Agriculture minister’s profile on Wikipedia distorted
Share this article:
Durban -The Wikipedia page for Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana appears to have been tampered with, with it stating that the minister has little understanding of the department he controls.
The department hit back, telling the Daily News it was “fake news”.
The Wikipedia page said: “He appears to lack understanding of how agriculture actually works, given he believes that food comes from the supermarket, not from farms.”
It further said that by granting local fishermen licences, Zokwana destroyed Tsitsikama National Park, on the border of the Eastern and Western Cape.
Khaye Nkwanyana, director of communications at the department, said this was fake news.
He said this was done by elements within the agriculture industry who hated the minister.
He said that it was not only people within the agriculture industry who did not like the minister, but also “elements” within his department.
“It is insulting towards the integrity of the minister,” Nkwanyana said.
“Zokwana had a strong grasp of what was happening within the industry and has been in constant talks with various sectors in the industry.”
He said he would be talking to the department’s information technology and communication departments to address the matter.
Former ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa this week had to call out a parody account that posed as his.
Last weekend, Independent Online reported that the website of the presidency was hacked and defaced with a message.
The Wikimedia Foundation has been involved in several defamation cases over the years.
The most recent was in 2011 when hedge fund manager Louis Bacon sued the company for defamation and to reveal the identities of the editors who made the defaming entries.
He won the case in London, but it was not enforceable in the US.
Cheryl Ingram, director at The Digital Media Collective, said there was a huge volume of fake news on the internet. “If it sounds peculiar, it usually is,” she said.
For the everyday consumer of news, it was difficult to differentiate between fake news and what was actual news, and people often used Wikipedia as a fact-checking site.
She said it was important for people to be “street smart” while online because a large amount of information was intended to skew opinions.
“The web is a dangerous place for the uninitiated,” Ingram said.
She said to verify information that had been posted online, one could visit websites such as snopes.com or africacheck.org