Paper must apologise for Malema reports

2012-05-10 14:23

Johannesburg - The Sunday Independent must apologise for two reports last year on expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, deputy press ombudsman Johan Retief ruled on Thursday.

Malema had complained that two front page stories published on October 30 and November 6 were inaccurate.

The stories were headlined "Malema faces arrest - Investigators Using SMSes to Nail Youth League Leader" and "Malema Ally Detained - Hawks Allegedly Find Him With R2m".

Front-page apology

Retief ordered the newspaper to print a front-page apology for stating as fact that Malema faced arrest, for not asking him to comment on the allegation, for inaccurately stating the value of his house and not verifying the figure, and for inaccurately stating that a lot of companies were registered under his name.

The apology was also for repeating the allegations as fact in its second story. The newspaper was further instructed to publish a summary of the findings.

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

Retief said history had shown that the statement in dispute was not correct.

"It is now a full six months after the story was published, and still Malema has not been charged or arrested."

However, the crucial question was the reasonableness of the newspaper's belief that Malema was about to be arrested.

Anonymous sources

Retief found the newspaper had tried to corroborate the information by using more than one anonymous source.

"I believe that it was justified in believing that it had actually verified the information."

It had taken reasonable steps to gather its information and had enough grounds to believe its sources were credible.

The use of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat's photograph to illustrate the story represented normal journalistic practice.

However, the paper had erred in saying Malema's property was "believed to be worth about R16m".

Malema submitted a letter from architects confirming the total cost of the property was about R8.5m.

Unacceptable reportage

Retief voiced concern that newspapers sometimes took information from other publications, without independently verifying it.

"Journalists must realise that information is not true or accurate just because it was published," he said.

The reporter, Moffet Mofokeng, should have known that Malema denied his house was worth R16m. He should have tried to verify it, Retief said.

Malema also disputed a sentence in the story which asserts that "a lot of companies" were registered under Malema and his associates. He said companies were not registered to people and he was not even a director of any company.

Retief agreed that Malema was a trustee of the Ratanang Family Trust, which is a shareholder in On-Point Engineering (Pty) Ltd, and that there was no link between Malema and any company.

Malema complained that the second story stated the allegations in the first story as fact. Retief agreed, and said this was unacceptable reportage.

In breach of the Press Code

Malema also disputed a sentence which reads: "Last week's revelations about Malema's imminent arrest came as..."

Retief said the newspaper had indeed "revealed" information about his imminent arrest, regardless of whether there was substance to these "revelations".

He said the newspaper was entitled to publish the allegation of Malema's imminent arrest in the first story, but that the headline did not accurately reflect the contents of the story, as it presented the allegations as fact. This was in breach of the Press Code.

History had proved the allegation to be false, but the newspaper had not promptly published a reaction, correction or explanation.

The Sunday Independent should have asked Malema for his comment on the allegation of his imminent arrest.

Retief said the newspaper's credibility had been dented because of the length of time that had elapsed since the "imminent" arrest report.

"It would have salvaged its reputation if it had gone back to its sources early on to clarify the information they had given for its initial reports," he said.

  • Kala - 2012-05-10 14:32

    The Correction Services released Shabir Schaik because of his imminent death. How long is imminent?

      sboniswa.mzimela - 2012-05-10 15:22

      it was true though!!!! Nxa, this thug must face the music

      Thabang - 2012-05-10 16:44

      Sunday independent is famous for writing lies about Malema. This so that they can increase their sales. EVERY Sunday their headlines are about Malema. Interesting that people are still attracted to these lies. I would sue them for defamation of character.

      Thabang - 2012-05-10 16:58

      This is the same newspaper that said Malema escaped arrest when He went to attend the wedding in Mauritius and would be arrested on His return. My recommendation would be for this paper to be suspended until they have reporters that can write correct stories.

      eric.vanvuuren - 2012-05-10 17:53

      Leave the idiot out of the news man, the country has enough other sensations.

