Sondag sanctioned over Scott article

2013-10-14 22:40

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Sondag newspaper was sanctioned by Press Ombudsman Johan Retief on Monday, about an article it published on former television presenter Darren Scott.

The article was published on 2 June, headlined "Ex-Friend claiming R4.3 million loss", and was largely based on comments by Anthony Duke.

Parts of the story related to a case pending in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town between Scott and Duke.

This meant the Press Ombudsman could not take into account complaints about these sections and was limited to aspects of the story that would not influence court proceedings.

Sondag reported, based on Duke's unverified account, that Scott fraudulently took sound equipment worth R120 000 and used drugs and alcohol,

Scott complained that the story was one-sided, defamatory and an attack on his dignity and reputation, and that it was not in the public interest.

The reporter apparently asked Scott for comment, but did not give adequate detail about Duke's allegations against him.

Being unaware of the extent of the allegations, Scott replied that he was busy with a radio interview and that the dispute between himself and Duke was a matter for the court to decide.

"He argues that, had he known the extent of the defamatory allegations, he would have responded other than merely saying that the matter was for the courts to decide," Retief said.


He found that the story was in the public interest, as Scott was a public figure, but he had "little doubt" that the story was one-sided and an unfair attack on Scott's dignity and reputation.

The fact that the story was based on only one source was a concern, particularly because Scott and Duke were embroiled in a legal battle.

"The publication should, therefore, have been sensitive as to this source's possible motives, which should have made it doubly cautious to publish the serious allegations that it did.

"Taking the above into consideration, the mere use of the word 'alleged' is not nearly enough to soften the blows that the story unfairly dealt Scott," Retief found.

Sondag was ordered to apologise to Scott and publish a text detailing Retief's criticism of the original story and the journalistic practices that led to the complaint.

Sondag was also given a "space fine", meaning the newspaper had to publish the full Press Code on page six and not allow any other text on that page.

The Sondag has seven days to appeal the ruling to Judge Bernard Ngoepe, chairperson of the SA Press Adjudication Panel.

Read more on:    darren scott  |  cape town  |  johannesburg  |  media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.