Sowetan must apologise for sex pictures

2011-09-13 14:16

kalahari.com

Johannesburg - The Sowetan newspaper's publishing of prominent pictures of two officers having sex while on duty was not in the public interest, the press ombudsman ruled on Monday.

"It need not have reverted to publishing the pictures so prominently and explicitly to get its message across - there was no 'public interest' to do so," the deputy press ombudsman, Johan Retief, ruled.

He ordered the paper to apologise on both its front and second pages.

"A visual presentation of sexual conduct may not be published, unless a legitimate public interest dictates otherwise."

The paper's deputy news editor Khangale Makhado said on Tuesday that lawyers were being consulted, but it was not yet known if an appeal would be lodged with the SA Press Appeals Panel.

"It's open, the lawyers will advise."

The pictures, published on page one and two on August 15 show an officer from correctional services and a policewoman having sex in a hospital.

Retief said the story itself was in the public interest because the people involved were public servants being paid by taxpayers.

The paper breached a number of Press Codes by, among others, not being sensitive to its readers, the couple's families, including their children and children in general.

Shortly after the articles were published, the paper's public editor, Joe Latakgomo, wrote a column admitting it had received a number of complaints.

Vulgar, pornographic

Retief said Latakgomo responded to readers saying the newspaper could have handled the story differently while still achieving the same effect.

"He says that the pictures could have been blurred, or cropped to minimise exposure of offensive positions. It was not necessary to publish the picture on the front page.

"He calls the front page picture vulgar, indecent and in poor taste and adds that it is pornographic."

Retief noted that the newspaper apologised on its front page for the publication of the pictures - and yet it still continued to publish the pictures.

"One cannot take such an "apology" seriously," said Retief.

He ordered the apology to be published on the front page, above the fold, apologising to its readers, the couple's family and children, and children in general.

The Sowetan was directed to print on its second page that six readers had complained to the press ombudsman, details of the story and the gist of the complaints.

After the article was published, the female officer was dismissed, while the man was suspended and faces disciplinary proceedings.
- SAPA
Read more on:    sowetan  |  johan retief  |  media
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
80 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Montague Gardens 18:07 PM
Road name: Montague Drive

ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect delays

Kuils River 18:05 PM
Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound

ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is the end of the month and there may be a strong focus on organising finances. You may have found a need to reconstruct or...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.