Two complaints about use of alleged offensive and discriminatory vocabulary; distortion of truth televisionand of Hindu/Buddhist culture; and incorrect, defamatory, frivolous, contemptuous, insensitive and disrespectful statements, such as worshipping of cows and singing of lullabies to deities by non-Hindu presenters. The Tribunal held that broadcasters have no inherent limitation on the subjects that may be discussed by specific presenters as long as they represent a fair and proper presentation of opinion. Furthermore, the Hindu belief in the omnipresence of God should be borne in mind when phrases such as worshipping of cows are considered.  The reasonable viewer (and certainly Hindus) would have understood both phrases in the correct context.  Judged within the context in which the phrases were used (Indian lifestyle programme), it was clear that vocabulary was not condescending or demeaning and would not offend Hindus. In both broadcasts the phrases did not stand alone, but formed part of the running/flowing commentary.  There was no emphasis on the words worship and lullabies and the tone of voice of the presenters was not contemptuous in any way.  The right to freedom of expression includes the right to offend within reasonable limits.  Although freedom of expression must be limited when it sanctions, promotes or glamorises violence based on national or ethnic origin and/or religion, no traces of any of these could be found in the broadcasts.  Both programmes are bona fide documentaries and therefore exempted from a limitation of the right to freedom of expression.  In applying Clause 35.2 of the Code, the Tribunal concluded that it should be clear to audiences that the commentary made by the presenters of Eastern Mosaic represented opinions, which as a whole could be considered as having been fair. Regarding the question whether the broadcasts might have been experienced as hate speech based on religion, the Tribunal concluded that there was no advocacy of hatred or incitement to cause harm to Hindus.  Clearly none of the broadcasts was intended to injure, nor were they malicious or mala fide and thus cannot be seen to be injurious to Hindus. The likely reasonable viewer would not find the contents of the programmes beyond the contemporary standard of tolerance. No contravention of the Code could be found and the complaints were not upheld.

[2008] JOL 22444 (BCCSA)