  • Peter - 2012-05-10 14:37

    Only R8.5 million... of the countries tax money

  • Gigo - 2012-05-10 14:38

    No only apologising they must pay as well.

      Lorain - 2012-05-10 14:54

      @ Sganja LOL, you know you not gonna get a cent right?

      Gigo - 2012-05-10 15:14

      It does not matter as long as they ( newspapers) will learn

      Tsotsi-Baby - 2012-05-10 15:15

      True that,they damaged the president's reputation. #Power to the people

      bheki.dingiswayo - 2012-05-10 15:16

      How much?

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-10 15:22

      Media regulating their own is the cause of the irresponsible behaviour. This will change soon.

      ludlowdj - 2012-05-10 15:37

      As long as the law is applied fairly for all, the press is taking flack for what the ANC government does by habit on a daily basis, (make it up as they go along)

      Abel - 2012-05-10 16:16

      and yet they fighting for protection of the information bill with this money making lies to sell.

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-10 17:29

      @Tamaranui /bluzulu - it is incredible how many thumbsdown you get....even your own anc supporters are cutting your oxygen, don't you get the message? or is that skull just too thick? I thought Indians hated blacks? oops, I just let the secret out!

      trevor.roberts.148 - 2012-05-10 17:32

      Think how many stories have been published about Malema, how derogatory they are, how many have been chalenged and proved to be untrue. Makes you wonder doesn't it. I think he should give up and be judged by history. God help SA if he ever becomes president. The country will sink like a stone.

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-10 17:41

      Trevor - wait and watch....there is more than you know about mal-emma coming....but dont take my word for it, I know nothing.

  • NrGx - 2012-05-10 14:38

    We're sorry we report the truth. We're sorry we printed stories based on a fundamental part of the constitution, freedom of speech. We're sorry our published stories paint the perpetrators in a bad light. We're sorry, democracy has failed!

      Tsotsi-Baby - 2012-05-10 15:22

      You just swallow everything these newspapers feed you.We cannot have journalists reporting lies for money in the name of constitution. #Power to the people

  • ESETHU_HASANE - 2012-05-10 14:41

    wow...This should be a lesson to all the Media Houses....LoL I will use this as an example in my EXAMS....BAD reporting

  • Tumisang - 2012-05-10 14:45

    This is what we have been saying,the media is infiltrated by people with agendas,just recently we learned that the members of the DA were in determining what should be published in the newspapers through the Press Club,an apology is inadequate when your name has been tarnished,the Info bill will ensure that those journalists who publish political agendas are taken to the court of law and punished many times have we seem this kind of apologies?people can just sell newspapers using your name and simply just apologize.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-10 15:17

      Media regulated by Media will change soon,

  • Andile - 2012-05-10 14:52

    Those that are pro-media Bill in its current form, I'm sure they will have a fields day with this incompetancy from this journalist. He just wanted to make a 'name' for himself. Its good that I don't read this paper, do they have it in Dbn? I only know Sunday Times, Tribune, City Press on a sunday (ohh! I'm not mentioning tabloid newspapers purposefully). Let's just see how big the apology will be.

  • Larry - 2012-05-10 14:55

    SPIT IT OUT! JUST SPIT THE APOLOGY OUT. Malema shall one day be President of all South Africa is my prediction. I think the powers that be realize he will also so they have decided to destroy him early on. If Julius does do anything stupid to offend the masses and avoid his entrapment from his enemies, his destiny is assured.

  • EspaƱyol - 2012-05-10 14:59

    Ya well, the paper was wrong to give us the wrong information. But at the end of the day, Malema is still a crook!

