The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a semi-autonomous public service broadcaster in the United Kingdom providing television and radio programmes. It is funded by an annual television licence fee charged to all British households, companies and organisations using the service. The fee is set annually by the British Government and agreed by Parliament. With more than 23,000 staff globally, it is the world's largest broadcaster. Founded in October 1922, it was initially privately owned but became a non-commercial entity in 1927. Its first transmission as the BBC went out in 1934, and an expanded service (now named the BBC Television Service) started from Alexandra Palace in 1936. It is governed by the BBC Trust and operates under a Royal Charter.
BBC labels South African civil servant 'Gay Marriage' in interview
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.