Gareth Cliff fined 2

Photo: Twitter / Gareth Cliff

Gareth Cliff: eNCA, eTV fined R10k for airing controversial interview

Presenter Gareth Cliff must apologise the next time he hosts his TV show, after the BCCSA flagged an episode for ‘airing dangerous views’ back in July.

Gareth Cliff fined 2

Photo: Twitter / Gareth Cliff

TV host Gareth Cliff has landed his employers in hot water, after he interviewed a controversial conspiracy theorist at the height of the pandemic. The popular personality on South Africa’s airwaves had ended up costing both eNCA and eTV a total of R10 000 – and he has also been told to apologise to viewers live on air.

Why has Gareth Cliff landed eNCA with a fine?

Gareth Cliff invited David Icke on to an episode of So What Now? – during the surge of our COVID-19 battle. In July, hundreds of people were dying as cases shot through the roof. Icke has been ostracised in the UK for a series of bizarre claims – the most infamous of which suggests that Queen Elizabeth is actually a reptile.

Why this is the calibre of guest eNCA, eTV and Cliff believed would be constructive in the face of a national crisis still remains anyone’s guess. The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa have investigated the matter, and concluded that the presented failed to challenge ‘harmful speech’ while live on-air.

‘Apology’ to be broadcast live on-air

This breach of the broadcasting code has lumped eNCA and eTV with a five-figure fine. Gareth Cliff now has until Sunday 15 November to apologise to the viewers, and his show airs weekly on Wednesday evenings. He’s been instructed to follow the apology recommended by the BCCSA – and was also given a 48-hour window to notify the complainant.

  • This is the apology Cliff must read out

“On 22 and 23 July 2020, eNCA and eTV broadcast an interview with Mr David Icke, known as a conspiracy theorist, on the show titled So What Now? – In that interview, Mr Icke set forth his theories about the pandemic, which included false information claiming the pandemic to be a hoax and a scam and that there was no virus.”

“Media Monitoring Africa complained that the show breached relevant broadcasting codes in a series of respects. Its complaint has now been upheld by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa, which says the show breached codes. This was because the show contained views expressed that were not based on any facts truly stated.”

“Both eNCA and do not agree with or support the views expressed by Mr Icke relating to the existence of Covid-19 which continues to be a pandemic affecting the citizens of South Africa. We apologise for the fact that it did not protect the public from the potential harm and misinformation contained in the interview.”

BCCSA’s prepared statement