eNCA has been cleared of wrongdoing in a complaint to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) in which the television news channel was accused of combining two clips to create the impression of praying at a meeting addressed by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Cyril Ramaphosa was addressing a group of people. It was shown where this group was closing their eyes in prayer – supposedly supporting Cyril Ramaphosa. It was obvious that the crowd of people was at a church rally of some sort – and not the same crowd at the same time supporting Cyril Ramaphosa. I want to formally lay a complaint against E-TV for dishonest reporting!” the complainant wrote in his motivation.
But the BCCSA’s complaints tribunal chairman, Kobus van Rooyen, disagreed. “The viewing of the material at the hearing of the matter clearly demonstrated that this was not the case,” Van Rooyen said in his judgment. “A man with clearly identifiable clothing was shown to have been part of the audience in both instances, and in both he was sitting in the same place.”
eNCA, in its submission to the BCCSA, said the report on the rally in Kempton Park in support of the ANC showed “some few people” in the audience praying during the gathering.
“But they were not from some church service elsewhere as claimed by the complainant. There was no superimposition of any audience and on the basis of this we submit that the complaint is without merit and should be dismissed,” it said.
At the hearing, it was pointed out to the tribunal that at the meeting a man with clearly identifiable clothing was also a member of the group of people praying at the same meeting, said Van Rooyen. “In both instances, the audience shown was one and the same group of people.”
“The complaint was, of course, of a serious nature, in the sense that it pertained to conduct that would have amounted to nothing less than fraud,” he said. “However, facts before us clearly indicated that the reputation of e.tv had been unjustifiably called into question by the complainant.”