BBC labels South African civil servant 'Gay Marriage' in interview

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 3:28am

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

But when the 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 harbour master at Transnet, South Africa's national transport company, spoke to BBC World News - said to have a global audience of 71 million - about the summit of BRICS leading emerging market economies 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 circulate them via e-mail as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

The BBC has now apologised.