Johannesburg - The Daily Sun reached an agreement with the Press Council to publish a front page kicker and page two apology for publishing photographs of mutilated corpses, the paper said on Tuesday.
“We are satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations. We confirm that we have complied with our obligations in terms of the sanction,” publisher Jeremy Gordin said.
Press Ombudsman Johan Retief ruled in November that the paper must publish a front page apology for publishing the two photographs on its front page, which he found breached section nine of the Press Code.
This section reads: “Due care and responsibility shall be exercised by the press with regard to the presentation of brutality, violence, and suffering.”
The pictures were colour photographs of people killed in mob justice attacks in November.
Gordin said the ruling came after the Government Communication and Information System, the co-operative governance department, and others complained about the photographs, published on October 29
and November 6.
The newspaper unsuccessfully applied for leave to appeal the ruling to the Press Appeals Panel.
An agreement between the two parties was reached and the Daily Sun published a kicker on the front page on June 4, stating that “the people's paper apologises for graphic images, see page two”, Gordin said.
A kicker is a small headline on the front page.
Page two contained a 200-250 word apology for the publication of the graphic images.
The newspaper was directed to state that publication of the pictures was unacceptable and caused unnecessary harm as children could see them.
According to the complainants, the pictures were insensitive, dehumanising, inconsiderate, caused discomfort to society, and lacked compassion.
“Some complainants add that such graphic pictures, if they have to be published, should not be exhibited on the front page,” Retief said at the time.
One of the photographs was captioned: “This picture shows the burning body of sangoma James Magagula, who was killed by Khutsong residents on Sunday. The people's paper is publishing the picture to show what happens in communities where there is no rule of law and justice is just a word.”
Gordin argued: “We felt that an 'example' should be made of the horror that happens when people lose faith in the country's justice system...”