Channel mistakenly airs Mandela obituary

April 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM
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CAPE TOWN, South Africa, April 3 (UPI) -- A South African TV station apologized for accidentally broadcasting an obituary for hospitalized former leader Nelson Mandela.

A spokesman for Universal Networks, owned by U.S. company NBCUniversal, apologized after viewers of the Universal Channel were repeatedly shown clips with the words "Remembering Madiba 1918-2013," using Mandela's Xhosa clan name, The Mirror, a British newspaper, reported Wednesday.

"Like any international broadcaster, Universal Networks holds obituaries ready for every major statesman in the world," the spokesman said. "Universal Networks wishes to offer a sincere and heartfelt apology for the airing of such an announcement for Nelson Mandela, which broadcast last night [Tuesday] on the Universal Channel due to a technical error by our team. We unreservedly apologize to the Mandela family, to Universal Channel viewers and to DStv subscribers for the alarm and offense caused by this error. Our thoughts and best wishes are with Madiba and his family for a speedy and full recovery."

Mandela has been hospitalized for a week with pneumonia. A government statement released Wednesday said the leader "continues to respond satisfactorily to treatment."

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