Zimbabwe’s The Sunday Mail apologized and admitted it published a fake interview with politician Roy Bennett, according to the Zimbabwe Daily.
The March 23 article, published in print and online, “Bennett slams Tsvangirai,” is replete with fake quotes, including Bennett calling former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai “power-hungry” and “strong-handed.” Bennett also is quoted as saying it was “unprocedural” for another official to be suspended.
Bennett was the MDC’s treasurer general but left the MDC party last year.
The article is published on the Zimbabwe Mail’s website. The article claims the quotes were from an “exclusive telephone interview” that the newspaper now allows, through its retraction and apology, that it never occurred.
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Bennett’s lawyer, Tafadzwa Mugabe, denied that the interview ever happened. Likewise, Bennett said in a radio interview “I never made any comments nor have I done any interviews with anyone, I never have and never will talk to the ZANUPF propaganda machine.”
The Sunday Mail published an apology in its print edition that read, “In the circumstances, The Sunday Mail is retracting the story and apologizing to Mr Bennett for any inconveniences caused by the publication of the story,” according to the Zimbabwe Daily.
The apology goes on to say that a freelancer wrote the article but the freelancer has “been unreachable.”
The apology was only published in print, according to the Zimbabwe Daily, which uploaded an image of it.
iMediaEthics has written to the Sunday Mail asking if it will post the apology online and for more information. We’ll update with any additional comments.