Successful resolution of media dispute

On 9 April 2011 the Saturday Dispatch printed a sensational banner headline on the front page under the headline: "How Church Lied" and a photograph captioned: "Alive: Mthuthuzeli Dukashe was declared dead in an attempted land grab". On page 3, the newspaper printed an article under the headline "Universal Church leaders 'lied' in court". The article stated that the leaders of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God lied about the death of their East London landlord in order to secure the building that housed the congregation.
The headline and picture of Mr Dukashe were repeated in the Daily Dispatch published on 13 April 2011 together with readers' comments on the article. On 17 April 2011, the Daily Dispatch repeated the defamatory headline with a selection of comments posted on its website. This information was also published on Dispatch Online.

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God took immediate action, expressing shock and outrage at the defamatory and untrue headline and article. The church submitted a formal complaint to the Press Ombudsman on 21 April 2011, insisting on a retraction of the defamatory statements and an apology from the newspaper.

On 28 July 2011, the Saturday Dispatch agreed to publish an apology in a prominent position on page 3 of the next edition due for publication on Saturday 30 July 2011. This is the content that was agreed.

Universal Church Leaders did not lie in Court

In an article published in the
Saturday Dispatch on 9 April 2011, it was stated that the leaders of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God lied about the death of their East London landlord in order to secure the building that housed their congregation. The Church immediately challenged the accuracy of portions of the report and indicated that the statements made therein were defamatory of the Church and the Church leaders. The Saturday Dispatch accepts that the Church did not lie, nor attempt a land grab and apologises to the Church, its leaders and members for any damage caused to its reputation.

On 30 July 2011 this is what was published.

On 30 July 2011, the Saturday Dispatch published the agreed headline in a prominent position at the top of page 3.

However, the Saturday Dispatch edited the agreed article, removing the fact that UCKG had responded immediately to the article of 9 April 2011 and that the church was not involved in any land grab. The Saturday Dispatch did not abide by the terms of the agreement in this regard.

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God pointed this out in a letter dated 1 August 2011 and received the following letter in response.

click to enlarge

However, despite their statement that the Saturday Dispatch would not publish the correct content, they did. The agreed content was published on page 3 of the newspaper on 27 August 2011.

The UCKG believes that the matter has been satisfactorily resolved and is now closed.

7 Sep 2011 10:36


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