Following several complaints lodged with the Press Ombudsman against tabloid publication Sunday Sun, Kaizer Chiefs received the final ruling on the last case involving the club and Itumeleng Khune.
The publication has in recent time been publishing untruthful stories and one outdated story, claiming it to be recent.
In May and June, the Motaung family and Kaizer Chiefs decided to lodge formal complaints against Sunday Sun with the South African Press Council because of a dated hijacking article that took place years ago and a fake article that claimed Itumeleng Khune missed the PSL awards because his drink had been spiked on the eve of the event.
The rulings were handed down by the Appeals Panel of the Press Council.
The ruling of Judge BM Ngoepe’s led Appeals Panel confirmed Kaizer Chiefs’ position – The respondent, inaccurately and misleadingly, reported that the applicant was ‘recently’ robbed, and has thus breached Clauses 1.1 and 1.2 of the Press Code. In the published apology, the fact that Sunday Sun and journalist Mduduzi Nonyane have been found to be repeat offenders, should clearly be mentioned. As Judge Ngoepe said; it is nothing less than a plainly shameful and dishonest distortion detrimental to the interests of the media because it provides ammunition to critics of the otherwise salutary principle that anonymous sources should be protected.
The article, headlined, Khune’s ‘drink spiked!’, quoted sources who alleged that Khune, Kaizer Chiefs’ goalkeeper, could not accept the Best Goalkeeper of the Season accolade because the evening before the event, his drink had been spiked. The ruling of Acting Chair, Prof. K. Govender’s led Appeals Panel ruled that Sunday Sun breached article 1.1 of the Press Code, which states that “the press shall take care to report the news truthfully, accurately and fairly”. The ruling stated that reliance was placed on an anonymous source and on another who appeared to be reporting hearsay statements. “No effort appeared to be made to ascertain whether these sources were independent of each other and wholly inadequate attempts were made to verify their versions after the club had indicated that Khune was suffering from abdominal pains and was advised not to attend the awards ceremony. The respondent did not revert to the sources and solicit their views on the alternative version provided by the club.”
The Appeals Panel ordered that Sunday Sun must apologise to the parties mentioned in the articles.
Kaizer Chiefs Marketing Director, Jessica Motaung, welcomed the ruling, “It is disappointing that another Media24 publication (Sunday Sun), after Soccer Laduma was held to account for publishing a fake article, and continue to cheat their readers of truthful reportage. We respect and support freedom of the press, but this is not to be misused as a licence to publish false allegations – which is the modus operandi of some of the Sunday tabloid publications.
“We are seriously worried about journalistic integrity and ethics. We have taken up a few cases against Sunday World and Sunday Sun. They have been instructed to apologise for all the stories with false information. We once again urge all supporters to rely on Kaizer Chiefs media properties, social media platforms and other reliable media houses for credible and authentic club news,” she concludes.