol

  • prophetessbernadette.howard.3 - 2012-06-19 08:22

    When watching a program,one needs to think what can I learn from this.If it is something that takes up your quality time you need to spend with your children, spouse and causes you to discuss it when or wherever you go then you have a BIG problem!!!

      faizoonm - 2012-06-19 10:25


  • prophetessbernadette.howard.3 - 2012-06-19 08:22

    When watching a program,one needs to think what can I learn from this.If it is something that takes up your quality time you need to spend with your children, spouse and causes you to discuss it when or wherever you go then you have a BIG problem!!!

  • Andrew Constanti - 2012-06-19 08:27

    Eh actually jean as much as I agree with your sentiments this show is the second most watched show on tv in Sa in viewer numbers after generations !!!!!

      mary.sadler.35 - 2012-06-19 09:39

      And that proves what?

  • Coenie Bezuidenhout - 2012-06-19 08:27

    I find it very interesting that the people watching the very program for its backstabbing, love triangle loaded and gossip laden scenes complain about a suicide scene. What does that teach your kids? 7de Laan should be applauded for dealing with real life issues and not coating it with a sugary sweetness. Kids must know the reality, the pressures of life and maybe a over dramatised and drawn out scene would send the true emotion of feeling trapped and helpless to some people, cause its easy to judge on the side line. The moral was clearly missed-there is help, hope and people that care enough to make a difference!

      mary.sadler.35 - 2012-06-19 09:41

      Kids should learn not to take soapies seriously. Have those watching it so avidly no real life?

      nathanjaysa - 2012-06-19 10:00

      I totally agree, my wife watches the program and sometimes i do stumble on a time slot and sit and watch to kill some time. i think the author/producer do have valid points for people in real life, what i do find is the learning side, at least if someone do bad they get caught no matter what, teaches one you will not get a way with it. I think 7de Laan has a better standard then other Soapies, because at least they don't have sex with the father and his son and so on, like bold and the beauty crap.. my sisters is watching. now that is bad for publicity "so i guess that ok to put on SABC teach our younger youth to have sex with everyone before marriage, what 7de Laan also brings out is what actually do happen in today's life and what type of aspects one can see in life from drug abuse and loosing family and long last sons catching up all give a message to the viewer to say its never to late to reconcile or change anyways enough said. If i am not mistaken 7de laan always warn viewers with "this episode contains violence or sensitive material and may upset some viewer" is that not enough, i think 80% soapy viewers mostly woman live them self in soapies thats why they get soo upset they cant handle reality as it is and 7de Laan is just showing you how real life issue can be. i personally think those that gave critic about the suicide should not even watch 7de Laan, then bold and beauty crap would suite you fine.

  • terry.owen.585 - 2012-06-19 08:28

    I haven't watched local TV channels for years, but for me, just watching the news with all those awful, grisly pictures of syria et al is far worse than anything a soap could dish up. Agree anyway that children shouldn't be watching this nonsense. But then, neither should adults.

      faizoonm - 2012-06-19 10:32


      sharon.truebodyvice - 2012-06-19 10:56

      Well our news teaches children it is okay to kill, steal,cheat and to have sex with an HIV women and then all u have to do is take a shower, it is also okay to have big expensive cars without having to go to school to get educated first, it is also okay to leave work and dance in the street if u dont like ur wages and if someone paints a picture of ur so called prez with his dong out but if u rape a five yr old baby girl it is okay because it is only "troubling" suicide is real I am sure if I knew wot it would do to my family I would not have tried it myself when I was very much younger. Get off ur high horses and get real people u cant hide reality

  • daniel.w.gie - 2012-06-19 08:28

    7 de laan is doing more for racial unity in this country , than any other programme . we love them all .....Herman is playing a pivotal role .. Not easy .... the script writers are truly talented .... the complaints are really silly . I understand that some viewers can relatein part to their own experiences, that is the whole idea .

  • isabel.hodgson.16 - 2012-06-19 08:31

    So the neurotics, eternal critics won again. As a positive person I appreciated the painful intensity that a person, considering suicide, suffers from. It is awful and it provided us with an insight to such a situation and that there is always a way out. Thank you 7de Laan, I was so happy that there was a positive result in your portrayal of a suicide situation.

  • Acta - 2012-06-19 08:32

    ROTFL! This is the sort of thing that is going to happen in soaps, there is a lot of things that is bad for younger viewers in any soap, murder, premartial sex, infidelity, lying etc. If you dont like it, dont watch the show. SABC should of at least got the age restriction right.

  • mika.swart - 2012-06-19 08:43

    Children of 13 traumatised by a attempted suicide sense...I don't believe it. Some people just love to complain I guess. It said PG13V 'VILONCE' if you allowed your 13year old child to watch it, that would be the parents fault. Not the director or the actor. What's next, no more accidents on tv, no more stress related stories no more EVERYDAY life situations?

  • Goggiedol - 2012-06-19 08:49

    I think that 7de laan is a great show on its own they dont need a suicidal story line to get viewers and parents should be more aware of what they allow their children to watch considering the fact that there is more junk on tv these days than anything else especially on the SABC Channels.. Know when to to put your TV off its that simple or get DSTV where there is Parental control

  • desree.booysen - 2012-06-19 08:52

    I think da viewers are just overreacting these are things dat happen all da time in our society,

  • refiloe.shikwambana - 2012-06-19 08:54

    I saw that episode and didnt see any problem with it. they are more serious and disturbing thngs on SABC than that.

  • Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-06-19 09:05

    Oh please!! And the bedhopping in Days and Bold?

      nathanjaysa - 2012-06-19 10:27

      Precisely my point....if that's not concerning enough to us parents worrying what our teenagers learn from that and before people critic my comment, many young teenagers mostly girls watch those 2 soapies its a GIVEN fact.

      faizoonm - 2012-06-19 10:49


  • richard.hipkin - 2012-06-19 09:14

    Oh boy, the do-gooders won again..

  • Mtk.the.poet - 2012-06-19 09:20

    That's why I call them lovely South African Broadcasting Clowns shortly SABC

  • jo.vankatwijk - 2012-06-19 09:23

    For heavens sake, that scene was ages ago and only now it's making the news here? I'm sure very few children actually watch this soapie anyway. I agree that it is tons better than Bold or Days.

      mary.sadler.35 - 2012-06-19 09:44

      Good grief, people actually watch more than one and can compare?

  • adrian.blundell - 2012-06-19 09:47

    Well, I wish the SABC would stop screening adverts for horrific programs such as Supernatural in the same timeslot as 7de Laan... that was much worse than anything I have ever seen on 7de.

  • martin.britchford.5 - 2012-06-19 09:53

    fff sake okes, lets just bring "LOVING" OR "NEIGHBOURS" back, ooooh or dallas, everyone loves dallas..

      stormers.fanbasefull - 2012-06-19 15:43

      Wish granted. New Dallas coming soon. Personally I cant wait. Should be better than the crap the SABC dishes up and shoves down our throats. JR RIDES AND CONNIVES AGAIN!

  • Paul - 2012-06-19 12:04

    What a load of horse S!*t, take responsibility for the up bring of YOUR child, it is not the responsibility of the broadcaster, it is yours as a parent, there was a warning before the time that there would be content that may be disturbing to younger or sensitive viewers. I mean really if you want to go that far then the News should also be taken to task! It boils down to FREEDOM of CHOICE, YOU choose to watch or YOU don't, come on people!!!

  • bernice.thompson.77 - 2012-06-19 12:53

    I agree that suicide is a serious issue and should never be taken lightly. But these neurotic people that always have to make an issue of everything seriously need to lighten up. I have seen worse things in BART SIMPSON and general CARTOONS our children watch.

  • claudia.govender.7 - 2012-06-19 13:16

    hey it’s funny how I just read this now, I watched Walker Texas Ranger last night, it was screened at 17h30 family time as well, and there was an attempted suicide on as well, person attempting to take his own life due to certain circumstances.....I watched another episode I think on Friday there was a kidnapping scene of a bus load of rich school kids who were kidnapped for a ransom very graphic details as well, this is just a few, but my point here is why pick on one soap or series or whatever, there is something in almost everything we watch, that could be influencing crime etc. in our country all the soaps let’s take SA Soaps they all have offensive and influencing crime in our country, I watched a soapie where there was a rape... I actually mentioned to my kids why did they bring this into the story and that said "mum it is a reality" so where do we draw the line, just saying

  • chris.abrahamse.5 - 2012-06-19 13:55

    It is absolutely essential that the identities of the complainants be disclosed. I suspect that most are just "stirrers" !!

  • dekkeranton - 2012-06-19 14:47

    I find this entire saga insane, and ridiculous. “Soapies” are by their nature not family viewing material, and to blame the actor for the content of his character shows how little people know about the process of creating these kinds of programs. Why not complain to the BCC about the lies, back stabbing, immorality, fornication, debauchery, deceit, murder, corruption, etc. that is the staple of any and all soapies, and in some cases the horrifically bad story lines, incompetent directing, badly written dialogue, farfetched and fanciful settings and non-existing acting ability of the cast. If you want family viewing, don’t watch soapies. Furthermore, the actor only portrays the character within the outlines as created by the writing team, the director and the producer.

  • phila.kunene.355 - 2012-06-19 15:56

    Which children are we trying to protect here? By definition a child is someone less than 18 years old? If yes which rules govern them since they do things that they are supposedly not to do. They smoke,drink all kinds of toxic materials, induLge in sexual activities, kill, steal,rape and one can add lots of their irresponsible behaviours. As a parent raise your child the way you want, if you want to raise a tsotsi,rapist,killer,white collar criminal,racist,doctor,lawyer etc. It is entirely up to you. I wish to live long enough to see a day when there will be haters slot in a funeral program to express how bad a person was. Parents must remember that what we see today is their end product. The hatred amongst different races is at its highest presently and it will continue because parents are still grooming children to hate the other race in every possible way. How should a 45 years old male respond when 3 sixteen year old boys insult him in a mall whilst he is with his wife and children a boy and a daughter, 12 and 5 years respectively. Since we have racist minds you can as well put colour and come with the reaction of the 45 years old male.

  • edna.koch.9 - 2012-06-19 16:19

    Everything in 7de Laan is negative !

  • paul.adonis.750 - 2012-06-19 22:27

    Suicide is a reality. You cant hide things such as these from children.

  • paul.adonis.750 - 2012-06-19 22:29

    Suicide is a reality. You can't escape it. It's portraited in the movies anyways.

  • Jesse Palmer - 2012-06-19 23:50

    About time something happened on 7de Laan...

  • ebrahiem.haywood - 2012-06-20 09:00

    Soapies are not for family viewing! Why are your kids watching it! And the kids of today watch what ever they want! Nd if u had a problem wit the scene ( sensitive) then u need counselling! Dnt blame the producer nd actor for doing their job

  • sarah.aucamp - 2012-08-15 07:41

    Please do something with Gita, and get real impossible to be in control like that

  • sarah.aucamp - 2012-08-15 07:42

    Please get real with Gita just to good to be true really

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