BBC apologises after naming SA official ‘Gay Marriage’


LONDON — It was an innocuous interview about a diplomatic conference that not every viewer would have found fascinating.

The Guardian

But when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) got South African civil servant Rufus Lekala’s name wrong in an on-screen caption, it ended up causing a bigger stir than anticipated.

Instead of “Rufus Lekala”, the caption called him “Gay Marriage”.
Lekala, chief harbourmaster at Transnet, South Africa’s national transport company, spoke to BBC World News — said to have a global audience of 71 million — on Tuesday about the summit of Brics nations in Durban.

He was accompanied by an on-screen graphic that said “Gay Marriage”, presumably due to confusion with coverage of the debate in America over legalising same sex unions.

Viewers were quick to grab screen shots of the error and circulated them via email as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Transnet decided it could not leave the matter there.

Lunga Ngcobo, a spokeswoman, told South Africa’s Times newspaper: “We understood that it was a mistake. But we have asked (the) BBC to explain how this happened. We want them to get the facts correct. We think it’s a similar mistake that often happens (with) other media houses. But they apologised after (being) alerted about the error.”

The BBC has now said sorry. A spokeswoman in London explained: “During transmission of a recorded report on shipping in South Africa, a topline aston strap was erroneously transposed by our MosART automation system over a voiceclip from Captain Rufus Lekale from Transnet when the item played out in our 0800GMT news bulletin.

“We apologise to Captain Lekale for any embarrassment this technical error may have caused.”


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