IT may not be good television, but the controversial international news programme, Naked News, does not fall foul of the Broadcasting Code of Conduct, a full tribunal of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa ruled yesterday.
Naked News is an international news programme screened after the late-night movie on Friday nights on e.tv and features female presenters who are either naked or strip during the bulletin.
Last month, the registrar of the commission dismissed complaints against the programme. The case was, however, referred to a tribunal after a host of complaints.
Tribunal chairperson Kobus van Rooyen said in his judgment he doubted very much if the complainants ever watched the programme.
He said nudity as such was not necessarily obscene or indecent and, except in the case of child pornography, not prohibited in publications or films.
“A case could also not be made that the nudity portrayed is likely to contribute to violence against women, or to rape … the test in law is not that of the dysfunctional person [but] that of the normal adult person who, according to law, must tolerate the possibility that other adults may wish to watch nudity or explicit sex at midnight in their own homes,” he said.
Van Rooyen said neither the nude news readers in Naked News nor the naked people they interviewed were portrayed in a sexually provocative manner.
“At most, one is inclined to question the taste of adult viewers who have a serious interest in nudity that is portrayed simply for its own sake.” He described the programme as a “decidedly feeble lampoon”.
“Of course, it is also true, and we are convinced that this is the case, that most viewers would simply watch the Naked News out of curiosity, and that very few of these viewers would be likely to watch Naked News again, or on a regular basis.”
He said the tribunal could find nothing in the programme that was considered to be degrading to women or contribute to violence against women.