Cape Town – Eyewitness News journalist Barry Bateman has issued a formal apology for insulting Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.
Previously, Bateman’s employers Eyewitness News apologised to Malema after Bateman allegedly called him a "p**s" at an impromptu press briefing outside the Hawks offices.
Bateman was caught on camera using derogatory words while in conversation with another reporter. The video was widely shared on social media.
"l, Barry Bateman, unreservedly apologise to all South African’s (sic); all Women; Mr Julius Malema, the leader of the EFF; my employer, Eyewitness News, a part of the Primedia Group; and everyone else that I offended during my derogatory, insulting and obscene outburst on the 10th of September 2019," the statement said.
"As a Senior Journalist and a citizen or South Africa, I have a duty uphold the highest ethical standards and professional conduct, whatever the circumstances or differences I may have with other newsmakers.
"My comments went against my company’s values and risked undermining the important role it plays in promoting gender equality, its contribution to the country’s war against gender-based violence and its role In building trust as an ethical media house."
Bateman went on to say that he has accepted disciplinary charges instituted against him by EWN. He received one month’s suspension without pay for the month of October and a final written warning, which is valid for a period of 12 months.
"The highly charged environment on 10 September 2019, was no excuse. My conduct was unjustifiable. I remain committed to the principles and ethos of the esteemed journalism profession, which is critical to strengthening a democratic South Africa through accountable and responsible media," he added.
"I will continue to reflect on my unbecoming conduct during the period of my suspension."
At the time of the incident, the Red Berets rejected the "lukewarm and delayed" apology.
"One must simply imagine what would have happened had the EFF responded to Bateman on the scene to his naked provocation. It is obvious that many would blame EFF for being intolerant of the media and suppressing media freedom
"It is obvious that Bateman could swear at the EFF President Julius Malema because South African journalism has allowed, condoned and promoted biased reporters," the party said.