      Sugar - 2012-05-10 15:30

      @espanyol or smthng go nd arrest hm since u hv prove,,,osetlaela sa mafelelo nd ono ngwala witht thnking, setlaela ke wena...plz thnk b4 u let anythng fly out of your mouth,,,

  • Larry - 2012-05-10 15:00

    Further advice to Malema, sue the Sunday Independent for slander and defamation of your character. Please sue, the money is almost guaranteed. Get your lawyer quick! - 2012-05-10 15:20

      Ha ha. Not a good idea to sue if you have plenty of skeletons because they will come out and get legitimately reported on by all new newspapers. Sure its a poor job by the Sunday Independent & they should correct their errors and apologise for the error. BTW - I know the Morningside area (admittedly from years ago) and I would be amazed if the value of the property (with house) is only R8.5M. Of course the SI should have tried to comment from Malema On the subject of suing people often get the wrong idea about how much you can win. They watch too many US TV dramas. Malema can try and sue for the degree to which the article did him damage.

  • Kgolane - 2012-05-10 15:04

    @Malema Critics...when Malema is being critizesd there are 55000 comments on here...but for this arcticle i think i count 8 comments. Says a lot about you.

      Alison - 2012-05-10 15:14

      Kgolane, are you really defending Malema? This is the fundamental problem with black voters. They do not care that their leaders are robbing them, impeding their freedom, and conducting themselves in a generally corrupt manner. Not to mention the complete incompetence of the majority to those who represent them. Surely there must be some logic in the way you vote? Can anyone still believe that the ANC has the best interests of democracy, South Africa or their constituents at heart. They do not, they want to take what they can get for their own enrichment, and f*ck the rest. Get real, your leaders have failed you and you still think they are OK. I feel sorry for you, is all I can say.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-10 15:18

      Ovaidas aren't Black...heheheheheee

      letlhogonolo.sealetsa - 2012-05-10 15:30

      Dear Alison How is Malema robbing the people, impeding their freedom and conducting himself in a general corrupt manner? Your problem and not the entire white voter population is that you tend to jump the gun, "Black Voters" as you seem fit to call us that do not care about hear say we want facts. Should Malema be proven to be corrupt by a court or SARS then we will react accordingly and not base our decision on anonymous sources that leak sensitive information to the media.

      Gestoffle - 2012-05-10 17:34

      Could you kindly explain what "Ovaidas" means and what bearing your comment actually has....i see that stupid stuttering problem of yours is back...WTF is hehehehehe....he what twat?

      Alison - 2012-05-10 22:52

      Hi letlhogonolo.sealetsa! Malema does not declare income or pay his taxes. He threatens violence. Refuses to reveal his sources of income. Only declares < 30k per month, but has millions in recently acquired assets. Robbing people, impeding freedom, general corrupt conduct. There is one example for each of your questions. I did not mean to offend or show disrespect. black voter is not a derogatory or inflammatory term. It is a person who is black and votes in elections. Black voters keep the ANC in power. Will you agree to that? Good, thank you. The ANC is a disaster. Who has faith in the ANC government? As leaders? As protectors? Tbey are incompetent and corrupt. Black voters are allowing this to continue. This is a fact. What we need is the right person in every job. Affirmative action is acceptable, as long as the appointee skillset matches the requirements of the role. The ANC does not do this. Come on man, please, let us at least be able to have a discussion without nitpicking. This is a limited space and I cannot quantify everything with PC affirmations. Zero tolerance to misconduct and corruption. Transparency and good governance. SA needs this, at least. I've just wasted 5 minutes of my life, you must know these things for yourself, come on! Admit it!

  • Farmworker - 2012-05-10 15:04

    I personally have read lots of misleading top stories, Even here on news 24 the headline is drafted such that it attracts lots of hits with confusing contents

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-05-10 15:29

    Yes the newspaper should definitely apologise for their transgressions. But perhaps they should wait and do so in a year from now. Remember Malema himself apologised a full year after a court instruction to do so in the matter of Zuma's alleged rape victim.

  • Christian J Denyschen - 2012-05-10 15:34

    well done sunday independent we are trying to get rid of the clown, and you just gave him a leg to stand on. hope they learn something out of this.

