Press Statement on the Press Ombudsman finding against the Dispatch

Issued by the Office of the ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary

We welcome the finding by the Press Ombudsman against Saturday Dispatch’s unethical story published about our provincial Secretary, Cde Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane, which was headlined: ‘give it to my boys.”

The finding proves to us that the newspaper acted unethical in gathering information for this story leading to equally unethical story, headline and cartoon published by the newspaper.
In the finding, the Press Ombudsman said:

Allegation as fact?: The newspaper stated both in the story, in its headline and in the cartoon as fact the allegation that Mabuyane had been implicated in corruption.
This is in breach of Section 2.3 of the Press Code (as cited above), as well as of Section 2.1, which reads, “The press shall take care to report news truthfully, accurately and fairly.”
Flawed, misleading newsgathering: Because not all information was put to Mabuyane to enable him to make a more informed response and clarify the allegations, and because the journalist (falsely) told him that Tywakadi could be heard saying that he had instructed him to reserve a tender for his people in Ngcobo, this is in breach of Section 1.1 of the Press Code that states, “News should be obtained…honestly and fairly…”
The Dispatch has been directed to implement the sanction supplied below:

Sanction

Saturday Dispatch is directed to apologise to Mabuyane for:

·       Stating as fact that the two officials referred to him when they spoke about a Nobhala who wanted to influence the awarding of a tender and to retract those statements;

·       The insinuation in the headline and the cartoon that he was guilty of corruption;

·       Not putting all information to him to have enabled him to make a more informed response; and

·       Falsely telling him that Tywakadi could be heard saying that he had instructed him to reserve a tender for his people in Ngcobo.

We would like to call on Journalists to always bear in mind the press code when they report stories so that journalism is not turned into a weapon to destroy people’s reputations, but a tool that informs society, that plays a watchdog role for society not to fight for sources.

It is needling to us to see journalists being used by sources of information to further their selfish narrow needs and interests. This story caused harm to our Provincial Secretary, his wife, children, family, Comrades and friends as well as the ANC.

We welcome the concessions made by the Editor and we want to believe that such came from a genuine heart, which in future will not allow such unethical breaches to happen in his newspaper.

We must reiterate that our Provincial Secretary did not instruct anyone, including Ray Tywakadi, nor Marion Mbina-Mthembu to manipulate any tender.

Ends…

NB: This statement must be attributed to the ANC Eastern Cape Spokesperson, Mlibo Qoboshiyane

Posted in Media Statements
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