Pretoria – A South African tabloid daily newspaper, Daily Sun has apologised to Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, leader of the Enlightened Christian gathering Church on Wednesday over an article the newspaper published on the 18th of February 2019.
The article alleged that four female members of the ECG church had accused its top leaders of sexual harassment and abuse, and described the church as “One big bedroom”.The article was headlined “SEX CLAIMS ROCK BUSHIRI CHURCH”
Daily Sun claims that its source was #NotInMyNameSA and that the organisation claimed to have “…Statements and testimonies of how luxurious Gauteng hotels were centres for sexual encounters and sickening orgies.”
This publication is in possession of the Press Ombud ruling of 18 March that ruled that Daily Sun should apologise to Bushiri and the Church.
This came after a formal complaint was lodged by Makhudu Sefara of Unscripted Communication (Pty) Ltd. Sefara argued that the allegations were false and the article was not supported by facts: “We believe such facts are not included in the story because they do not exist”
He adds that “There is no effort in the news story to support the allegations with facts or evidence. Our submission is that the orgies are a figment of someone’s creative imagination”
In his analysis, the ombudsman indicated that Daily Sun was not justified in publishing the allegations in question without verifying the facts; and identifying Bushiri as the main accused.
The finding was that, inter alia, the Daily Sun was in breach of sections of the Press Code 1.1, 1.7 and 3.3 that state that “The media shall take care to report news…fairly”, “The media shall verify the accuracy of doubtful information, if practicable; if not, this shall be stated; and “The media shall exercise care and consideration in matters involving dignity and reputation…” respectively.
Daily Sun then, on Wednesday apologised to Shepherd Bushiri, affectionately known as Major 1 and the ECG church, a move that, paradoxically however, many journalists applauded the newspaper and the ombudsman for taking.