Sonke and The Children’s Institute thank The Times and Times LIVE for their front page and online apology and take note of and appreciate their commitment to child rights.
On 11 January 2017, the first day of the 2017 school year, The Times published an article on their front page under the headline: ‘Pupils prefer the pain’. The strapline underneath read: ‘Corporal punishment “understood and accepted”’.
The article was also published online with the headline: ‘Some pupils would rather get a smack at school than have their parents called in’.
Sonke and The Children’s Institute found the article highly problematic for its incorrect and misleading reporting and the fact that it blamed learners for teacher’s use of violent discipline – and could encourage the use of physical punishment by teachers despite this being against the law.
We believed the article violated several provisions of the Code of Ethics and Conduct for South African Print and Online Media and requested that The Times publish an acknowledgement and apology for misleading reporting with an erratum and correction of the facts.
The apology appeared on the front page of The Times as well as online.