Sowetan must apologise for sex pictures

2011-09-13 14:16

Johannesburg - The Sowetan newspaper's publishing of prominent pictures of two officers having sex while on duty was not in the public interest, the press ombudsman ruled on Monday.

"It need not have reverted to publishing the pictures so prominently and explicitly to get its message across - there was no 'public interest' to do so," the deputy press ombudsman, Johan Retief, ruled.

He ordered the paper to apologise on both its front and second pages.

"A visual presentation of sexual conduct may not be published, unless a legitimate public interest dictates otherwise."

The paper's deputy news editor Khangale Makhado said on Tuesday that lawyers were being consulted, but it was not yet known if an appeal would be lodged with the SA Press Appeals Panel.

"It's open, the lawyers will advise."

The pictures, published on page one and two on August 15 show an officer from correctional services and a policewoman having sex in a hospital.

Retief said the story itself was in the public interest because the people involved were public servants being paid by taxpayers.

The paper breached a number of Press Codes by, among others, not being sensitive to its readers, the couple's families, including their children and children in general.

Shortly after the articles were published, the paper's public editor, Joe Latakgomo, wrote a column admitting it had received a number of complaints.

Vulgar, pornographic

Retief said Latakgomo responded to readers saying the newspaper could have handled the story differently while still achieving the same effect.

"He says that the pictures could have been blurred, or cropped to minimise exposure of offensive positions. It was not necessary to publish the picture on the front page.

"He calls the front page picture vulgar, indecent and in poor taste and adds that it is pornographic."

Retief noted that the newspaper apologised on its front page for the publication of the pictures - and yet it still continued to publish the pictures.

"One cannot take such an "apology" seriously," said Retief.

He ordered the apology to be published on the front page, above the fold, apologising to its readers, the couple's family and children, and children in general.

The Sowetan was directed to print on its second page that six readers had complained to the press ombudsman, details of the story and the gist of the complaints.

After the article was published, the female officer was dismissed, while the man was suspended and faces disciplinary proceedings.

  • Succubus - 2011-09-13 14:25

    Pity, I was hoping they'd make it a regular feature!

      Civil_Rights - 2011-09-13 14:53

      Maybe it was a sequal to cheaters in SA lol

  • Fedup - 2011-09-13 14:28

    What's the point of the apology when so many Kids were exposed to disgusting pistures like that. Of course they know that they can only be asked to apologise. What about the privacy of the said individuals and their kids? Self regulation is not the answer here.

  • David - 2011-09-13 14:28

    Ag sis man! I suppose sex does sell... not very cool.

      zaatheist - 2011-09-13 14:39

      Much more preferable than pictures of murder victims!

      David - 2011-09-13 15:18

      yes, I suppose one could say that it is the lesser of two evils...

  • BigMoose - 2011-09-13 14:28

    I take it the press ombudsman has not read the sex classifieds that border on pornography, in most daily papers.

  • Felix - 2011-09-13 14:28

    Bottom of page 1 "We're" Top of page 2 "Sorry"...

  • Uthando - 2011-09-13 14:30

    Ok I know the correctional officer's wife stood by him. I wonder what the policewoman's husdand decided to do...

      IC1 - 2011-09-13 14:42

      Pimp her for extra cash

      Tolerant - 2011-09-13 14:43

      Why? If you mess up you should be kicked out or too expensive to split up?

      Civil_Rights - 2011-09-13 14:55

      Maybe pimped her to bheki cele.

      IC1 - 2011-09-13 15:10

      Who was behind the camera? The next cop to give her 1?? No seriously, or did they film it themselves? CCTV?

      ChumScrubber - 2011-09-13 15:26

      The only logical thing is to divorce their spouses, how on earth can they tolerate this kind of behaviour.

      Tolerant - 2011-09-13 15:45

      No the real culprits are the 2 that did the deed, no one else. It is not okay if your partner don't know what you are up to.

  • stan101 - 2011-09-13 14:32

    too late,damage has been done

  • Apartheid - 2011-09-13 14:33

    Pass those pictures to Beeld a newspaper of insane won`t apologise

      JMan - 2011-09-13 15:46

      It doesn't need to post pictures...Beeld's readers can actually read...

  • BIBI - 2011-09-13 14:34

    Apologise? Really? What's done is done. He shouldn't have recorded it in the first place...

  • ponderousme - 2011-09-13 14:34

    I agree it shouldnt be in a paper...but then look at whats floating around on TV. I doubt there were any kids who saw that who havent seen worse, live and in color on tv or in a movie. shame, she gets fired, he gets disciplined. some things will take longer to change..

      ThaD - 2011-09-13 15:16

      no, he is fired too.

