Mr Sheasby lodged a complaint with the Registrar in regard to what he described as dangerous radioadvice given by a presenter on Cape Talk. The Tribunal was firstly of the view that given the time of the broadcast on a Saturday afternoon, a large number of children was likely to have been part of the audience. The advice given on the use of hydrofluoric acid for the removal of stain from glassware should have been accompanied by a warning as to the extreme danger of the use of this acid.

The next question was whether there was not, in any case, a duty to have warned even adult listeners. The Tribunal was of the view that the dangers of the use of hydrofluoric acid are so important that they qualify as a matter of “public importance” in terms of clause 35 of the Broadcasting Code. This is no ordinary common danger of which reasonable persons would be aware. Even if it is generally expected of consumers and listeners that they will read the inscriptions on a container, the present case is a special one where a warning is required.   

The Tribunal was, accordingly, of the view that clauses 18.1 and 35 of the Code had been contravened. Cape Talk was directed to broadcast, with reference to the programme in which the hydrofluoric acid was first mentioned, that the use of hydrofluoric acid is extremely dangerous, that the directions on the container should be read before use, and that such a container should be kept in a place where it would be outside the reach of small children. This broadcast should take place in the same programme on or before 14 August 2006, and the draft of the text of the correction must be sent to the Registrar for approval before broadcast. The broadcast must mention that the BCCSA ordered this correction.

[2006] JOL 18025 (BCTSA)