Advocacy group demands Sunday World fire reporter over story containing alleged GBV victim's details

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Wise4Africa protesting outside Sunday World's offices.
Wise4Africa protesting outside Sunday World's offices.
  • Organisation, Wise 4 Afrika has marched to Sunday World offices demanding a retraction of an article containing personal and confidential information regarding an alleged victim of sexual assault.
  • The organisation is further calling for the dismissal of journalist Ngwako Malatji.
  • A statement from the publication is expected on Sunday.

Advocacy organisation Wise 4 Afrika marched to the Sunday World offices on Thursday demanding the publication retract an article containing the personal and confidential information of a woman who had accused popular deejays Fresh and Euphonik of sexual assault.

The organisation further demanded the journalist who wrote the article be fired.

The article led with a headline based off a WhatsApp screenshot posted on social media that was yet to be verified.

READ | DJ Fresh, Euphonik won't be prosecuted for alleged sexual assault

The WhatsApp screenshot which was posted by Euphonik - real name Themba Nkosi - had since been deleted. 

The article - which was published three days ago - also included information from a police statement with respect to the sexual assault case opened at the Sunnyside police station.

"The Sunday World and [Ngwako] Malatji published the article without first verifying the authenticity and the accuracy of the WhatsApp message," the memorandum by Wise4Afrika - dated 4 March 2021 - said.

Wise4Afrika said the leaking of a statement given to a member of the police without the victim's consent and/or knowledge, was detrimental to the safety of victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and was also an infringement of their rights to privacy, confidentiality and the right of protection under the law.

"By publishing this information, the Sunday World and Malatji failed to exercise care and consideration involving the private lives and concerns of the victim and for her dignity, safety and reputation.

"This goes against the Code of Ethics that requires that news should be obtained legally, honestly and fairly, unless public interest dictates otherwise," the memorandum said.

As a result, Wise4Afrika made the following demands:
  • A public retraction making amends for publishing the article, by Sunday, 7 March 2021.
  • The dismissal of Malatji as a journalist for "his callous misconduct on this matter".
  • Convene a meeting to engage on the paper's approach to reporting on GBV, in particular.

Sunday World Editor, Wally Mbhele, told News24 that the publication had taken note of the demands and always welcomed constructive criticism.

"We have taken note of the demands in the memorandum, we appreciate the concerns raised with us. We all always welcome constructive criticism, that is meant to help us as journalists to do things better in future, but in terms of other things i.e the [press] ombudsman, I have to give that process a fair chance to unfold," Mbhele told News24 on Thursday.

He added that he was "unhappy about the tone of the article" and the publication would make a statement on Sunday.

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