Russia 'disappointed' by fake news reports on Putin visit

Johannesburg - The Russian embassy has gone onto social media to express its "disappointment" with Tuesday night's reportage by news broadcaster eNCA that President Jacob Zuma was meeting its leader Vladimir Putin. 

eNCA reported on a fake statement, which had been distributed on WhatsApp, that Putin would be visiting the country to meet with Zuma. Minutes later, the news broadcaster apologised for the report, labelling it fake news. 

In its statement, eNCA said: "The earlier report that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be visiting South Africa is not true. eNCA apologises for error."

While the Russian embassy said it recognised editor-in-chief Ngiphiwe Mhlangu's immediate correction, it added that "verification of news beforehand is vital". 

In its tweet, the Russian embassy said that eNCA had not even attempted to contact the embassy for clarification.

The Presidency said it had issued no such statement. "The circulating statement is fake and is a fabrication," presidential spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said.

Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird defended eNCA, saying that its apology was legitimate. Bird said that, with the current news frenzy, newsrooms were under "enormous pressure".

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