Radio station ordered to apologise to Christian schools body

Jacaranda FM radio station has been ordered to apologise to Die Beweging vir Christelik Volkseie Onderwys (BCVO) after “satirical” remarks by a presenter about matric results at BCVO schools backfired.

The order, by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) follows a complaint by the BVCO about remarks made by Jacaranda 94.2 FM presenter Rian van Heerden in a broadcast on January 4, following a morning news item about the 95% pass rate by the matriculants of the BCVO private schools. Immediately after the news Van Heerden said “that the matrics of the right wingers only had to answer two questions to pass, namely:

1. “Wie is Hendrik French Verwoerd? Answer: “Eerste minister” – correct

2. “Wie regeer die land? Answer: Die kommuniste – and if they did spell communists correctly they obtained a distinction.”

In its ruling, the BCCSA found that the remarks did not amount to religious hate speech but were defamatory. Tribunal chairman, Professor JCW van Rooyen SC, said that neither satire nor the attempt at a joke proposed by the radio station in its defence could prevent the remarks from being classified as defamatory. Jacaranda breached the Broadcasting Code by its presenter’s demeaning comments of the academic standards of BCVO matriculants.

The complaint was upheld and Jacaranda was directed to broadcast an apology over the news on two occasions before March 31.

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