SAfm has been fined R20,000 for making an “unjustifiable connection with Islam” during two news bulletins, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) said.
Making the connection was “unfair”, the BCCSA said in its ruling, which was handed down on Friday.
A fine of R10 000 was imposed in each case.
The SA Muslim Network (Samnet) complained about a May 24 news clip about immigrants protesting in Switzerland over employment and other issues. In the clip it was stated that the protesters were not linked to any religion even though some Muslims were present among the protesters.
Samnet submitted that by inference there must have been members of other religious groups among the protesters and questioned why there was no mention of their religious affiliation.
It argued that this was “blatant prejudicial reporting”.
“We believe that this was an unnecessary clip, the terminology used casts Muslims in a negative light and together with other stories aired, reflect an Islamophobia pattern of the SABC news,” Samnet said in its complaint.
“This story would not have made headline news had there been no Muslims involved in the protests.”
SAfm submitted that the clip was sourced from the BBC and included a reference by a BBC reporter to the presence of Muslims among the protesters.
The broadcaster agreed that this should not have been stated.
The second complaint related to a 4pm news bulletin on the same day.