The SABC's investigative journalism programme Special Assignment has
been fined R80 000 for accusing a Cape Town University professor of
sexual molestation of children, according to a report on iol.co.za
The two-part programme, aired on SABC3 on June 3 and July 3, 2008, claimed that Professor Graham Fitch had engaged in acts of sexual molestation of children.
Fitch filed a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCCSA) that the programmes had defamed him.
The SA Broadcasting Corporation responded by arguing that a reasonable viewer would judge the matter within context as mere allegations and that, given the tardiness of the police investigation – in their view – the broadcasts were in the public interest.
The BCCSA ruled, however, that the programmes were not in the public interest and that the producers were not reasonable in producing them.
"Held that the reasonable viewer would regard the programmes as being defamatory of Professor Fitch. The programmes did not meet the standards which are required to establish the truth," the BCCSA said.
Click here to read the full report, posted on iol.co.za.