Platinum vs. Sunday Sun (3)
Fri, Aug 31, 2012
Ruling by the Deputy Press Ombudsman
August 30, 2012
This ruling is based on the written submissions of Mr Floyd Mbele, for Platinum Stars, and the Sunday Sun newspaper.
The soccer club Platinum Stars (PS) complains about a column in the Sunday Sun on 25 March 2012, headlined Mbele bans us!
Club chairman Floyd Mbele complains that the caption falsely stated that he had banned Sunday Sun from all PS’ events.
The column, written by Mathews Mpete, broke the news that Mbele had banned the Sunday and the Daily Sun from attending events organized by PS.
Caption sending out wrong message
The caption to this story reads: “Floyd Mbele has banned Sunday Sun and Daily Sun from all Platinum Stars’ events”.
Mbele complains that this sent out a “wrong message”. He refers me to a text message to the sports editor of the newspaper which read: “Maybe we should bar your papers until this matter is sorted out.” (emphasis added)
He wrote this SMS after the journalist refused to disclose who his source was.
The newspaper says that Mbele phoned Mpete on 19 March, stating that the Daily Sun and Sunday Sun were barred from attending any event organized by PS.
This leaves me with an impossible situation – a yes-no-yes-no-situation. On the strength of the SMS I would have found for Mbele, as the word “maybe” occurs in the message. However, it may be that he told Mpete that the newspapers were banned; or it may not be the case.
There is no reasonable chance that one of the parties would acknowledge that he had lied about this matter (for one party is lying – both cannot be correct). I therefore believe that a hearing would be superfluous.
As I have no evidence to support any kind of decision on this matter, I am not able to come to a responsible finding in this case.
There is no finding.
Please note that our Complaints Procedures lay down that within seven days of receipt of this decision, either party may apply for leave to appeal to the Chairperson of the SA Press Appeals Panel, Judge Ralph Zulman, fully setting out the grounds of appeal. He can be contacted at Khanyim@ombudsman.org.za.
Deputy Press Ombudsman