When Mail & Guardian reported that some anonymous Democratic Alliance (DA) members disclosed that the DA leader, Mmusi Maimane is receiving leadership tutorials from ex-president FW De Klerk, the DA threatened to take action against the article. The Mail & Guardian newspaper then said it will stand by its front-page story.
“We stand by our article. Normal avenues, including press ombud and courts, are open to those who differ. End of story,” Verashni Pillay, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief tweeted.
Can’t tell why M&G decided to forsake their story, the DA has however, stated that the party “noted and accepts the apology published by the (M&G) today for leading with a misinformed and ill-advised story on 29 January, titled ‘Educating Mmusi: Is FW tutoring him?'”
Adding that “M&G further neglected to follow due process for the article on page 4 of the same publication, titled ‘Who is in the brains trust?'” The opposition party commended the media house “for their constructive engagement on the issue, and for the steps taken to address the matter.
As a political party we do not shy away from scrutiny, but we will stand up to abuses and failures of media ethics when we see them. We must be able to apply the same pressure for integrity that is expected of us,” DA states.
DA believes the matter “will also be instructive for other media outlets that frequently rely solely on a tiny handful of nameless sources, without any serious effort to establish the veracity of rumors.”
According to them, “a healthy and robust media contributes to a democratic consciousness in our society, but must be done on the basis of fact – not rumor and speculation.
The M&G has a proud track record of path-leading journalism, and it is not in the interests of a vibrant democracy and a free press to have the M&G suffer critical damage to its credibility.
The M&G’s constructive approach to dealing with the matter, however, shows that self-regulation can work and that there is no need for draconian censorship measures, such as the proposed media tribunal, that threatens the freedom of the press,” the party opines.