Broadcast Regulation

South Africa: eNCA's Racism Case Dismissed By Industry Watchdog

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) has dismissed a complaint against eNCA over its reporter's alleged racism. Several complaints were submitted to BCCSA against the news broadcaster for airing material that encouraged hatred against black people. After consideration, the commission said it could not dispute that the reporter's conduct offended viewers. However, the interpretation of the conduct being advocacy of hatred against black people is unjust.

Lindsay Dentlinger,  the senior reporter and the news channel, faced criticism on social media after a news clip of her asking UDM's Nqabayomzi Kwankwa to wear a mask during an interview. In contrast, FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald was interviewed mask-less.

eNCA's response to the allegations said Dentlinger asked Kwankwa to keep his mask on because it seemed as though he thought he needed to remove it for the interview. The eNCA continued to say it is implausible that the reporter gave the instructions to discriminate against black MPs. The channel also added that eNCA's MD and its Managing Editor are black, and so is most management.

The commissioner for broadcasting complaints at BCCSA, Nokubonga Fakude, said out of several complaints lodged, only 11 complaints fitted the BCCSA's criteria for a bona fide complaint, including that of the UDM.  Fakude also noted that the BCCSA recognised past injustices that led to race sensitivity but concluded that the facts relating to this case could not be interpreted as advocacy of hatred against black people.

The are several views that can be considered reasonable from the broadcast. The most obvious is that, under the current regulations, precautions must be taken to curb the spread of COVID19, said Fakude.

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