Ombudsman rules in Malema's favour

2012-04-11 17:41

Johannesburg - A Citizen newspaper article on ANC Youth League president Julius Malema escaping arrest was invented, the press ombudsman concluded on Wednesday.

"This sentence was invented by the journalist. It is therefore inaccurate and unfair reportage, causing Malema unnecessary harm," said deputy press ombudsman Johan Retief.

Malema had complained about the article, which was written by journalist Musa Mohamed and published on October 31.

The Citizen admitted that the story was largely based on an earlier report by the Sunday Independent.

In his first complaint, Malema said the statement that he “reportedly escaped being arrested” by the Hawks when he “jetted out to Mauritius for a friend's wedding” was false, misleading and damaging to him.

In response, Mohamed said he had based his story on the other newspaper report, but had wanted to angle a new story on the fact that after contacting the Hawks they would neither confirm nor deny an arrest.

However, Retief found that in using the police's response as the angle it was not clear who “reportedly” said Malema escaped arrest or tried to - a source known to the Sunday Independent or the Hawks.

Sucked the phrase out of his thumb

This could be confusing to the reader.

He said that after checking the Sunday Independent report he found no mention of the words “escaped being arrested”.

"The journalist sucked the phrase... out of his thumb."

In a second complaint, Malema said the Citizen had also reported - based on the Sunday Independent - that the Hawks had uncovered incriminating evidence of wrongdoing against him and that he could be arrested.

He argued that Mohamed should have disclosed to readers that the information had been obtained from an anonymous source so that the information could be seen in context.

Retief found that since the Sunday Independent had quoted more than one source close to the criminal investigation into Malema, it was credible.

"The statement is indeed factually correct, as the story in the Sunday Independent does quote sources to this effect... not to say that the sources' information was correct."

This complaint was dismissed.

In his third objection, Malema took issue with a sentence that read: "The Sunday Independent reported that Malema had a case to answer, that he was to be arrested by the Hawks and was 'likely to be hauled before a court'."

He claimed that the statement was unsubstantiated and unverified.

"While Malema may be correct, there still is nothing wrong with the sentence in dispute.

"It does not say that it is true that Malema was likely to be arrested and hauled before a court; all it says, is that the Sunday Independent reported this information - which is true - whether the information is correct or not," said Retief.

On the first complaint, the Citizen was directed to print an apology to Malema at the top of page three, with a reference to the apology on the front page.

  • Al - 2012-04-11 17:44

    And Malema's biggest worry is this story hurting his reputation? Really?

      Yar - 2012-04-11 19:04

      @Al Sad thing is that Malema should be under arrest for corruption, tender rigging and criminal stupidity.

      Cris - 2012-04-11 20:41

      It might not appear that clear but this Malema ruling is good for all us not just Juju, so forget his rep for now Al.

      Frank - 2012-04-11 22:52

      The student taking a page out out the master's book. Zoomer funded himself nicely with the funds of his various lawsuits and Lardboy here has a R1.4 mil hanging over his head from Zille! Thieves....all of them, common garden variety thieves that in the real world would be sweeping best!!

      Boer - 2012-04-12 00:50

      When is this clown going to take 12 steps down a cliff.?Fat ugly flatnosed rubberlips Malemmer.U-G-E-L-Y

  • Thando - 2012-04-11 17:48

    Malema-1 Media-99.......

  • Jerry - 2012-04-11 18:04

    Be wary South Africans, Your hatred for the boy blind you to erosion of journalist ethics and other state institution abuses just because it's Malema. Zuma is not a hero because he kicked him out. We should be worried of Zuma, his family,Indians, chinese etc.

  • paulmandlankosi - 2012-04-11 18:10

    The Citizen should fire the lazy journalist

      Mark - 2012-04-12 08:29

      @stephen, you give him yours. Had he said the same thing about Zuma, he would have been bought out of his contract - New term that means to remove anyone in Zuma's way. Thuli Madonsela is next

  • E - 2012-04-11 18:12

    Kolobe, you are an ignoramus. "White media" no longer exist. You obviously have not recently checked the ownership, or the editorial staff, or the journalists, of The Citizen, or any other large SA paper.

  • E - 2012-04-11 18:14

    . . . Radio Pretoria doesn't count, imho.

  • siyadyosiba - 2012-04-11 18:33

    Well done Ombudsman. Impartiality must prevail.

      Scouter - 2012-04-11 20:11

      Well said siyadyosiba - as much as I detest young Julius and all that he stands for, there is no excuse for poor journalism. You all listening News24?

  • siyadyosiba - 2012-04-11 18:52

    Malema must sue the newspaper.

      Scouter - 2012-04-11 20:23

      Don't get too carried away now.

  • No - 2012-04-11 19:38

    People if we read the page correctly you will notice that it was a indian who wrote the discriminating article and a white afrikaaner that judged the story to be incorrect and unjust towards Julius Malema, but honestly those are trivial little things that dont matter, wee need to realise that South Africa is in a stage where the world is watching what we are doing, and its time everyone left the past where it belongs and started to show the rest of the world exactly why South Africa and Africa can be one of the best places to ever be in the world

      Scouter - 2012-04-11 20:28

      Nice sentiment @No - but afraid to say that the rest of the world has already judged and deemed SA to be following in the footsteps of Zimbabwe. Sorry to disallusion your altruistic intention but the rest of the world is not stupid and stops to think before it invests its money.

  • Michael - 2012-04-11 20:00

    So, Malema, a Boer (*read deputy Ombudsman Johan Retief) saved you here.... What is that song you sing again?

      HugoMabasa - 2012-04-11 23:36

      kiss the boer

      Mark - 2012-04-12 08:31

      @Hugo LOL. good one man

  • Avenging - 2012-04-11 20:03

    Farmer petrol bombed in bakkie 10 April 2012

  • Vernon - 2012-04-11 20:36

    lets hope this is the last person to rule in his favour.

  • Ester - 2012-04-11 20:39

    Kolobe is braincuffed......

  • Hans Heydra - 2012-04-11 21:04

    More nitpicking...

  • Carry - 2012-04-12 06:44


  • Nigel - 2012-04-12 07:42

    who F**ng cares, arrest his ass already, throw away the key.

  • Mark - 2012-04-12 08:26

    I have always said that the journalists of today are totally different from the ones of pre 94 (say around 1976). Those madalas are real journos. That is why they are well-known and are still respected. We can't say the same thing about the current ones. They sensationalise, lie, lazy, etc.

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