Thursday, 5 November 2020


Gareth Cliff and his show landed in hot water for spreading “dangerous misinformation” about Covid-19 and have been fined R10,000.

This is after an official ruling by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) that stated it had fined and eNCA R10k for airing an episode of Cliff’s show, So What Now? on July 22. The fine is to be paid by November 15 to the Registrar of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA).

In the episode, Gareth interviewed conspiracy theorist David Icke, who claimed Covid-19 didn't exist. The conspiracy theorist claimed that the “concerns” about Covid-19 were a scam, and he described it as a hoax.

While neither of them quoted any scientific or medical evidence about why they believed Covid-19 didn't exist, Gareth and David continued to make several untrue claims about the virus, the commission said.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) complained to the BCCSA and said the broadcast was unlawful, harmful, and in breach of SA's broadcasting code.

In their documents, the MMA stated, “In the current context, as SA and the world grapple with the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, broadcasts of this nature that patently seek to spread disinformation should be carefully scrutinised, as they do not serve the public interest or further any meaningful engagement on the subject.”

MMA said eNCA as a news broadcaster has a responsibility to ensure the credibility and truthfulness of the content it broadcasts.

It also stated that eNCA airing Gareth's show featuring David was “intentionally disseminated disinformation based on facts that were untrue” and it “promoted unlawful conduct that was in violation of the regulations issued under the Disaster Management Act”. Sowetan


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