eNCA says Lindsay Dentlinger's failure to ask interviewee to don a mask was not racist

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Reporter Lindsay Dentlinger was conducting interview during the Budget Speech at the time of the incident. (Lubabalo Lesolle/Gallo Images)
Reporter Lindsay Dentlinger was conducting interview during the Budget Speech at the time of the incident. (Lubabalo Lesolle/Gallo Images)
  • eNCA has defended one of its journalists who was accused of racism after she interviewed a maskless white politician but asked a black politician to keep on his mask.
  • The news agency says Lindsay Dentlinger made the error due to the pressures of live reporting.
  • It says the social media storm that stemmed from the incident is unfair to both eNCA and Dentlinger.

eNCA has come out in defence of its reporter, Lindsay Dentlinger, saying that her "alleged inconsistent behaviour" to Covid-19 protocols during a live interview "was not racially motivated or with malicious intent".

Dentlinger was conducting interviews during the budget speech and spoke to FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald while he wasn't wearing a mask. When she turned to UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, she asked him to keep on his mask.

The incident caused social media backlash and led to allegations of racism.

"eNCA understands how an excerpt of Dentlinger's coverage could have created a space for general public conjecture. However, eNCA management, after meeting with Dentlinger to discuss the matter, concluded that her conduct was not racially motivated or with malicious intent," the channel said in a statement.

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Dentlinger is a seasoned journalist who has more than 21 years of experience, including nine with eNCA, the statement indicated.

"Dentlinger has interviewed many high-profile politicians from all sectors and parties without anyone calling her conduct into question. This incident represents an inaccurate and unfair image of her work."

eNCA managing editor John Bailey said Dentlinger "failed to request that the interviewee wear a mask" due to the pressures of a live broadcast.

"Through our deliberations, we have found that there is no mal intent on the part of the journalist. We further found that the way the journalist and eNCA has been perceived through this incident is unfair and not a true reflection of the journalist or our channel," added managing director Norman Munzhelele.

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