The Advertising Standards Authority says it has received only one
complaint about a Sowetan advertisement the SABC refused to flight
because of references to racism and violence, writes Thom McLachlan in Business Day.

Gail Schimmel of the Advertising Standards Authority said the single complaint was lodged last week.

However, she said the authority did not base its rulings or how seriously it took any matter on the number of complaints, but rather on the validity of the complaint.

The Sowetan’s hard-hitting advertisement, released in a campaign leading up to Freedom Day on April 27, juxtaposed Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech with the atrocities it said South Africans were exposed to every day.

The SABC pulled the advertisement from two radio stations.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago has defended the move on the basis that the advert was “harping on racist and violent negatives such as child rape and farm killings as though this were the norm in SA”, which was not true.

One line, “I have a dream that one day farmers shall be brutally murdered and workers thrown into a lions’ den,” was a “clear example of this”, said Kganyago.

Commercial radio stations such as Talk Radio 702, Kaya FM and YFM ran the campaign, but MetroFM and 5FM were told they could not air it.

“We do not base our decisions on what other media organisations do. The SABC is the only public service broadcaster in SA,” Kganyago said.

The Sowetan was entitled to disagree with the move, he said.

“We shall not take responsibility for airing a product that may be seen as promoting hatred, violence, racism and cruelty.”

Sowetan editor Thabo Leshilo said that while the advert might have used negative sentiments, the message it attempted to get across was positive.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.