      Tsukomo - 2011-09-13 17:41

      Actually..I know this will get lots of 'howls' by anti-Christians, but we don't watch TV, don't buy anything with fiction, my children don't use the internet(They're too young, not even ten yrs old yet), are what are the chances my children would have been exposed to such pictures? The only time they are exposed to such is when they go to the shops. Then again, we didn't see these pics anyway. Just stating that we shouldn't generalise.

  • zaatheist - 2011-09-13 14:37

    I love the double standard. Papers can publish the most horrendously violent pictures but sex is taboo. I would much rather see sex than gratuitous violence any day. But then I must be depraved.

      Taboo - 2011-09-13 14:54

      I also agree with you. Anyway, if those two wanted it so bad, they should have reneted a room, and not had a good old bang during working hours, hours that the tax man, yes you and me, are paying for.

  • IC1 - 2011-09-13 14:41

    Eish at least they uncovered the facts LOL

  • Gungets Tuft - 2011-09-13 14:42

    Apologise to whom. Me - I could give a toss. To the general reader public - please, they bought it to help out their uniform fetish. To the oke that lost his job and the woman whom they humiliated - bit too damn late for that. Sue the bastards, get some cash out of them - it might convince them to go and study hournalism, to see how real journalists do it.

      daaivark - 2011-09-13 14:46

      No chance of a lawsuit. The people set the thing up and took the pictures which were then put on a public platform. Who are they going to sue? Themselves?

      Gungets Tuft - 2011-09-13 14:59

      Unless they had permission to print, they have broken privacy laws. This is not a public interest shot. If I drop my phone with private photos on it, nobody is legally entitled to use those.

  • Prof - 2011-09-13 14:44

    Sometimes we need to face reality. The public was very interested in that. Sex sells and we all know that.

      ndosithemba - 2011-09-13 15:16

      100% correct..

      ThaD - 2011-09-13 15:18

      I agree. Though they did so poorly,

  • crackerr - 2011-09-13 14:44

    Why do so many engage in, dream and fantasize about, are so curious about, something that they call disgusting, even evil, dirty, corrupting, and SIES? What is it with people that they pursue the SIES with all their might and achievements? That they kill and maim for it? The human mind and actually silliness never ceases to amaze.

      zaatheist - 2011-09-13 16:39

      Particularly then sky daddy believers. Sky Daddy hates people who enjoy sex. But explicit pictures of killing and maiming; the bloodier the better. Sky Daddy likes killing. As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you. (Deuteronomy 20:10-14) People killed by God in Bible: 2,473,633 People killed by devil in Bible: 10

  • MSGRule - 2011-09-13 14:45

    Love is a beautiful thing. Having sex at work is normal. In front of other people. Protect and serve in what way. Waar heen is die boot oppad???

  • YES - 2011-09-13 14:49

    It's now open for both families and/or affected individuals to sue the paper. Apart from the story, the paper has degenerated to a tabloid over the years. I often find the paper's editorial comments warped and wont be surprised if ombudsman issue a similar directive to other stories by the paper.

      Lauren - 2011-09-13 15:25

      I find its readership (well, those who comment on its forums), slightly more mature and less prone to blatant racism than the people who comment on this forum. On average, a more open minded bunch. Yes, there are those with blatant racist views, but it doesn't come close to this site.

  • colourblind2 - 2011-09-13 14:49

    Why? Name 'em, show 'em and shame 'em. As should be done with all the criminals in this country...

  • nazeem - 2011-09-13 14:54

    i show the type of people the gov employe. brainless...

  • Bateleur - 2011-09-13 14:56

    just a pity about the colour

  • ndosithemba - 2011-09-13 15:10

    Why did they do it the 1st place, bcause they wanted 2 increase the sales of Sowetan on other people's expense. 2 late 2 apologise ..

  • ndosithemba - 2011-09-13 15:14

    Sorry sowetan the damage is already done, what were u thinking the 1st time u publish it this careless mistake, this is unforgivable period.

  • Woofix - 2011-09-13 15:17

    All i see is double standards and the inabillity of official people and the publical comments (mostly) to judge with rightiousness. People are confused and creating confusion. The biggest atrocity was that two emloyers of the states dept.was having sex while on duty. For some reason this haven't got any media-attentention at all or any condemnation (??) The other matter which is treated by some people as unforgiven is the fact that the news paper was unsensitive in publishing the photos @ the front page. Unfortunatly i must give zaatheist credit for his statement that if the photos was about hauled or butchered people nobody would have any complaint about that irrespective of their families and friends which should be still in a state of shock. This is not an thumsucking assumption because millions of such like photos was published in the past by many newspapers and absolute no halobaloo about that. I am also a christian with christian standards but it seems if many of my fellow christians has absolute lost their abillity to judge rightfully coz of keyhole vision and onetrack-mindedness.

