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South African DJ Suspended After On-Air "Interview" With Jesus

Dateline: 03/10/04

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5fm
Mail & Guardian Online is reporting the suspension of a South African presenter (DJ) for an on-air skit where he interviewed Jesus Christ.

Gareth Cliff was taken off the air for two days after numerous complaints from listeners of station 5fm.

According to its website, "5FM STEREO is a commercial and English-medium entertainment, music and information radio station targeted at an informed audience in the 16-34 ...[and] broadcasts 24-hours daily in the main urban areas of South Africa."

Cliff later apologized to listeners saying the "interview" was meant to be a parody of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ" and meant belittle any religion.

In the skit itself, Cliff played both interviewer and Jesus through a common recording technique used often in Radio.

Mail & Guardian Online quotes Nick Grubb, 5fm Programme Manager as saying, "We believe that the segment was inflammatory, and could have been interpreted negatively by a large portion of our listeners. Whilst Gareth is often irreverent and controversial, he merely overstepped the mark this time."

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