Sky News unpublished an article that identified the wrong man as the stowaway who fell out of a Kenya Airways plane earlier this year.
Sky News claimed a Nairobi man named Paul Manyasi was the man killed after falling out of the plane, but Kenya’s The Nation reported that the man pictured is alive and not the stowaway, Press Gazette reported.
The man pictured in the Sky News report is named Isaac Shivonje, and he is currently in prison for “an unrelated case,” according to The Nation, which interviewed him.
The Nation explained that Sky News’ report claimed Manyasi, with the photos of Shivonje, was the stowaway who had been part of the airport cleaning staff. But, after the Sky News report, the Kenya Airports Authority and its cleaning company said they didn’t have an employee named Manyasi.
Sky News interviewed Shivonje’s father, Isaac Beti, who is named as Isaac Manyasi. The father seemingly confirmed the report to Sky News, but told The Nation “I could not tell them that my son was in jail” and that he got paid SH20,000 or about $200 U.S.
iMediaEthics wrote to Sky News to ask how the error occurred, if the family or man has threatened a lawsuit or sought retraction as has been reported, if Sky News did in fact pay the father and why, if the reporter offered any explanation and if any on-air corrections or apologies were broadcast. Sky News only pointed to its statement which reads in full:
“Sky News has received new information relating to a recent investigation. Since the broadcast and publication of our investigation into the identity of the stowaway who fell from a Kenya Airways plane in June this year, information has come to light that casts doubt on our conclusions.
A Kenyan newspaper report this morning indicates that the man who our Africa Correspondent John Sparks was led to believe was the stowaway is not. In light of that evidence we no longer believe that the man identified as Paul Manyasi was the stowaway. John’s investigation lasted a number of months and was conducted diligently and in good faith. He relied on corroborating confirmations provided by individuals who identified as friends, relatives and colleagues of Paul Manyasi and there was no reason to disbelieve them. However, it’s now apparent that John was misled.
Four days prior to the broadcast and publication, we approached the Kenyan Airports Authority and the cleaning company Colnet we believed the stowaway worked for. Neither responded to our approaches until after the report was broadcast and published. Given that we believe our conclusions were mistaken we have removed the story and will not republish it in its current form.
“The Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority has previously acknowledged that it was possible that the stowaway was an airport employee and we have no reason to disagree with that assessment. However, we do not have conclusive evidence to suggest the stowaway worked for the cleaning company Colnet. We apologise to Colnet for the suggestion that one of their employees was the stowaway. Sky News has built a reputation on accuracy and therefore when our reporting does not meet that standard it is important we fully acknowledge to our viewers when new information is uncovered.”
Sky News published a Nov. 22 correction on its website:
“Sky News reported last week on the identity of a stowaway who fell from a Kenya Airways plane as it came into land at Heathrow Airport in June. The report, from Africa correspondent John Sparks, identified the stowaway as Nairobi airport worker Paul Manyasi.
This was based on corroborating interviews with people who identified as friends, relatives and colleagues of Paul Manyasi – including his father. In an interview with a Kenyan newspaper, that man has now admitted misleading Sky News.
According to the story in Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation, his son – named in the report as Shivonje Isaac – is alive and on remand in a Kenyan prison. Sky News regrets that our reporting was founded on misleading information.
The Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority has previously acknowledged that it was possible that the stowaway was an airport employee.
However, we no longer have conclusive evidence that he worked for the cleaning company Colnet and we apologise to Colnet for suggesting the stowaway was one of their employees.”