December last year a radio station breakfast show decided it was a funny thing to make jokes about living with Dwarfism and directly poked fun at short stature using the “M” word they just slandered on and on. This bothered me so much because it was so demeaning and discriminating. What got me going was I had so called friends calling to ask me if I had heard the “funny midget” jokes on radio I just could not leave what had happened that morning so I emailed the radio station in question, I did not get a response instead they played a new set of “funny midget” jokes a few days later that was when I took the case to the Broadcastings complaints commition of South Africa, and this was their response after reviewing the case:
“Dear Ms Kay
Your complaint concerning the ******* jokes on ****** has reference.
We have listened to the material in question and considered your complaint. We agree that the jokes were in exceptionally questionable taste and it is our opinion that it at least, justifies an internal discussion at the radio station as to whether the internal policy of the station was, complied with.
The Broadcasting Code, however, only protect race, gender, ethnicity and religion against hate speech. Even if persons whom you represent had been included, the speech would not have amounted to the advocacy of hatred. In terms of the Code we, accordingly, cannot entertain this complaint.
We will, however, refer this matter to the station’s management for consideration of their internal policy, and will also refer this to the Chair of the Commission so that the Commission may, in future, consider what steps should be taken about other sections of the community who require protection.
We thank you for making use of our services.
First of all I did not submit it as HATE SPEECH!! And second you admit that it is in “exceptionally questionable taste”???? So the Broadcastings Commission completely misses the plot…..
As you can well imagine I was left very angry so I took it one step further I contacted the Human Rights Commission of South Africa as it states in our Bill of rights “section10” that discrimination of any kind is in violation of the act. I strongly believe the MEDIA should make a serious effort to be more aware of the jokes and terms they use on live air as it could have a influence on society and it makes it seem that its okay or funny to poke fun at a little person. I sure that any DJ would watch his words when it comes to joking about race so what makes them think its “OKAY” to joke about disabilities?
(TEXT BELOW QUOTED FROM INTERNET SOURCE)
“Terminology is important because words reflect our attitudes and beliefs, however some terms we tend to use may NOT reflect how some physically and mentally disabled people see themselves. Using the right words matters. ‘The names we get called and the status of the people doing the naming can have a enormous impact on our lives”
So after 10 months of waiting and back and forth emails I got a hearing date at the HRC and I met with the radio station and their legal team and it was just me and my file of facts. At one point I wondered what I had gotten my self into but I just thought well you made it this far and I might as well grab the bull by the horns. So im proud to say we got our official apology, which I tend to post on the Little People of South Africa blog , FaceBook page You name it im going to spread it, and I guess I can say without shame that I AM SO PROUD of this accomplishment, I promised Leah the day she was born I would fight for her rights and I will make sure I do whatever it takes to raise dwarfism awareness in South Africa