Cape Town – The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has found that the public broadcaster's sexed-up soap Generations didn't breach the broadcasting code but ordered the SABC to add an additional warning for the "ultra-suggestive sex scenes" that SABC1 is broadcasting before the so-called "watershed period" when children are still watching TV.
The BCCSA case and judgment came after the SABC and the viewer watchdog organisation were flooded by viewer complaints two weeks ago over a sex storyline and accompanied similar to that of Shades of Grey.
Viewers complained that they're no longer able to watch the supposedly family entertainment weekday prime time soap opera from Morula Pictures over the "soft porn" content in a storyline in which a woman uses sex to take revenge and that's been deemed not suitable for children.
Viewers like Segomoco Morake said that Generations - The Legacy has "too much sex now" and that "either the producers change the script or we make a petition to remove it from our televisions because I can't afford to watch pornography with my children while I'm a loyal SABC TV licence payer".
Audrey Mathebula said "Generations - The Legacy is no longer suitable for viewing with the whole family. It's disgusting the way it's being shown, it should move to 10pm when the kids are fast asleep."
The complaints over the racy visuals placed new emphasis on the question of what the real role of the SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster is that has a mandate to foremost inform and educate, and then entertain.
The risqué Generations - The Legacy scenes caused a flood of complaints with the BCCSA that received 160 complaints from viewers.
Interestingly the SABC broadcast the Generations - The Legacy episodes at 20:00 - an hour before the so-called "watershed" period kicks in at 21:00. It is only between 21:00 and 05:00 when the SABC is allowed to show somewhat racier entertainment content with adequate on-screen warnings.
Following the complaints, the SABC did pull the Saturday omnibus at 09:00 in the morning, but the weekday repeats at 09:00 remained. Both these time periods also fall outside of the watershed period when a lot of children are watching public television.
The BCCSA in its judgment found that the SABC "has not breached any of the provisions of the Code of Conduct".
The BCCSA found that Generations - The Legacy didn't show explicit sex scenes but "do test the line between suggestive sex and explicit sex".
"The groaning kisses and/or systematic removal of clothing do also test the thin line between suggestive sex and explicit sex."
According to the BCCSA "The subsequent actions of the SABC do indicate that the SABC did concede that the audience complaints may have some validity".
"The SABC decided not to air the offending episodes on its usual omnibus on Saturday 22 July 2017, and the episode of 14 July has since been completely removed from YouTube without explanation".
The BCCSA ordered that the SABC "must place an additional audience advisory whenever such ultra-suggestive sex scenes" are shown.
The BCCSA ordered the SABC to use the words: "Today's episode may contain some scenes which involve suggestive sex. Viewer discretion is advised."