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The Lotzes express gratitude for the work done by the Commission over their matter with M-Net

Media Statement: M-net

Attention: Editors and reporters

Date: 12 December 2014

“The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission) received a complaint from Professor Lotz relating to a 2008 Carte Blanche programme which broadcast pictures of his deceased daughter’s body. The programme was broadcast without prior notification to the parents and caused them both severe distress and trauma.

The Commission made recommendations to M-Net that it apologise to the Lotz parents for the violation of their right to dignity and privacy. In addition the Commission emphasized that while freedom of expression is of paramount importance in our democracy, respect for other rights were of equal importance. It recommended that measures should be put in place where reasonable to avoid undue trauma and pain to next of kin of deceased in such circumstances in the future. In making the recommendations the Commission considered approaches in other countries on similar matters.

Whilst M-Net originally opposed the complaint on the basis that the BCCSA has jurisdiction over its broadcast codes, in this instance M-Net considers the issue a human and not a legal one. M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle met with Professor and Mrs Lotz on 11 December 2014. At the meeting Ms Phahle expressed her unconditional apologies as well as those of M-Net to the Lotzes. M-Net also wishes to affirm its respect for the Commission and the work it does.

The Commission commends M-Net for its sensitivity to the Lotzes and its cooperation with the Commission. The Commission noted in its report that such complaints are to be addressed by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa as the forum of first recourse. It has also provided its recommendations to the BBCSA and ICASA for consideration.

The acceptance of M-Net’s apology by Professor Lotz and his wife has also been commendable given their loss. The Lotzes have also expressed their gratitude and respect for the work done by the Commission.


ENDS

Issued by the SA Human Rights Commission
Isaac Mangena, Spokesperson
071 884 8273

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]



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