A complaint was lodged that an investigative programme broadcast by the Respondent did not include a reply by the Complainants, two of whom were subjected to criticism in a matter of public importance: the matter being the rights of the widow of a farm labourer to remain on the farm after the death of her husband, who had been a worker on the farm for many years. The widow stated on air that she had been instructed by the erstwhile employers of her late husband to leave the farm, and also informed that her children were not permitted to live on the farm. The widow also criticised the first two Complainants on air of not having taken proper care of the first Complainant’s father after the latter was attacked with a panga by an intruder who had also killed the man’s wife. The truth of this allegation was denied by the first two Complainants and claimed to be defamatory.
The BCCSA Tribunal upheld the Complaints on the basis that a reply by the Complainants was not included in the broadcast. It was accepted, in favour of the SABC and without deciding the point, that the reporter involved had attempted to reach the Complainants for their input. However, this was not mentioned in the programme as broadcast.
The said two complaints were, accordingly, upheld.