ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu on Friday welcomed an R80,000 fine imposed on broadcaster ANN7 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for defaming him.
“The Office of the Chief Whip is vindicated by this ruling as it viewed the conduct of ANN7 having been in gross violation of journalistic ethics and standards as stipulated in the code of the BCCSA,” a statement from Mthembu’s office said.
“This judgement ought to be a lesson to all media houses to never compromise journalistic values and principles in pursuit of narrow political agendas.”
ANN7 will have to repeatedly broadcast an apology 8pm on February 16 until 5pm the next day.
In its judgement released on Friday, the BCCSA said the airing of a media briefing by ANC MPs prior to a debate on state capture taking place in the National Assembly was “crafted between the six MP’s and the Broadcaster and that the news conference and broadcast thereof were intended to sabotage the Complainant’s [Mthembu’s] political career”.
“Contravention of the Code was found because the Complainant was not offered the opportunity to reply to allegations (admitted by the Broadcaster), because the clause relating to news was violated and because the dignity of the Complainant was infringed,” the ruling said.
“Despite an apology by the Broadcaster, a maximum fine of R80 000 was imposed and the Broadcaster was ordered to broadcast an apology.”
The November 2017 media briefing saw MPs have a go at Mthembu, saying the fact that he had agreed to the state capture debate showed he sided with the “racist Democratic Alliance, the DA on a biased parliamentary debate on state capture”.
– African News Agency (ANA)