Media should probe before breaking news

A FEW months ago South Africans were divided over Jonathan Jansen's handling of the Reitz Four.

John Robbie of Radio 702 sided with Jansen without having enough information about the matter.

It later emerged that though Jansen's intentions were good, he had not consulted the victims or perpetrators. I wrote to Robbie pointing out the valuable lesson we could all learn from this debacle, which is to get more information before we jump to conclusions.

We ordinary citizens rely on the media to keep us informed. We trust their integrity and objectivity and hope that they publish without fear or favour.

When we heard on the electronic media and read in the newspapers about the girl who was taken to hospital with burns on her hands but had her legs amputated instead, we were all shocked and stunned.

We trusted that the information was thoroughly researched and scrutinised. We took sides and lambasted the doctors, hospital, government and everyone else for this "blunder".

But now Peter Beale, head of division of paediatric surgery at Wits university, who gave the order that the little girl's legs be amputated, is defending the medical decision.

He explained in great detail why it was a matter of life and death for little Thembisa's legs to be amputated.

Now that the media got it wrong they arequiet. They again wait like scavengers for the next "big" story. I doubt if they would admit they were wrong to accuse the hospital and doctors of negligence and incompetence.

Papla Appel, Eersterust