Tendai Madondo vs The Chronicle (26 October 2016)

The VMCZ Media Complaints Committee received a complaint from then ZiFM Station Manager  Tendai Madondo over a story  published by the Chronicle on 19th October 2016 headlined, “ZiFM presenter exodus opens can of worms’.

Tendai was aggrieved, raising the following issues in her complaint:

·         The story was defamatory, a personal attack that lacked the basics of journalism in terms of fairness, accuracy and balance

·         The story sought to malign the image of the ZiFM Stereo station manager in disregard of journalistic tenets

·         She felt that the story was meant to appease “certain interested parties” and “not a story of public interest”

 

·       She added that the slant of the story was aimed at destroying her professional image and professional standing and that there was no evidence to support the defamatory claims in the story.

Status: Finalised  

The Chronicle issued a retraction and apology on 9th November 2016 both online and in print.

Background

In earlier correspondence over the case the  Chronicle newspaper had responded as follows: 

·         That there was no intention to malign the complainant as evidenced by the newspaper’s “strenuous efforts” to contact her for comment prior to publication of the initial story and the subsequent right of reply in a follow-up article the following day.

·         The newspaper however also argued that Madondo as the former Station Manager should be accountable  for the “mass exodus”  of journalists from the station and that it was therefore erroneous for her to suggest she was being fairly untargeted.

·         The newspaper also cited its effort to seek her comment while she was away in Johannesburg as proof of their adherence to ethics.

The complainant in her response argued:

         That she was not given a chance to respond to the issues as the reporter allegedly used whatsapp discussion points between the two parties to pen another article before she could get back to him with a proper response

·         That it was disproportionate and inaccurate for the Chronicle to claim a “mass exodus” of “seven journalists” from ZiFM when only four journalists had at the time of publication left the station

·         That it was unprofessional for the Chronicle to claim some (named) reporters had left the station when their shows were still airing and  there were no resignation letters from the reporters at the time of publication 

That in the absence of testimonials by the affected journalists, claims by the Chronicle that “seven journalists” left the station due to mismanagement by the station manager were personal, targeted and bent on tarnishing her professional image