The appeal by e.tv against a fine over the way it broadcast Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s death will only proceed after it pays the cost of the process, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCCSA) said on Thursday.
BCCSA chairman Kobus van Rooyen said he had to decide whether making e.tv pay a R35,000 fine was justified.
“Since the matter is, in a certain sense, a new one… I think it will be reasonable to allow leave on all the points raised by the applicant,” he said.
The cost had been set at R11,000 per appeal.
The appeal application was heard on February 21. In its application, e.tv said the “manner” of Gaddafi’s death was a matter of public interest.
“The violence in question was integral to the news story and essential if viewers were able to reach a proper view of the issues arising, and in particular in relation to how Colonel Gaddafi died,” it said.
The BCCSA issued its initial ruling against the broadcaster on February 17.
It received three complaints relating to e.tv’s eNews subscription channel, and its free-to-air channel for broadcasts on October 20, the day Gaddafi died, and on October 22 and 23 last year.
Viewers complained the footage was not always preceded by a warning that violent scenes would be shown. Where a warning was given for footage, no warning was given for the news headlines; and if a warning was given, the footage was too graphic, the complainants said.
Footage was also broadcast outside the watershed time and children could have been watching.
In its defence, e.tv said in some of the broadcasts the anchor made a mistake by not reading the advisory, but it was not aware that it was also required to give an advisory on news headlines.
In its initial judgement the BCCSA found e.tv’s approach of having “carte blanche” in regard to “war scenes” was unfounded in law. It had also “grossly overstepped” the bounds of necessity by repeatedly screening new mobile phone footage of Gaddafi’s death.