Radio stations in the dog box over airing of political ads
Bloopers have landed two radio stations in hot water‚ after they incorrectly aired political ads in the run-up to the local government elections.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) and Katlehong community station in Ekurhuleni Kasie FM appeared before the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (Icasa) Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) on Wednesday.
RSG flighted three Freedom Front Plus adverts on Monday‚ August 1 – within the 48-hour cooling-off period ahead of polling on election day‚ breaching broadcasting regulations.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) was quick to pick up and point out the error - something the SABC’s staff had not done‚ though they had been sent for training on compliance with regulations during the election period - and laid a complaint with Icasa.
The SABC said on Wednesday that the incident was an honest mistake‚ made by overwhelmed staff.
“We had to manage over 3000 political ads in July … There was a lot happening at the time‚” said commercial enterprise manager Abdul Mathee.
Said Ngoka Monyela of the broadcaster's policy and regulations department: “This was just an oversight and we have taken corrective measures.”
The SABC said the ad was pulled within 20 minutes of the complaint reaching it‚ leading the DA to withdraw its complaint.
Icasa pursued the matter anyway. “Non-compliance is non-compliance‚” said Icasa's broadcasting compliance manager Fikile Hlongwane.
Kasie FM's contravention relates to the consecutive airing of two political adverts‚ which is also not allowed.
On July 5‚ it flighted a DA advert immediately after an African National Congress advert.
The CCC will consider the merits of each of the cases and decide whether to impose sanctions on the stations.
Judgment has been reserved in both cases.