13 September 2017

South Africa: We Published Video for Authenticity - Kunene's Lawyer

Kenny Kunene published pictures and videos of the woman alleged to have had an affair with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to prove the authenticity of a story that a publication he owns ran.

This was the argument presented by his legal counsel to the High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Advocate Garth Hulley argued on behalf of Kunene that the article may have been dismissed as fake news had the salacious pictures and videos, allegedly sent by the woman to Ramaphosa, not been published.

"The veracity of the article could have easily been challenged if there was no proof to go along with it," Hulley argued.

Kunene is challenging an urgent application that was lodged on Monday by a woman seeking to interdict Kunene's online publication. The interdict application was also brought against Kunene himself and The Sunday Independent editor Steve Motale.

The woman's application requests the removal of the videos and photographs on the site, and seeks to ban the uploading of more images, an undertaking which Hulley agreed to pending a final ruling from the judge.

Breach of the privacy and dignity

Motale made an undertaking to not publish the name of the woman or the videos on Sunday Independent.

The application also seeks to have the court order that photographs or stills produced from videos are also not to be used, and that other publications with links to the original article should take them down as they constitute a breach of the woman's privacy and dignity.

Two weeks ago, The Sunday Independent ran an article claiming that the paper had emails proving alleged extramarital relationships between eight women and Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa believes the emails were illegally obtained as part of a "smear campaign" against him in the run-up to the presidential elections of the ANC in December.

One of the women implicated but not named in The Sunday Independent bought the application before the court.

Kunene's publication ran an article in the same week, naming the woman and embedding erotic videos and photographs she had privately sent to Ramaphosa's email.

"I was informed by people that people were viewing a 'naked' video of me on the internet... I had refrained from reading further news articles as this matter had become quite traumatic for me."

She said, in her affidavit, after viewing the "dreadful content" of the article on the website on Tuesday, she stayed at home and cried most of the day.

Risk of further violations

The woman said the deliberate posting of her private videos online continues to cause distress for her and her family.

"I am perpetually suffering prejudice as my rights to privacy continue to be violated by the video... and I am living with a metaphorical gun to my head as there is a real and tangible risk of further violations to my privacy,' she continued.

Advocate Tshifhiwa Mabuda, the woman's lawyer, argued that publishing blurry private videos of a sexual nature did not add to the authenticity of the story.

The publication of the videos had to be weighed against the rights of the unnamed woman who did not consent to their distribution, he said.

"The matter is not in the public interest as the woman is not a public figure and she was merely linked to someone who is a public figure. The deputy president himself is not in the videos," he argued.

Earlier, Judge Raylene Keightley ruled that a media live stream of the proceedings was not in the public interest.

Keightley reserved judgment on the interdict application until Friday morning to apply her mind.

Source: News24

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