Daily Times apologises to JB’s sister, retracts fake story

The Daily Times newspaper has apologised over claims that Secretary for Education Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo accompanied by two presidential aides = reportedly summoned and grilled two outspoken activists Seodi White and Jessie Kabwila for their remarks that they would not vote for President Joyce Banda just because she is a woman.

The paper claimed that the two came under fire from Mtila-Oponyo, who is the president’s sister over comments allegedly made during a parallel session on women and political participation at the ongoing National Gender Conference in Mangochi organised by the Malawi Human Rights Commission in conjunction with UN Women.

The story which appeared on the front page on September 4, 2013 was headline: “JB’s sister grills Seodi, Kabwila” and illustrated with pictures of the two activists at Mtila- Oponyo.

Mtila-Oponyo: Received an apology

Mtila- Oponyo denied grilling the activists and protested to the paper on the “serious and defamatory” allegations, which caused “very significant damage, distress and embarrassment”.

The activists themselves in their statement clearly showed that the newspaper article which relied on unnamed sources was untrue and without foundation.

On Monday, the Daily Times publicly retracted the allegations, apologised unreservedly   through the notice on front page.

“It has come to our attention that Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo did not attend the said parallel session referred to in the news and as a matter of fact id not grill at all Seodi White and Jessie Kabwila,” read a statement by Blantyre Newspapers Limited (Times Media) the publishers of Daily Times.

“We hereby retract in its fullness the story and offer our esteemed apology to Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo for the damage the story may have caused to her,” said the statement.

This is second time the Daily Times is apologizing to the President’s family over a news article.

The paper also retracted the story which they claimed the President was still pocketing full salary despite announcing the cut.

President Banda slashed her salary by 30 per cent to show that she will sacrifice personally as part of her government’s austerity measures.

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