      Lebzadikgetsi - 2012-05-10 15:55

      If is a clown then why are you threatened by him

      christian.denyschen - 2012-05-10 16:07

      Maybe I suffer from coulrophobia or maybe its cause I'm afraid he is taking this country back 100 years.

      Lebzadikgetsi - 2012-05-10 17:11

      100 years is where the country should be, sorry 350 to rectify the evil the country endured

      christian.denyschen - 2012-05-10 17:42

      Ag please man you weren't even in this country 350 years ago not even your ancestors.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-05-10 15:35

    of course if we lived in a democracy based on truth and transparency, we would not have had this happen in the first place.

  • Sikanyiso - 2012-05-10 15:40

    Malema should do one good thing to sue this newspaper for being libelous and denting his image in the face of the public. He must sue it R50 million. They must learn that to hate a person does'nt mean u have a licence to spread lies. Sunday Independant is one of the newspapers I trust, but I have lost confidence now I won't waste my R16.00 to buy paper that lacks truth and subjectivity

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-05-10 15:52

      Dent Malema's image??? If that goat's image were dented any more, it would look like the Titanic after it went down!

  • Kuno - 2012-05-10 15:40

    Malema submitted a letter from architects confirming the total cost of the property was about R8.5m.... an expensive property for someone who only earns R20000 as per his own statement. wonder where the money comes from.... sure there is a gravy train station outside his home in Sandton.

      Sikanyiso - 2012-05-10 16:10

      Every citizen of this country is at liberty to engage in business deals, so the case with Malema. We were not involved in the struggle to be poor, however we fought to improve the lives of all South Africans irrespective of colour, race, gender etc. No body should be crucified or persecuted for owning business. We should bear in mind the person we are complaining about is not a Cabinet Minister nor an MEC, he is just an ordinary person who is given a stipend by the ANC.

  • Seena - 2012-05-10 15:44

    julius malema says a lot of things that make sense about the future of this country, others speak for future of the faceless foreign investors....i like them though for teaching these gullible folk that they care nothing for them, why should they, investment is about the investor....welcome to the world

  • Abram - 2012-05-10 16:21

    white people hate apartheid but they were voting for apartheid,

  • Thabang - 2012-05-10 16:47

    Sunday independent is famous for writing lies about Malema. This so that they can increase their sales. EVERY Sunday their headlines are about Malema. Interesting that people are still attracted to these lies. I would sue them for defamation of character.

      Bless Boswell - 2012-05-11 08:42

      So you actually support Malema? What do you admire most about him?

  • Thabang - 2012-05-10 17:06

    I'm working on a petition to stop the "GAME" advert that keeps popping on my screen. AAAAAAAAAAHHHH!

      Shanan - 2012-05-10 23:09

      Who really cares about Game's birthday. The pink invasion is irritating me as well.

  • Dooie - 2012-05-10 17:19

    ohhhh, Look at the baby crying. But he can call Zille a white bitch?

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-05-10 17:55

    One thing that has not been taken into account and maybe could be mentioned here: as a white taxpayer I believe a lot of peers feel the same way when I say that in the past our streets were clear of potholes and were well maintained. Robots worked more often than not. Our municipal accounts were usually correct. We did not have rolling blackouts. Petrol was affordable. Our city centre was clean and fairly safe. Our police force made us feel safe. All in all we felt that our taxes were being utilized in an acceptable manner. If parliamentary officials were moving about we never knew about it. After the festive season we could go down to the beach and soak up the sun. The situation is somewhat different now: I and my immediate family have destroyed the tires on our cars at least four times in the past 5 years and two good friends have died in accidents caused by potholes. Some robots have been out for up to three months - eating up time and petrol, making it impossible to get to work on time. Municipal accounts are in the most appalling mess as we all know. Because there has been no planned maintenance in the electricity installations across the country, we now have rolling blackouts which invariably damage our electronics and cause havoc with computers. Petrol is through the roof - with very little hoing to the garage owner Our city centers are a filthy disgrace, police attempt to bribe or grope when they pull you over or sometimes chase catch and rape female members of the public, or even take pert in robberies. Blue light brigades mow down innocent children and cyclists because they are too portant to obey the rules of the road. Durban beach was a filthy disgrace after the festive season with so much litter and faeces (poo) on the sand that the maintenance crews had to grade the beach before it was fit for the public again. Having said all that, we are upset at what has happened to places that we care about, and the fact that we are taxed to death and services are poorer than ever before. Most of us don't throw litter out of our cars into the street, we don't pee and poo in public places. But we have to live in this mess that is not of our making. Is it so difficult to clean up after oneself?

