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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SABC removes anti-semitic picture - but their excuse doesn't hold water

Earlier this week I posted about an anti-semitic photo that accompanied a story in South Africa's SABC - an image that had nothing to do with the story. The poster depicted a stereotypical Orthodox Jew as a monkey.

One of my readers emailed it to the South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies, who complained to the general manager at SABC. 

SABC responded:
The SABC received a number of complaints about the image accompanying a
report headlined “Israel making inroads in halting African migration”,
published on 24 August on the SABC News website. The picture accompanied
a report supplied by a respected news agency and which was published by
many media outlets around the world.

While we stand by the report, the SABC removed the image in response to
the complaints received.
As far as I can tell, SABC is lying when they say that AP (which supplied the story) had sent that photo over to illustrate it. I could not find a single other news outlet that used the offensive photo; in fact, this is the one that was used most often:


Moreover, the original offensive image was not snapped by AP, but by Reuters. (photo 9)

So while the SABC is to be commended for replacing the clearly offensive and irrelevant photo, the fact is that someone at SABC chose it deliberately - it was not from the wire service. And SABC's excuse is simply not true, which may be almost as problematic as the offensive photo was to begin with. The response is essentially a cover-up - the sort of thing the media pretends to expose when others do it. Instead of owning up to the decision and getting to the bottom of how the photo got there, SABC is hoping no one will notice their lies so they can continue to do business as usual.

(h/t Avril)