Complaints that a representative overview was not provided in a Carte Blanche programme that dealt with the fees of veterinarians not upheld. It was found that the reasonable viewer would have seen the programme as informative and that, in any case, the veterinarians interviewed clearly explained fee structures. The President of the South African Veterinary Council also explained clearly, effectively and succinctly that the Council was not permitted by the Competition Commission to set guidelines as to fees. It was clear that the Council’s good name had not suffered as a result of the programme and that, in any case, pet owners would be more likely to check fees before booking pets in for treatment, with the further realisation that pet ownership could be generally expensive. In the end, the interviews provided perspective to viewers concerning fee structures, particularly regarding the provision of after-hours service. Ultimately, the reasonable viewer would have realised that the veterinarians who had been selected were all from Johannesburg, and the viewer would, in any case, have compared their fees with those charged by their own local veterinarians.
The Commission, inter alia, concluded as follows:
“In the result we have come to the conclusion that M-Net did not contravene the Broadcasting Code, and that the South African Veterinary Council’s good name has not been sullied – the saving aspect having been the President’s clarification regarding fees charged. In like manner, we concluded that the good name of South African veterinarians was not, in any manner, sullied by the programme. Reasonable viewers are not that gullible.”
The Complaints were not upheld.