White House journalist who described the South African president as an “unidentified leader” has drawn a backlash from social media users and press in South Africa and beyond.
Darlene Superville, the White House reporter for The Associated Press, tweeted a picture of four world leaders at this year’s G7 summit, tagging Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Instead of also tagging South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Superville labeled him as an “unidentified leader.”
Twitter users responded to the reference with anger, with more than 3,400 people responding to the Tweet, which was posted on Sunday.
Superville later appeared to have deleted the tweet, and instead posted a new message tagging Ramaphosa.
“While South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is properly identified in the photos AP published from the G-7, an AP reporter sent a tweet that failed to identify the president in a photo. A new tweet that identified President Ramaphosa was later published by the reporter. We acknowledge the omission,” a spokeswoman for AP told CNN in a statement.
“When a mistake is made, AP moves to correct it as swiftly and completely as possible,” she added.
@AP seriously!!! Journalists are human beings who can make mistakes but this seems to stem from a point of ignorance.
As well as attracting criticism from commentators and thousands of Twitter users, the reporter’s mistake was picked up on by South African and international media outlets, including Rwanda’s The New Times, South Africa’s IOL and The Citizen.
Waihiga Mwaura, a leading Kenyan TV presenter, said the error seemed to “stem from a point of ignorance.”
Angela Quintal, Africa coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, tweeted a photo of Ramaphosa and Donald Trump, with the caption: “Today’s edition of know your leaders: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa with unidentified man.”
Ramaphosa had been attending the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France.
According to an official statement issued by government officials, Ramaphosa was invited to the summit by French leader Emmanuel Macron, and spent the summit discussing free trade, the digital economy and climate change.