Mkhize: Paper won't apologise online

2010-08-17 13:46

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize lashed out at a Sunday newspaper for refusing to apologise to him on the internet following an article that claimed his wife and daughter had received lucrative government contracts.

Mkhize held a news conference on Tuesday, saying he would take the Sunday Tribune to court, if it refuses to publish an online apology about the article.

The Sunday Tribune published an article that said Mkhize's wife, May, and daughter, Nokulinda, had allegedly received large government tenders.

The Press Ombudsman ruled the article was in breach of the Press Code and directed the paper to apologise to Mkhize.

"This article did not only contain baseless and inaccurate allegations but it was also a direct attack on me as the premier of KZN and also defamed by family," said Mkhize.

After the ruling made by the Press Ombudsman, the Sunday Tribune published an apology on July 11.

‘Not a real apology’

"The Sunday Tribune initially sent through the apology they intended to publish, which looked more like an opinion piece and showed clear insistence on their part that they still believed that they were correct in publishing the defamatory article but were merely apologising because they had been instructed to do so," said Mkhize.

He said the paper had chosen to drag the matter further by leaving misleading information about him and his family on the internet.

He also said when the request was made to post the apology the paper decided to "hide" it in their website so that it can only be accessed by subscribers only.

"This in my view is dodgy, malicious and raises a lot of questions about the Sunday Tribune’s journalism ethics," said Mkhize.

High respect for Ombudsman

He said he informed the Press Ombudsman about his concerns and the apology had also not been posted to on the internet.

"The newspaper actually undermines the Office of the Press Ombudsman. It creates an impression that the media may disregard the spirit of the Ombudsman’s ruling and get away with impunity," said Mkhize.

Mkhize said he was satisfied by the ruling of the Ombudsman and had high respect for the office in the manner and speed the issue was dealt with.

Mkhize said he had also received legal advice and was told his case was strong if it would be taken to court.

He told reporters that if the newspaper refused to publish the apology in the internet he would then take the matter to court.