Jacaranda FM did not contravene the Broadcasting Complaints Commission
of South Africa's code of conduct when regular guest Michaela Rikinis
referred to homosexuality in a disparaging way last October, according to a report in The Star.

The BCCSA has found that while some of her comments were perhaps in "questionable taste", it did not constitute a contravention of the code of conduct.

Last year, Dr John Bell complained that Rikinis, who appeared on Clayton Robertse's show, had referred disapprovingly to homosexuality.

"During the show, she referred to homosexuality in the most disparaging way, repeatedly calling it a 'perversion' and 'not normal'. It left the listener in no doubt that 'these people' don't belong in mainstream society," Bell stated in his formal complaint.

When the complaint was first lodged with the BCCSA, Jacaranda lawyer Arseyah Kadwa denied that the contents or context of the programme were in anyway biased, homophobic, discriminatory or an affront to the rights and dignity of homosexuals, or to Bell's rights and dignity.

The BCCSA has now found that although the words "perversion" and "abnormal" were used in connection with homosexuality, the words complained of, judged in context, did not constitute the advocacy of hatred or incitement to cause harm.

In her judgment, BCCSA commissioner Linda Venter stated that care should always be taken not to extract possible offensive parts from the overall context of a broadcast.

She added that the right to dignity must always be balanced against the right to freedom of expression.

Click here to read the full report, posted on iol.co.za.