Complainant: Sarojini Govender
Lodged by: Sarojini Govender
Article: Phoenix politician charged for kidnapping, assault
Date: 16 August 2015
Respondent: Yashika Ramautar, manager/news editor Tabloid Media
Govender, 50, is complaining about a story in the Phoenix Tabloid of 23 June 2015, headlined Phoenix politician charged for kidnapping, assault.
She complains that the story contained details of the alleged charges against her before she had had an opportunity to plead and that this has prejudiced her case and harmed her dignity.
The story said that Govender has been charged with the assault and kidnapping of her brother’s ex-girlfriend, Brenda Pillay. She reportedly appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court and had been released on bail of R1 500 (on June 17).
Ramautar replies that Govender is a public figure and the story was therefore in the public interest. “[W]e don’t see how we could have prejudiced her court case or harmed her reputation, as she handed herself over to the police, was arrested, charged, appeared in court and was released on bail.”
I note that this information was confirmed by major Thulani Zwane of the KZN SAPS media centre.
I am satisfied that the story was materially correct, and am therefore dismissing the complaint.
Govender requests that I bring this matter before an adjudication panel which, in this instance, I find completely unnecessary.
Our Complaints Procedures lay down that within seven working days of receipt of this decision, either party may apply for leave to appeal to the Chairperson of the SA Press Appeals Panel, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, fully setting out the grounds of appeal. He can be contacted at Khanyim@ombudsman.org.za.