Veteran journalist Jacques Pauw has been removed as a contributor to Daily Maverick following his admission that a recent opinion piece contained false information and accusations.
Pauw and Daily Maverick published an article about his recent arrest at the V&A Waterfront. The original op-ed by Pauw blamed police officers for unfairly arresting him, accusing him of theft and allegedly taking his money.
It later revealed that this was not true, with Pauw admitting he had too much to drink and wrote the piece from an emotional state, misstating what actually occurred. He apologised in a post to Twitter saying: “I feel embarrassed by my conduct. In this era of fake news, propaganda and lack of accountability, I must publicly accept my own actions and apologise for them.”
My statement and an apology about the events at the V&A Waterfront on 6 February 2021 pic.twitter.com/ufFUGNdAvf
— Jacques Pauw (@Jaqqs) February 16, 2021
Following this apology, the Daily Maverick pulled down the story and issued their own response and apology. Editor Branko Brkic penned a personal note explaining what happened and offered his own apology to the readers.
“Where I am truly sorry is that, regardless of who’s guilty in this unnecessary distraction and the form it took, incorrect information reached you, the reader. We at Daily Maverick at all times strive to tell you the truth to the best of our abilities. This time I failed you, and for that, I apologise unreservedly,” he said.
At the end of the note, he confirmed that Pauw would no longer be part of the Daily Maverick team of contributors.
The incident and subsequent fallout have caused major stirs on social media among citizens and the South African media community. Many are calling out Pauw for further degrading trust in the media and questioning how a story that had not been confirmed was published.
“Pauw has undermined the credibility of himself, his publication and journalism and has contributed to further erosion of trust in our media,” said William Bird in his own op-ed on the topic published in the Daily Maverick.
In addition, some have said this calls into question all of Pauw’s previous work which included investigative pieces into the Zuma administration and Vlakplaas.
A few sober thoughts on Jacques Pauw’s druken lies:
1. If Jacques wasn’t white and male, responses to his drunken ĺies would very likely NOT treat this as a morally or ethically “complex” situation. He’d be judged bluntly for blatantly lying.
— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) February 17, 2021
The Jacques Pauw matter is not about judging the personal habits of an individual in their private time.
It’s much bigger than that.
It’s about how easily the media can be used for personal agendas, and how easily people believe it as gospel truth.
It’s about trust.
— Simon Grindrod (@SimonPGrindrod) February 16, 2021
1. A THREAD.
What Jacques Pauw did is called “malpractice”.
I personally like Jacques. He did not shoot unarmed miners in the back. He did not bomb a crèche. He did not rob a bank of gogos’ hard-earned ZAR.
Doesn’t matter. His career as a hack is over.
— Richard Poplak (@Poplak) February 17, 2021