South Africa’s Business Day Television (BDTV) and CNBC Africa are out to answer to plagiarism allegations after the former broadcaster, formerly known as Summit TV, accused its competitor of copying messages posted on Twitter during Wednesday’s midterm budget speech by finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
BDTV CEO Vernon Matzopolous has accused CNBC of stealing the content his company posted to Twitter. CNBC Africa head of programming Bronwyn Nielsen has admitted the copying took place and apologised for what she has called an “error in judgment” by a junior intern.
“Why bother to employ your own journalists when you can just steal the content from your rivals?” Wrote Matzopolous in a statement, in which he attached images showing CNBC Africa posting identical tweets to those issued on BDTV’s Twitter feed. “As far as I know, publishing someone’s content as your own is plagiarism. Or does the Twittersphere have a different set of rules?”
In response, Nielsen explains that CNBC Africa has a team of people managing the channel’s social media accounts.
“One of the members was a junior intern who made an error in judgment during the midterm budget by copying and pasting three Business Day Television tweets,” she said. “The channel does not condone plagiarism and extends an apology to BDTV. Strict disciplinary action will be taken against the staff member in question.”
The person responsible for the channel’s tweets failed to remove “@BusinessDayTV” from one of the tweets then produced a direct copy after retweeting the original.