A complaint was received from Worldwide Foundation CC, T/A Rhino Force, in regard to a programme aired on the show “50/50” broadcast by SABC2. The subject of the interview was the sale of bracelets by the Complainant, which undertook to clients that it would donate the profit from each sale to saving rhinos, which are currently being killed by poachers on a large scale for commercial purposes. The complaint was that the interview was not balanced, and that, in spite of the SABC’s production team being provided with facts that demonstrated the Complainant’s honesty, the programme nevertheless projected an image of dishonesty.
- Whilst the original reason for the programme was reasonable and justified, and certainly dealt with a controversial issue of public importance, the programme was not fair to the Complainant. The errors of fact, together with the omission of relevant material, amounted to a contravention of the BCCSA Code.
- The programme included facts and opinions that were not based on facts, or on a reasonable perception thereof.
- Furthermore, the programme created an impression of dishonesty and/or lack of transparency on the part of the Complainant – an impression which was not based on the facts.
- Moreover, the programme referred to facts, or opinion stated as facts, to which the Complainant was not given a substantively fair right of reply, and in so doing, the programme did not provide sufficient balance to afford audiences the opportunity of forming their own opinions.
In the result the complaint was upheld and the SABC reprimanded for its contravention of the Broadcasting Code.