The Deputy Press Ombudsman of the Press Council of South Africa has ordered the Sunday Independent to publish an apology to public broadcaster SABC for its article entitled “SABC told to drop Malema story” published on 28 February.
According to a statement issued by the SABC, the Ombudsman’s decision is based on what it deems the “possible harm caused to the SABC’ by the story.
It was SABC board member Clifford Motsepe who lodged the complaint as he was the one in the article alleged to have instructed the SABC’s Regional News editor in Polokwane not to broadcast footage of a protest march by a group of businessmen in Limpopo. Motsepe and the SABC were on record as denying this allegation.
The Deputy Press Ombudsman found that the Sunday Independent based its story on the use of information received from an anonymous single source, and this was in breach of Art. 1.4 Of the Press Code.
The newspaper will also have to publish a summary of the finding and sanction by the Press Council in this matter. Sunday Independent has seven days to appeal from the date of the decision.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kgangayo said the SABC was heartened by and welcomed the “fair decision’ made by the Press Council. “As the media we have a responsibility and obligation to report news that is truthful and accurate. It is therefore disturbing when a media institution breaks the foundation of journalist principles in the pursuit of sensationalism, and more so when it is done against another media institution,’ he said.
To view the full ruling, go to www.presscouncil.org.za/pages/posts/clifford-motsepe-vs.-sunday-independent.