Ombudsman reprimands paper

2010-06-22 08:18

Johannesburg - The Daily Sun was on Monday reprimanded by the press ombudsman for failing to publish parts of a private hospital's official denial that it had not allowed an injured man entry because he did not have medical aid.

This followed an inquiry into a complaint against the Daily Sun by Melomed Hospital about an article which appeared in the paper on May 27.

The article was about a man who had been stabbed, Lucky Kencele. The paper reported that Kencele was kept waiting at the main gate of the private hospital, begging to be let in.

"The complaint is upheld as Daily Sun did not publish the hospital's official denial that Kencele was asked about his medical aid and that he was told to go to a state hospital," said the deputy press ombudsman Johan Retief in a statement on his ruling on Monday.

Hospital response

According to the paper, the security guard at the hospital refused the man entry to the hospital because he did not have medical aid.

The man was reportedly told to go to a government hospital which he refused to do. He was eventually let into the hospital.

The hospital was furnished with a number of questions before the story was published.

Responding to these, Melomed denied that Kencele was asked whether he had medical aid and that he was told to go to a state hospital.

"This part of Melomed's response was not published," Retief said.

This was in breach of Article 1.2 of the press code, said the deputy ombudsman, which states: "News shall be presented in… a balanced manner, without any intentional or negligent departure from the facts whether by…material omissions…"

The Daily Sun was directed to publish a summary of the ombudsman findings.