Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Nissan 5761 - April 18, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Technicalities Get Antisemitic Radio Station In Cape Town Off The Hook
by D. Saks

Procedural and technical irregularities on the part of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the official body set up to deal with media racism in South Africa, recently enabled Radio 786, a Muslim community radio station in Cape Town, to evade prosecution for broadcasting antisemitism.

On 12 April, the Johannesburg High Court ruled that a decision by the IBA to hold a hearing into a complaint lodged by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) against Radio 786 be set aside on technical grounds. The case has its origins in an antisemitic program broadcast by Radio 786 in May 1998.

In a scathing 24-page judgment, Mr. Justice D. Marais, the presiding judge in the case, lambasted the officials of the IBA for their failure to process the complaint by the SAJBD correctly. He said that it was "lamentable" that public officials should perform their duties in this way and added that it was unfortunate that the SAJBD, the fourth respondent has, as a result of this incompetence, been "deprived of the right which the Act envisages of a speedy hearing of a serious complaint." It was further unfortunate, he said, that the decision in a matter of this nature should be determined by the procedural irregularities committed by the IBA and the head of its Monitoring and Complaints Department for which the SAJBD was not to blame.

In a press statement, the SAJBD stressed that the Court's decision in no way exonerated Radio 786 on the charge of broadcasting antisemitic material. The Court's decision had been made on technical and procedural grounds only and at no stage dealt with the substance of the SAJBD's original complaint.

In a series of offensive programs, Radio 786 repeatedly alleged that there existed an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world and in particular to subjugate Muslims and to harm Muslim interests. Jews were routinely represented as being by their very nature conspiratorial, treacherous, manipulative and deceitful.

The SAJBD, in its letter of complaint, alleged that not only did these broadcasts constitute antisemitism at its worst but were particularly dangerous given the volatile nature of certain sectors of Western Cape society, where racist statements could reasonably be said to constitute incitement to cause harm. During the past three years, attacks on the Jewish community in Cape Town have included bombing attacks on a Jewish bookshop and a synagogue.


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