MultiChoice has been slapped with another fine from the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for flighting promos and content on DStv that is harmful to children.
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Just a few weeks ago the pay-channel service was fined R25 000 for flighting content that was deemed to be harmful to children outside of the 8pm – 5am adult viewing period without the correct age classification. Now, MultiChoice has to pay another R15 000 fine before the end of February for the same infringement. That means that MultiChoice has had to pay R100 000 in fines over the past 18 months for the same contravention (ie. exposing children to harmful and age-inappropriate content).
MultiChoice blames “human error” for the mistakes, but the BCCSA isn’t buying it stating that the contraventions “is compounded by the fact that it seems that this type of contravention is becoming a part of a pattern of contraventions of this nature”. The BCCSA went on to state that:
In each case human error was presented by the broadcaster as an excuse for the contravention. In each case a fine was imposed but this does not seem to be a deterrent. Considering the importance of our duty to protect children in terms of the code, the tribunal will have to think hard on a sanction that could put a stop to this practice.
MultiChoice defended its errors further by claiming that, in certain instances, it doesn’t have control over the scheduling of promos. The BCCSA said that it can’t accept this argument and that MultiChoice has to take responsibility for the infringements and all of its scheduled broadcasting in terms of its broadcasting licence.
The BCCSA further said that:
From these and other similar cases, it is clear that negligence on the part of the broadcaster, and not technical problems, is mostly the recurring cause of contraventions of the Code of Conduct as far as the watershed rule and classification of programming is concerned. In other words, the broadcaster seems to have a problem with human error.