News24

Sunday Times must apologise for column

2012-05-10 21:51

Johannesburg - The Sunday Times must apologise for a column linking SA businessman Robert Gumede to election fraud in the Democratic Republic of Congo, deputy press ombudsman Johan Retief ruled on Thursday.

"The column's structure, as well as the lack of the proper context, has probably led to unbalanced and misleading journalism, causing Gumede unnecessary harm," Retief said.

Gumede and his firm Four Rivers Trading complained that the column, written by Greg Mills and published on January 1, sought to link them to a plot to ensure president Joseph Kabila's victory in the country's 2011 elections.

Mills wrote that an IT company approached to run the election reportedly turned the job down when the conditions included ensuring Kabila's victory.

He said the contract eventually went to Four Rivers Trading 21, headed by Gumede.

He quoted the Carter Centre, who reportedly said that the election results lacked credibility, while the European Union election observer team joined others in citing "serious irregularities".

Retief ordered the newspaper to print an apology on either May 20 or 27.

Not a hard news story


Either party can apply for leave to appeal the ruling within seven days.

He said the column did not explicitly say that Gumede was involved in election fraud, but using Gumede's name immediately after mentioning the IT company could link him to fraud in the minds of readers.

The Sunday Times had previously argued that it did not imply that Gumede's contract was linked to fraud and that "no reasonable reader would jump to the conclusion that he [Gumede] had".

Gumede's representative Nicqui Galaktiou argued that Mills relied on "unverified rumours" to create a sensationalist article without even contacting Gumede for comment.

Retief said that Mills was under no obligation to ask Gumede for comment, as his column was an opinion piece and not a hard news story.

Comments
  • Mark - 2012-05-10 23:38

    Well, it certainly shows Gumede's unprincipled business dealings

      Thato - 2012-05-10 23:54

      and hence the paper must appologise for misleading readers into misinformed conclusions based on unfound rumours - "using Gumede's name immediately after mentioning the IT company could link him to fraud in the minds of readers"...

  • ThaboShakuNews24 - 2012-05-11 00:37

    Where there is smoke, there is fire!

  • Aristar - 2012-05-11 04:55

    How did Gumede make his millions? I would bet a fair whack of it was by underhand methods. Having met the man I would check to make sure I had my hand at the end of my arm after shaking hands with him.

      Gerald - 2012-05-11 11:22

      And you know this how...

  • Vaughan - 2012-05-11 06:21

    Considering people like Julius were (or still does) make up Gumede's circle of friends, I wouldn't be surprised that he agreed to rigging an election.

  • goodman.segage - 2012-05-11 06:49

    Please charge them. The media is against our country, govts efforts;and they go on to humilate our prominate leaders. This is the breeding of Press Club> serving political motivates by damaging aspiring BEE n other govt initiatives. Press Club this is your brainchild.

      Nigel - 2012-05-11 07:53

      you are a brainwashed fool, sorry.

      Alan - 2012-05-11 09:37

      Do you know the saying: 'It is better to remain silent and appear a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt'?

      goodman.segage - 2012-05-12 11:29

      Alan and Nigel, I don't blame you But Press Club!

  • Tamaranui - 2012-05-11 06:53

    More scandalous Journalism, The media regulatory body is responsible for this unprincipled behaviour, This will change soon.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-05-11 06:55

    WHO IS Robert Gumede ?????? Just a smart buisness man, who got lucky and became a billionair ?? Or a sinister puppet ! Is there more to him than ; GREED ( i.e toll roads !! ) Or can it be, that he is a danger to SA democracy ?????

      Alan - 2012-05-11 09:41

      Ipmseleku - is the ANC paying guys like you to go on line and try and whitewash people like Gumede with a horribly dodgy past? Or do you just have no conscience at all?

  • Andricca - 2012-05-11 07:17

    hehehhhhhh, we are looking forward for this apology - they must learn morals these forces against change

  • Andricca - 2012-05-11 07:23

    Sue them my leader, you must teach them a lesson or two. They take readers for granted with questionable morals

  • Burtfred - 2012-05-11 07:54

    The same Gumede that took billions of our taxpayers' money from the Dept of Home affairs in their IT scandal. The same Gumede that bribed Telkom procurement official for an IT tender. With his record, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he got involved in shady deals in the DRC.

  • Msika - 2012-05-11 10:06

    "The Sunday Times had previously argued that it did not imply that Gumede's contract was linked to fraud and that "no reasonable reader would jump to the conclusion that he [Gumede] had". Me don't think so, judging by the number of unreasonanble MORONS that read news on an online news publication like news24, imagine the number of morons who get their hands on a print publication like Sunday Times.

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