A ruling yesterday by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) that e.tv’s Naked News programme does not contravene the Broadcasting Code of Conduct has been sharply criticised by Christian values activists.
BCCSA tribunal chairman Professor Kobus van Rooyen SC dismissed complaints that the late-night programme which features naked news presenters was degrading to women or could contribute to violence against women. He said nudity was not necessarily obscene and was not prohibited in publications and films. He said advertisements before, during and after the programme did not fall under the tribunal’s jurisdiction and had therefore not been considered. (View full judgment)
Christian activists have responded by accusing the BCCSA of liberal bias and have called for the organisation to be scrapped and to be replaced by a “truly independent body accountable to the public.”
Over the past eight weeks members of the public have sent thousands of protest emails to e.tv, a national e.tv switch-off campaign has been launched, and about 150 anti-porn protestors in both Cape Town and Johannesburg handed over a memorandum to e.tv management calling on the channel to stop broadcasting sexually explicit programmes.
Reacting to yesterday’s BCCSA ruling, Family Policy Institute director Errol Naidoo said: “I am not surprised at the BCCSA ruling. The BCCSA was established and is funded by the liberal media as a self-regulating body to serve its own self interest. The body very seldom rules in the public’s favour. It has proven to be a biased organisation.
“The BCCSA is out of step with views and values of the vast majority of South African’s. The Broadcasting Code of Conduct was drafted by the liberal media to impose its Godless ideology on society. The vast majority of South Africans are opposed to nudity and pornography on national television. However, e.tv cunningly abuses freedom of expression to sexually exploit women and expose children to harmful content on national free-to-air television.
“We must not allow irresponsible broadcasters like e.tv to transform our airwaves into sewers of filth. I, therefore, call on all decent South Africans who care about the dignity and safety of women and children to continue the total boycott of the e-tv channel and to encourage family, friends and colleagues to do the same. ”
Taryn Hodgson, international co-ordinator of Christian Action Network said CAN was concerned at the blatant disregard that the BCCSA gave to any concerns raised by ordinary South African citizens about sexist and sexually explicit programmes on television.
“They appear to have refused to consider gender complaints or even contemplate gender issues such as sexism, as they are required to do under our Constitution, Equality Act (PEPUDA) and international convention obligations.
“The BCC is a self-regulating industry body. They are funded by the broadcasters, therefore claims of independence are questionable.
“The Christian Action Network therefore calls for the BCC to be scrapped and for a truly independent body accountable to the public to be formed.”
In a recent statement on the need to protect women and children, the Nelson Mandela Bay Consultation of Christian Churches (NMBCCC) which speaks on behalf of many churches in the metropole, says that the Naked News programme sexually objectifies women and is utterly insensitive in a society in which rape and abuse of women are a painful reality for many.