      asivhanga - 2012-05-10 19:07

      You mean the beach written whites only, the police who denies people freedom of movement? Instead of complaining what are you doing to be part of solution? Welcome to the real world baba!

      Bless Boswell - 2012-05-11 00:31

      The whites only sign came down 18 years ago - get over yourself. This country has been turned into a third world cess pool compared with what it was 18 years ago. Why must we live with no services, dirt and crumbling buildings? Are you happy with things the way they are? Surely not. The historically disadvantaged individuals wanted the life that the white people had before 1994. When the government

      Bless Boswell - 2012-05-11 00:34

      Handed over in 1994 things were in good shape. Why were the standards not maintained so that EVERYBODY could enjoy them? No, those in power spent the money on themselves, so the majority of the people still have not enjoyed the life they should have because the government has stolen those funds and lined their own pockets. Get your head out of the sand and have a good look!

      asivhanga - 2012-05-11 10:47

      Then if the beaches are dirty and everything you complain about is chaos, why don't you do something about it? Afterall it is a free country you can come with some sort of initiative campaign without being banned. You sell your idea to the government on how you can change everything that went bad you make some few bucks and you've solved the problem. So stop whining and help out. Comparing things will never get you anywhere.

  • Zahir - 2012-05-10 17:56

    Malema must apologise to the nation for his bad behaviuor and no respect to other groups

      Andricca - 2012-05-11 07:15

      you must be crazy indeed or else suffering from malimaphobia like South African "news" reporters

  • Seena - 2012-05-10 18:15

    julius has said to the independent media investigate all these people who have tons of unexplained wealth and he has been met with deafening silence

  • Trevor - 2012-05-10 18:45

    Why they still printing ...about this HAS BEEN....his dead already..the worms don't even wanna eat him

      Mutsila - 2012-05-10 19:06

      You are a fool

  • jmasha3 - 2012-05-10 19:26

    Our journalists are lazy,liars and easily manipulated by corrupt greedy Politicians and Business people.They must do thorough research and stop reporting nonsense and destroying families and lives of people.That's why they are opposing the media tribunal they know very well that they are going to be punished for their biased and negative reporting.

  • dougmayger - 2012-05-10 20:42

    I believe that Malema apologised to the UK journalist for calling him a "Bastard/Agent" etc... . However his apology did not receive this amopunt of publicity!!!. I believe Malema should ALSO apologise for producing "a bastard" while accusing someone else of being one.

  • vincentdavince.malapane - 2012-05-11 05:42

    Why now..coz he's down?

  • Andricca - 2012-05-11 07:12

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

  • Nigel - 2012-05-11 07:13

    order an apology from Malema for inciting farm murders, for opening old wounds between races, for ruining foreign investment, for insulting minorities, for lying to the poor, for insulting opposition leaders etc etc...this idiot must apologize, he doesn't deserve any apology, blody bastard condom comrade

      Andricca - 2012-05-11 07:21

      you are crazy, which "old wounds", wounds are here with us. you think you can just wish away apartheid and its effects. I suspect your teacher is feeding you with wrong dose of information, until you protest against him/her, you will continue to be a joke

  • Vincent - 2012-05-11 07:17

    Who's next to apologise??? We will see...line up comrades, cos you next.

  • Sango - 2012-05-11 07:29

    they must just apologise that's the right things to do.

  • masepe.toka - 2012-05-11 09:49

    nxa stupid press!!

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