Showing Marikana footage an ‘error’

2012-11-05 16:48
Loyiso Sidimba
The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) has ruled that eNews Channel Africa’s (eNCA) airing of the graphic scenes of the August 16 Marikana massacre was a mistake.

An “absolutely disgusted” viewer, Attie De Bruin, complained that the footage showing police shooting dead 34 mineworkers during a wildcat strike at Lonmin’s Marikana mine was very graphic and unacceptable.

De Bruin was concerned by eNCA’s failure to warn viewers and apologise for showing the footage.

In its defence, eNCA said the footage was a direct feed from its satellite van in Marikana and that no moment of death was shown.

Only the aftermath of the incident could be seen, according to the channel.

“No graphic violence was actually shown. The offending visuals were only five seconds in duration,” the channel said in its submission to the BCCSA.

It said the visuals were immediately taken off air and were not repeated.

The channel said one of its producers decided to show the shooting due to the overwhelming public interest in the story.

The BCCSA said the producer made an error.

“The error led to viewers being subjected to a sudden scene of a dead or mortally wounded person,” the BCCSA ruled in a judgment handed down on October 15.

The BCCSA now expects broadcasters to learn from the Marikana massacre for the production and broadcasting of similar future events.

In February, eNCA and e.tv news were fined R35 000 for airing violent footage of the killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi more than a year ago.