Ramaphosa story raises ethical alarm bells, says media analyst

Motive and media ethics matter when publishing stories that involve leaked information, explains media analyst William Bird.

This comes after the Sunday Independent's reports that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had a number of affairs.

Ramaphosa failed in his attempt to stop the story from being published and the media house says its has copies of his emails to back the claims up.

Bird says the Sunday Independent's story did not outline how the emails were verified before taking it to print.

These things were not present in the story on Sunday. The Sunday Independent may well have checked the veracity of the emails, but there's certainly no indication of that in the story.

William Bird, Executive Director of Media Monitoring Africa

He says the story raises suspicions and has the potential to undermine the credibility of media.

It immediately should put up anyone's red lights...warning readers of those kinds of stories.

William Bird, Executive Director of Media Monitoring Africa

Whistleblowers and people who leak stories always have some kind of agenda.

William Bird, Executive Director of Media Monitoring Africa

Bird explains that the manner in which the story was published was not an ethical decision, but was still within the law.

He says the publication did not make an argument for public interest or show transparency about the agenda of the people who leaked the information.

Read: I have never met Cyril Ramaphosa in my entire life - Nonhlanhla Radebe

You should have the obligation to make those reasons and rational very clear to your readers.

William Bird, Executive Director of Media Monitoring Africa

Whether or not a senior public official is having an affair - unless it impacts directly on their work or if there's evidence of wrongdoing or force, then you have to say what's the public interets in exposing this information

William Bird, Executive Director of Media Monitoring Africa

According to Bird, the publication of the story may only serve a particular interest.

Also read: Ramaphosa allegations a political smear campaign, says Deputy Health Minister

Whoever leaked the Gupta emails, has an agenda as well.

William Bird, Executive Director of Media Monitoring Africa

He advises that readers test the story on its merits and question what agenda it serves.

Take a listen to the insightful discussion:


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
I have never met Cyril Ramaphosa in my entire life - Nonhlanhla Radebe

I have never met Cyril Ramaphosa in my entire life - Nonhlanhla Radebe

ANC Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu says the scandal against Cyril Ramaphosa clearly has some kind of political agenda.

Debate: As a public figure Cyril Ramaphosa is held to a higher standard...or not

Debate: As a public figure Cyril Ramaphosa is held to a higher standard...or not

Political analysts Karima Brown and Prince Mashele explain why Ramaphosa's personal affairs impact his presidential campaign.

Infidelity claims won't impede Ramaphosa's presidential bid - Brown

Infidelity claims won't impede Ramaphosa's presidential bid - Brown

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa made a dramatic confession about an extramarital affair in attempts to clear his name.

Ramaphosa allegations a political smear campaign, says Deputy Health Minister

Ramaphosa allegations a political smear campaign, says Deputy Health Minister

The Sunday Independent reports that Ramaphosa has had a number of affairs and has copies of Ramaphosa’s emails to back this up.

Cosatu looks for candidate to unite alliance

Cosatu looks for candidate to unite alliance

Cosatu's Central Executive Committee is set to discuss how to bolster support for ANC presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa.

Popular articles
If you're caught driving with your phone, officials are allowed to confiscate it

If you're caught driving with your phone, officials are allowed to confiscate it

If the engine is running and you are sitting behind the wheel you are not allowed to operate your phone says W Cape's JP Smith

[WATCH] Zola Tsotsi drops bombshell about Zuma meeting at State Capture Inquiry

[WATCH] Zola Tsotsi drops bombshell about Zuma meeting at State Capture Inquiry

Former Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi’s jaw-dropping statements include Tony Gupta saying they could hire or fire Eskom board members.

SA fizzy drinks undergo "shrinkflation" to control sugar intake

SA fizzy drinks undergo "shrinkflation" to control sugar intake

Coca-Cola has reduced its 500ml "buddy" to 440ml and the traditional 330ml Coke cans will soon have a volume of just 300ml.

Mugabe threatened to dissolve Parliament hours before his resignation

Mugabe threatened to dissolve Parliament hours before his resignation

Deputy President of MDC says Mugabe's threats could not deter them from their mission to impeach him - they were determined.

What Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Makro will offer on Black Friday

What Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Makro will offer on Black Friday

Up for a Springboks level scrum? Instructions on how to ensure you get the deals in your inbox the moment they become known...