Broadcast Regulation

South Africa: Broadcasting Watchdog Fines e.TV For Airing Covid-19 Conspiracy Show

e.TV, a prominent South African broadcaster and its news platform eNCA, has been fined by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA)for contravening the broadcasting code when one of its shows featured an interview with a conspiracy theorist that had claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic is a "hoax" and "there is no virus."
The BBCSA said it had investigated and sanctioned the broadcaster for airing an interview with American David Icke on its "So What Now" programme, during which he "made several statements about Covid-19 that were factually untrue".
The BBCSA ruling said that "We find that the potential harm to the population with this broadcast, and the host of the programme falling short by far to counter the misinformation divulged by David Icke, justify the imposition of a fine of R10 000".
Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) commenting on the matter said that eNCA"failed to present opposing views, somewhat effectively, the broadcasters appear to have taken the view that the broadcast of disinformation is permissible and defensible, despite this being below the standard required of responsible broadcasters by the Codes.
The BCCSA had instructed eNCA to also issue an apology before the start of the next episode of the So What Now? show.

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