Ombudsman dismisses Jub Jub complaint

2014-09-10 21:08
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Press Ombudsman on Wednesday dismissed a complaint by convicted murderer Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye's family against the Sunday Sun.

Jacqueline Maarohanye, on behalf of the family, complained about a story on 8 June headlined "Jub Jub jail sex shock. Raunchy sounds gave them away".

This is the second ruling on media reports on allegations that Maarohanye had sex with a woman in prison. On 3 September, Press Ombudsman Johan Retief ruled that Drum magazine had to publish front page apologies to Maarohanye and Zenith Mia, the woman it was claimed he had sex with.

In that ruling, Retief said the magazine had to apologise for inaccurately stating as fact that Maarohanye and Mia had sex in prison, and for unnecessarily tarnishing their dignity and reputation.

Jacqueline Maarohanye said the Sunday Sun story falsely stated that, while in prison, Maarohanye was caught having sex, had enjoyed special privileges, was unrepentant, and was supposed to perform at a prison event, but “vanished” before the performance.

She argued the allegations unnecessarily harmed his reputation and dignity and could negatively affect his appeal.

Independent sources

Andrew Boerner, for the Sunday Sun, said the journalist who wrote the story was contacted by an inmate at the prison who said Maarohanye was caught having sex and did not arrive at a thanksgiving ceremony.

He said the allegations were put to the department of correctional services, which responded.

Retief said in his judgement that he initially waited for the department to complete its investigation into the alleged incident, but later said it would not release the outcomes.

It would however respond to questions, so Retief asked whether Maarohanye had sex in prison, whether he enjoyed special privileges and was moved to another prison because of the alleged incident.

"The response to all these questions was 'no'," Retief said.

"However, of vital importance is the fact that nowhere in the story did the journalist state his information as fact - he consistently presented it as allegations [unlike another publication which has transgressed the Press Code on the same issue because it presented allegations as fact]."

He said the Sunday Sun used two independent sources, had documented proof that Maarohanye’s activities in prison were being investigated. The story also included counter-allegations from the prison's spokesperson.

"These factors, when combined, justified the publication of allegations as allegations by the newspaper.

"I therefore believe it was 'reasonable to publish the particular facts in the particular way and at the particular time'. This does not mean to say that the allegations were true. I only conclude that, given the situation, Sunday Sun was justified in its reporting."

Read more on:    molemo maarohanye  |  media

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