On Special Assignment
tonight (15 July):Episode Title:
Finale For A PaedophileDate:
Tuesday, 1 July, 2008Time:
On 3rd June 2008, Special Assignment broadcast an expose
of an alleged paedophile who has been under investigation for sexually abusing underage street boys. His name is Professor Graham Fitch and he was - until recently - an associate professor of music at UCT.
Shortly before broadcast, his lawyers contacted the show and threatened to sue the SABC for defamation if the expose was broadcast. The story was broadcast and caused shockwaves within UCT’s College of Music and among the general public.
According to the programme, friends, students and colleagues of the Professor allegedly found it very difficult and extremely traumatic to reconcile their knowledge of this eloquent, refined and talented artist with the shocking profile of an alleged crack-smoking paedophile.
In the wake of legal threats by his lawyers Special Assignment decided to do a follow-up story in order to find further evidence of the professor’s alleged offences. The show's investigations have unearthed certain incidents subsequent to the expose on 3rd June. These are revealed tonight.
Finale For A Paedophile is produced by Hazel Friedman.UPDATE
(28 July 2009)
The two episodes broadcast by the SABC were the subject of a tribunal at the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (Case number 01-2009: Dignity and Privacy).
The BCCSA found the SABC guilty of negligence and defamation in having broadcast these programmes and fined the broadcaster the highest amount in the history of South African broadcasting: R30,000 for the first programme, and R50,000 for the second, amounting to R80,000.
The BCCSA ruled that the programmes were not in the interests of public broadcast:
"[We] held that the reasonable viewer would regard the programmes as being defamatory of Prof Fitch. The programmes did not meet the standards which are required to establish the truth," the BCCSA said.
"In the absence of convincing truthful evidence, the legitimate public interest defence does not even come into play."
SABC applied for leave to appeal, which the Judge denied.
SABC and Journeyman Pictures complied with this ruling and have removed the broadcast from their archives.Judgment SummaryFull Judgement