Consistent media monitoring results in public apology for incorrect reporting.

Ben Swartz – Chairman SAZF


On the 11th February 2018, Lesedi FM announced a factually incorrect and damaging news broadcast, regarding the way in which Israel was managing the proposed deportation of illegal migrants in Israel. 

Based on this, the SAZF submitted a formal complaint to the BCCSA and we would like to share the content of this submission. 

The report by Mr Motaung is palpably incorrect. It is flagrant non-truth that Israel wishes to deport “every black person”, and saying so amounts to an unwarranted slur against the State of Israel and its people. In addition to being deeply offensive to members both of the Jewish community and the many Christian supporters of Israel in our society, this inaccurate and inflammatory report has also sown unnecessary anxiety amongst black people wishing to visit Israel, whether for religious or other reasons … What Mr Motaung has done is to completely misrepresent Israel’s current program of relocation to a third country for those who have entered Israel illegally. This policy has nothing to do with racial or anti-African bias. Illegal immigration is a worldwide problem, including in South Africa, and like every country in the world, Israel has the right and obligation to protect its borders and to determine its economic migration policy in way that it believes to be in the best interests of its own citizens … It is worth adding that migrants who entered Israel illegally and choose to leave the country voluntarily by the end of March 2018 will receive a monetary grant of $3500, in addition to air fare allowing them to begin a new, respectable life in another country. Arrangements are in place with said third countries whereby economic migrants will be granted residence permits that allow them to work and to open businesses. In addition, only single asylum seekers males are included in this deportation order. Men who are married and have families, women from any of the countries of origin, whether single or married and children will not be required to leave. Israel’s approach to dealing with the difficult problem of illegal immigration in fact compares favourably with that of most other countries facing similar challenges, including South Africa.” 

On the 5th March 2018, the SAZF received a formal response by the BCCSA. Below are key excerpts: 

The SABC would like to sincerely apologise to the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) for the comments made by the presenter pertaining to Israel’s treatment of African illegal immigrants … The presenter misread an online newspaper report about “African Migrants” and misunderstood it to mean Africans in general … We are seriously aware of the influence that radio has in society and have no doubt that this matter may have brought an unnecessary panic to certain members of our society, of which we regret. It is for this reason that management of Lesedi FM is implementing corrective measures with the presenter concerned … The presenter has on the other owned up to his mistake and sincerely apologised.” 

The SAZF monitors the media on a daily basis and responds accordingly when the media shows unfair anti –Israel bias. It’s a 24 hour job! Additionally, we strive to build and maintain our media relationships, and provide fact based information where required. 

We are satisfied with this outcome and complement the BCCSA for their handling of this issue. We can only hope that presenters and journalists start looking into the real facts before broadcasting untruths in the future.

 Ben Swartz

Chairman of SAZF