National 20.9.2016 12:51 pm

ANC Women’s League falls for Tutu death hoax

ANCWL secretary general Meokgo Matuba (left) and league president Bathabile Dlamini at a media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday. Photo: ANA (Jonisayi Maromo)

ANCWL secretary general Meokgo Matuba (left) and league president Bathabile Dlamini at a media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday. Photo: ANA (Jonisayi Maromo)

The ANCWL secretary-general sent condolences to Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s family, not knowing the news of his ‘death’ was a hoax.

The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) had to issue an “unreserved apology” on Monday after its secretary-general, Meokgo Matuba, passed the organisation’s condolences to the Tutu family without knowing the source of the news was a hoax site.

The fake site on Monday reported that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu had died after he was readmitted to hospital.

The archbishop had spent the past three weeks in hospital for treatment of recurring infections resulting from past treatments he had for prostate cancer. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Tuesday condemned fake news websites and called on South Africans not to share news from hoax sites but use credible sources of information.

“Sanef notes and strongly condemns yesterday’s [Monday] false story about the well-being of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, which has done the rounds on social media,” the forum said in a statement.

“Such inaccurate reports by websites masquerading as credible news sources are highly damaging and hurtful to those involved and their families. They also do a great disservice to legitimate news websites and the news industry as a whole,” Sanef said.

Sanef said many of these fake sites purposefully use names and logos very similar to authentic media houses in an attempt to deceive their readers.

“We call on the publishers to desist from publishing these false and inflammatory stories with immediate effect, as it is grossly irresponsible,” Sanef said.

“Sanef also calls on all South Africans not to perpetuate false news cycles by sharing such stories on their social media networks. We ask that greater attention be given to the source of news before simply retweeting or sharing.”

Sanef said it would look for an appropriate course of action to take against such fake news sites.

African News Agency (ANA)

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