Complainants submitted to the BCCSA that the interview “amounted to the glamourisation of violence and the advocacy of hatred based on race and gender”.
They said the interview had sought to solicit sympathy for the convicted rapist and his family – and in the process insulted the rape victim and her family.
“The complainants contend further that the broadcast amounted to ‘white privilege’, in that crimes committed by white people are ‘humanised’,” said the BCCSA.
Many complainants submitted their grievances in the form of a petition – a method that is not accepted by the broadcasting watchdog.
“Although the immensity of the complaints is noted, the BCCSA does not consider petitioned complaints but instead deals with complaints directly from affected persons or duly represented persons, whether natural or juristic,” said the commission.
“It suffices that the interview with Nicholas’s mother formed part of the right to freedom of expression. In this sense … freedom of expression is not only limited to the broadcaster’s right to ‘speak’ but it extends to and encompasses the public’s right to be informed and to access accurate information.
“I cannot think of a more appropriate way a broadcaster can broadcast accurate information than getting this information from the source, whether it be the court, the perpetrator or the even the victim.
“The importance of an uncensored media cannot be overemphasised.
“In this case, it was crucial to get to understand the perpetrator – not for the purpose of sympathising with him, but for the purpose of unveiling the pandemic that has led to crimes of abuse and killings of society’s most vulnerable groups.”
The BCCSA said the SABC had fulfilled its role of educating viewers about the minds of perpetrators of such crimes.
“The broadcast was thus not an attempt to nullify the severity of the crime committed by Nicholas, but the purpose was to navigate other solutions, in addition to the criminal justice system, that will put an end to violence against women and children,” it said.