Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) calls on M-Net’s Big Brother programme to immediately remove Hannington Kuteesa from the show for physically assaulting female housemate Lerato Sengadi during the programme’s live broadcast on Tuesday evening.
The original footage of the altercation shows Kuteesa physically assaulting Sengadi. South African Police Service (SAPS) latest figures show that 156,319 women in South Africa experience some form of assault each year. This figure equates to a staggering 18 women assaulted every hour, every day of the year.
Big Brother’s broadcaster, M-Net, has issued a press statement in response, saying it takes the incident seriously and Big Brother is said to have provided the involved housemates with anger management counselling. Given the high rate of gender based violence, not only in South Africa, but on our continent, this is simply not good enough.
Kuteesa also apologised after the incident, but since when does an apology excuse criminal behaviour? While it may form part of a restorative justice process, it in no way excuses his actions, or mitigates M-Net’s failure to take real action in response to this attack.
South African media, and specifically M-Net in this case, should uphold the message that violence against women is a crime and will not be tolerated.
Given the current critique of media performance, it is more important than ever that those responsible for media output take responsibility for their programming and act in a manner that is in line with our Constitutional values.
To this end MMA calls on M-Net to publicly condemn all forms of gender based violence and remove Hannington Kuteesa from Big Brother with immediate effect. Not to do so is an insult to all woman, especially those who have been subjected to gender based violence.