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Media lambasted for violating medical ethics in covering Mandela's hospitalization


14:41, June 25, 2013

CAPE TOWN, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The South African Presidency on Monday lambasted certain media for transgressing medical ethics in covering former President Nelson Mandela's hospitalization.

"The doctors have indicated very firmly that some of the reporting is transgressing on medical ethics, not just in relation to doctor/patient confidentially, but in relation to the way in which doctors are being interviewed for their opinion," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said.

Mandela's privacy and dignity are at stake, Maharaj said.

He criticized some media outlets for broadcasting unverified information about details of Mandela's health condition. Yet the government earlier confirmed media report that an ambulance transporting Mandela broke down on June 8 for more than 40 minutes on a highway.

The government insisted that Mandela suffered no harm during this period.

All care was taken to ensure that Mandela's medical condition was not compromised by the unforeseen incident, a previous presidential statement said.

The government has been criticized for failing to inform the public about Mandela's condition in a timely manner.

Maharaj defended the way the government was handling Mandela's hospitalization.

There were no plans to change the current method of updating the nation and the world, Maharaj added.

"Our reports are based on what the doctors say and the text is actually approved in consultation with the doctors," Maharaj said.

There was an agreement in place with the Mandela family that there would be one source of information, that is, the Presidency, he said.

Mandela's condition had deteriorated from serious to critical, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday evening after visiting Mandela.

Zuma reiterated on Monday at a meeting with the South African National Editors' Forum that Mandela was still in a critical condition.

Zuma refused to give more information, saying: "I don't think I am in a position to give further details, I'm not a doctor."

Mandela has been hospitalized for more than two weeks due to a recurring lung infection. It's his fourth hospital stay since December.

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