Utter gutter journalism

2012-01-21 10:22

We were shocked and disappointed by the story published in City Press on January 8 2012 headlined “Kola Boof: is she Zuma’s fancy or a spoof?”.

The story about a woman, Kola Boof, who claims to have met and communicated with President Jacob Zuma about an invitation to come to South Africa took almost the entire page 3.

The report also alleged, among other things, that the president had naked pictures of the woman.

It was surprising because the new City Press has been more circumspect and has not had any reason to resort to such gutter journalism.

Both the headline and the story have no basis in fact or fair journalism.

The newspaper had the audacity to take unverified writings on a social network by a woman who City Press itself confirms as being “not new to controversy involving prominent politicians and leaders”.

When contacted for comment, presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj did in fact complain as much, warning City Press not to descend to gutter journalism.

City Press nevertheless went ahead and published the story, not only elevating gossip, but giving it prominence of space, resulting in the propagation of a story that was false, unbalanced, sensational and which cast aspersions on the person and office of President Zuma.

For the record, the president does not know and has never met this woman, nor has Mr Maharaj ever spoken to this character.

Her hallucinations should never have been entertained in this manner.

It is a matter of concern that when it comes to the person of the president, rumour-mongering is elevated into fact and becomes de rigueur to be repeated by other journalists, even where the claim is blatantly untrue and implausible.

This widespread and sustained practice is either bad journalism or a conscious campaign against the president.

We trust that City Press will stick to the facts.

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