Sanef 'appalled' by shortlisting of Tembisa 10 story for global award

Last year, Pretoria News ran an "exclusive story" claiming a 37-year-old woman had broken a Guinness World Record by carrying and delivering 10 babies.

Gosiame Thamara Sithole from Tembisa. Picture: screengrab

CAPE TOWN - A questionable and controversial news report about the birth of decuplets has been shortlisted for a global award.

Last year, Pretoria News ran an "exclusive story" claiming a 37-year-old woman had broken a Guinness World Record by carrying and delivering 10 babies.

READ: Tembisa 10 report: Gosiame Sithole had a c-section, two of the babies died

Independent Media has stuck by the story despite widespread criticism within the media fraternity once the report could not be verified.

There's still no proof the 10 babies ever existed despite follow-up articles and a video series by them.

READ MORE: Sanef welcomes independent probe into ‘Tembisa decuplets’ story

Now, that series is up for an International News Media Award under the category Best Use of Social Media.

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said it was appalled and had written to the International News Media Association (INMA) to express its concern.

In response, the INMA said judges focused on the quality of the social media campaign and not the story itself adding it's not in a position to reverse the jury's decision to shortlist the entry.

Sanef said this response wasn't good enough as it legitimised a campaign borne out of a story that had been proven to not only be ludicrous but also an embarrassment to South African journalism.