e.tv and eNCA have been fined R10 000 for broadcasting a specific episode of Gareth Cliff’s show, “So What Now?” that aired on July 22 during the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Media Monitoring Africa submitted their complaint to the BCCSA after the show aired stating that the contents of the broadcast were unlawful, harmful, and in breach of the provisions of both the Subscription Broadcast Code of Conduct and the Free to Air Code of Conduct.
In official documents MMA said: “MMA submits that the broadcast was harmful for at least three key reasons: first, the broadcast intentionally disseminated disinformation based on facts that were untrue; second, the broadcast promoted unlawful conduct that was in violation of the regulations issued under the Disaster Management Act; and third, by denying the existence of Covid-19 and claiming it to be a scam, the consequence of the broadcast may result in people not following appropriate precautionary and health measures in line with the advice of the relevant authorities”.
The BCCSA fined the broadcasters R10 000 which is to be paid by November 15 to the Registrar of the BCCSA. And the broadcasting of an apology by both broadcasters at the start of the programme “So what now?” the first episode after publication of this judgement.
On 22 and 23 July 2020, eNCA and eTV broadcast an interview with Mr David Icke, known as a conspiracy theorist, on the show titled”So what now?. Media Monitoring Africa complained that the show breached the relevant broadcasting codes in a series of respects.
Its complaint has now been upheld by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa, which has held that the show breached the codes.