[notice]Advertiser reviewing campaign over “explicit programming”[/notice]
In a remarkable about-turn on the controversial Naked News programme, an e.tv representative says the show contradicts the station’s “high family values” and was screened by “mistake”.
The apparent change of heart follows an advertiser giving notice that it might stop advertising on e.tv becuse of its “explicit programming”.
A national e.tv switch-off campaign was launched in early May after e.tv dismissed Christian viewers’ complaints that Naked News degraded women and was harmful to children. The show features naked female news presenters.
In a letter to a media agency following the advertiser’s notice that it was considering withdrawing its July/August advertising campaign, an e.tv account executive says that the station has “pulled” Naked News “due to its content being in contradiction to our policies”.
She says Naked News was funded and supplied complete by a client.
“Unfortunately at the time this AFP was signed, we did not realise the full negative impact, but we have pulled it as a result. We really do value the business entrusted to us by [the advertiser], we are devastated that our mistake in allowing this one programme to slip through has caused damage to our reputation as a family channel and threatened our relationship with your client,” she says.
She says that e.tv has not screened adult shows since August 2010 because of a decision to realign the channel with high family values.
Family Policy Institute director Errol Naidoo who launched the national e.tv switch-off campaign says: “I am not convinced by e.tv’s sudden family-friendly about turn. This is obviously a desperate attempt to retain their advertisers and more significantly – exposes the channel’s Achilles heel.”
Writing in a newsletter titled “The Two Faces of e.tv” he dismisses the channel’s claim in its letter to to the media agency, that it is committed to a “pro-family” programming schedule.
“Nothing can be further from the truth! e.tv has deservedly earned the reputation of a ‘tacky’ and ‘sleazy’ broadcaster – even from liberals. In fact, the channel has consistently been anti-family,” says Naidoo.
In contrast to the recent e.tv letter which says that Naked News was a “mistake”, e.tv has previously defended the programme on a number of fronts. In a standard response letter sent to many people who complained about the programme, e.tv said the constitution allowed freedom of choice to adults and that e.tv was exercising its right of freedom of expression. In an e.tv news bulletin following public protest marches to e.tv studios in Cape Town and Johannesburg, e.tv said the protests emanated from a small group of religious fundamentalists. Last week the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa ruled that Naked News did not contravene the Broadcasting Code. In his judgment, the BCCSA tribunal chairperson Professor Kobus van Rooyen SC said that e.tv had argued that the Broadcasting Code clearly permits it to broadcast this kind of “lampoon” material at that time of the night.
Gateway News has emailed questions to e.tv in which we ask whether the apparent turnaround on Naked News is official e.tv policy, and whether e.tv also intends to stop explicit advertisements such as its “sms PORN” campaign. e.tv has not responded.