Papgeld show gets second reprimand for not respecting parent's privacy

09 April 2019 - 08:03 By Ernest Mabuza
Moja Love has been fined R20,000 for violating a father's right to privacy.
Moja Love has been fined R20,000 for violating a father's right to privacy.
Image: 123RF/zimmytws

Moja Love channel 157 on DSTV found itself on the wrong side of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCCSA) for the second time in less than a month.

The BCCSA found that Channel 157 had violated the right of a father to privacy and dignity in a promo for its programme “No Excuse Pay Papgeld”.

The BCCSA fined Channel 157 R20,000 after the promotion, which aired a number of times in January, showed the man who was to be exposed as a parent who shirked his duty to pay maintenance.

Although the scenes in the promotion were fleeting, the man – who has not been named to protect the identity of his child – could be identified.

The channel’s TV crew barged into the man’s wedding reception to his second wife in Leondale, Ekurhuleni, on December 8 last year.

The man complained about the alleged illegal and unauthorised recording at his wedding. The man said that presenter Moss Makwati confronted him with “unresearched and unfounded” allegations.

He said the images of people who attended the wedding were shown without their consent.

In its defence, Channel 157 said it received consent from the complainant when it approached him in a tent with the crew.

In its judgment dated April 1, the BCCSA said from the written and other evidence before it, it was clear that the complainant’s private life and private concerns were severely intruded upon by the presenter and filming crew of the programme when they barged into the wedding reception.

“The complainant could be recognised on the excerpts broadcast in the promo, however fleeting. It appears that the wedding event was completely ruined by the actions of the broadcasting team. This caused serious humiliation to the complainant,” BCCSA chair Prof Henning Viljoen said in his judgment.

The BCCSA said complainant did not give his express and informed consent to be filmed, as required by law, because he was under duress.

“This is the second complaint of this nature lodged with the BCCSA the last few months where a programme (or a promo of such a programme) is broadcast as entertainment while the dispute between the parents has been or is being resolved by the Maintenance Court.”

The commission said it was contentious whether this form of entertainment protected the rights of children better than referring the dispute to the Maintenance Court.

The commission said the complainant was not a public figure.

It said although the public may have an interest in the private lives of men who allegedly did not pay maintenance or sufficient maintenance for their children, in this instance, there was no proof of the public having a legitimate public interest in the private affairs of the complainant.

“Our finding is that the broadcaster did not exercise exceptional care when it broadcasted this promo in which the complainant could be clearly identified.

"The result is that the right of the complainant to privacy and dignity was violated with this promo," Viljoen said. BCCSA deputy chair Brian Makeketa  and commissioner Nokubonga Fakude concurred in Viljoen's judgment.