The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has reprimanded Power FM for contravening the BCCSA Free-to-air Code of Conduct for Broadcasting Service Licensees. This follows a complaint against Power FM lodged by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). The SAJBD’s complaint was based on a programme broadcast on 12 May 2021 during which several callers-in propagated various antisemitic conspiracy theories without being challenged by the host Lukhona Mnguni, as well as on the fact that Power FM had subsequently declined to provide the SAJBD with an opportunity to refute these assertions on a subsequent programme. The BCCSA ruled that Power FM had contravened Clause 13(1) of the Code by failing to “make reasonable efforts to fairly present opposing points of view either in the same programme or in a subsequent programme”.
Among the comments made during the show that the SAJBD objected to were claims that Jews had used their alleged financial power to start wars and revolutions throughout history and that in South Africa they had taken over “all the financial systems, banks, medical aids and insurance companies but gave the black people nothing”. Reference was also made to the notorious antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
SAJBD Gauteng Chairperson Professor Karen Milner said that the ruling had highlighted the responsibility of broadcasters to allow for a right of response in cases where people had been maligned on the basis of their religion and/or ethnicity.
“The myth that Jews are guilty of furthering their own selfish interests at the expense of everyone else through their alleged secret control of the world economy has been a staple of antisemitic propaganda throughout history. At the very least Power FM, should have allowed the SAJBD, the representative voice and civil rights lobby of the Jewish community, an opportunity to respond to these racially defamatory allegations” she said.
The SAJBD condemns the scapegoating and denigration of any group whether defined by race, ethnicity, religion or other such grounds.