      Lacri - 2011-09-13 15:31

      What? The whole point is that the story was published, with graphic pictures, on the front page of a daily newspaper. In what way can you possibly say that it "haven't got any media-attentention [sic] at all"? Are you in some kind of parallel universe?

  • ndosithemba - 2011-09-13 15:20

    This are some of human being weaknesses, stratage think b4 act, bcause in each & every input there's output, in and out story.

  • grimbie1 - 2011-09-13 15:21

    Unfortunately never saw those ones but did see the ones they published of the Texan police having a go on the bonnet of the car. So why is it this one and not the others they have published?

  • bheki.dingiswayo - 2011-09-13 15:23

    I wonder why the police women was dismissed as far as I could remember there is no law which or policy in SAPS which prohibits police officer engaging in sex while wearing a uniform. Maybe this was done during their lunch break- who knows?

  • ChumScrubber - 2011-09-13 15:24

    Sometimes shocking things need to be done to expose the real truth as to what is happening in our police service.

  • - 2011-09-13 15:25

    have not seen the pics yet... but papers like die son, so called afr paper famous page 3 pic. "want die son sien mos alles". what makes this one any different. naked pics of woman breast (where you can clearly see the nipples) Or.......

  • ndosithemba - 2011-09-13 15:27

    People have already 4gotten about it now they want 2 start it again.

  • Sarcastic - 2011-09-13 15:27

    damn. I must be the only one who has not seen that vid. Any idea? I cannot comment until I see how good/ bad it was.

      jicksaw1 - 2011-09-13 15:44

      It is a true black porn

  • Charlton10 - 2011-09-13 15:28

    and Shithead malema's head picture under her ass. have you seen it?

  • jicksaw1 - 2011-09-13 15:34

    @Gungets Tuft, you don't know what you are saying. Losing a cell phone is different from publicising what is in your phone. Sowetan received the already publicised video, they did not interfere with anybody's private device. The actors in that porn publicised it themselves, what are you talking about

      jicksaw1 - 2011-09-13 15:41

      The actors in that porn do not have a chance to sue sowetan. The only thing that angered some people is putting that on front page, what will our kids say? The children of those actors will live with that shame for the rest of their life and the understanding is that they should n't be punished because of their parents stupidity.

  • RobinHood - 2011-09-13 15:35


  • Charlton10 - 2011-09-13 15:36 - Cached - Similar

  • Ingie - 2011-09-13 15:46


  • Ingie - 2011-09-13 15:47


  • Mpho - 2011-09-13 16:12

    darn if u publish the truth u get a kick in the nut-sack .... how south african and how morally convicted are we.

      Kumkani - 2011-09-13 16:15

      no chief, the problem is hw the truth was published

  • Kumkani - 2011-09-13 16:13

    Sowetan is gonna make more money on this apology. We gon buy the paper to hear what they say. How r they then punished?

  • Edwin - 2011-09-13 16:15

    SA is such a boring country... Can't believe this makes headlines

  • Wayne Poisson - 2011-09-13 16:16

    Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted...

  • seshike mmoledi - 2011-09-13 17:49

    What those two people did was in the interests of the public, we want to know what our taxes are paying government workers for, so the two were in uniform and so public had to know about that as they are the one contributing for their salaries through tax. The duty of the papers and journalist is to alert and inform us of what is happening around us so I think sowetan need not have to appologise for publishing that because is their duty to do so, informing the nation of what is happening in the country and abroad so if they got news and had not to publish them what is that? and what will then their duties be if they do not? well done sowetan for doing your job informing us of what is happening around us.

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-09-13 17:57

    At least,the Sowetan had the guts to reveal the truth. Scary and ugly as hell though. Imagine Jacob! "I demand one more wife". it's my culture

  • ProudlyKgomo - 2011-09-13 19:05

    This Retief must take a hike. What part of "public interest" doesn't he understand!!

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  • Mnumzane - 2011-09-14 07:38

    Why do they have to apologise because the newspaper was sold out on the day. It shopws most people started buying it after the message was circulated around. The paper gave people what they wanted.

  • Dries - 2011-09-14 18:01

    Are you all silly for criticising the paper? Those two vulgar, uncivilised animals did NOT WANT privacy. They DID it for a camera, dammit. They WANTED to go public. Stupid ruling by another white legal man.

  • Iris Moloantoa - 2014-06-04 15:53

    They are suppossed to be dismissed all of them. Why the male was that EVA sin alone. NO MATTER THERE IS A LOT OF RAPE IT is because of the NEWSPAPER and TELEVISION. YOU CANT LOOK AT THE TELEVISION TODAY WITHOUT THAT INDECENCY. THE MEDIA IS DISGUSTING TODAY.

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