702 host out of line for intolerance to opposing view

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Talk Radio 702 has been found guilty of intolerance to opposing view during one of its programmes on the role former president FW de Klerk in the country’s political discourse.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) ruled that 702 was in contravention of clause 13 which calls on the media to “make reasonable efforts to fairly present opposing points of view either in the same programme or in a subsequent programme”.

The debate was sparked by De Klerk’s inclusion in a National Dialogue panel alongside former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.

Following the broadcast which aired on ,7 May 2017, two complaints were received one of which by Chairperson of the De Klerk foundation, accused the shows host Eusebius McKaiser of launching a “vitriolic attack on Mr De Klerk without inviting comment in his defence”.

According to Steward when he phoned in to the show he was “shouted down” and “cut off” by McKaiser.

702 disputed Steward saying he had been given an opportunity to express his views but he instead chose to not address the matter at hand and opted to comment that there would not be a democratic South Africa if not for the role De Klerk played.

702 also contended that the debate was not about De Klerk as an individual but rather to discuss whether a former apartheid president should be part of discussions on the future of the country.

However the BCCSA dismissed the argument saying because De Klerk was the last apartheid president and as his foundation took part in the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative which gave rise to this discussion, it does not take much insight to realise that the intention of the programme was to discuss the person of De Klerk and his view.

The BCCSA also found that Mckaiser made no effort to question the view of callers who denounced De Klerk or present an opposing point of view.

The regulator also said the playing of a audio clip of a speech made by De Klerk in 1993 was played out of context and “was clearly intended to turn the sentiment against De Klerk”.

In its ruling the BCCSA has decided to issue 702 with a reprimand.

Read the full ruling case-number-13-2017

-Siphiwe Mchunu

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