For those who have the same warped sense of humour this Letter can also be had in French.
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Monday, February 4, 2013
Press Council's odd judgments & Steve Mulholland
Sorry to see that my Big Brother the South African
Press Council has given you a right old
bashing about what you wrote in your SundayTimes
column, This is
As you know your paper reported that the
Deputy Press Ombudsman
Dr Johan Retief ruled that your Johannesburg based paper had to apologise for what you wrote about
the Director General of the Department of Public
Enterprise Tshediso Matona.
slammed your column as misleading,unreasonable,
negligent, unjustifiable and unfair text.Gosh that’s telling you.
As a former newspaper top dog it must
have come as shock to be told off in
such a fashion. But then you used pretty strong language in your column so you
shouldn’t have been surprised if it boomeranged
back when you got your facts completely
You described our South African Government
as a vast
criminal enterprise conducted by a mafia run, in turn, by dons and their
wrong with that I would say. Everybody knows that’s too true for comfort.
It seems the mistake you made was
accusing Matona of corruption and other wrong
doings which you did not substantiate.
I thought the Press
Council had gone into hibernation after there was Government talk a little while back of stopping the Media being policed by itself, something
which has been long overdue.
Nothing came of that, but judging by
your case the Council is making a point of
giving high profile Government complainants the very best treatment.
It seems you were unlucky because in my
limited experience the Press Council
only takes a stand if the complainant
is somebody it can’t ignore. You
know some sort of big shot or other
especially somebody in a Government
that is breathing down its neck.
In my case being an ex-Sunday Times investigative journo and currently the
Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman was not enough of a
status symbol to warrant serious consideration of my complaints,
which were dismissed without even an appeal being allowed.
In fact being the Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman probably disqualified any
of my complaints from the start. I’m sure the Press
Council hasn’t taken kindly to this upstart trying to usurp its
extremely important role of keeping newspapers in line.
In the Press Council’s eyes it was perfectly
in order for a journalist, who had been exposed
in Noseweek as a crook, to go on
being employed by the Business
section of the Sunday Times (seePress Council’s Brand
of Justice – Parts I & II -22/2/2011; Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman in
DisappearingMystery 8/3/2011)that you now write for.
And it was
also in order as far as the Press
Council was concerned for the paper to rat on an undertaking to do
something about get-rich-quick advertisements that the paper was carrying.
Subsequently some of the advertisers had
their crooked ways exposed on Carte
Blanche and in Noseweek(see Noseweek exposes
Dearjon Letter), but not before they had made millions
with the help of those Sunday Times ads that I tried, for more
than two years, to stop.
The Press Council’s
website lists 14 members of the Council with
pictures of only six of them. The rest are faceless including Mondli Makhanya the former Editor
in Chief of the Sunday Times whose
picture appears every week beside the column he writes in that paper.
So what are most of them so bashful about? Are they
scared of getting a brick through their window or something?
I also see that Joe Thloloe,
who was the Ombudsman from
2007 was given an even fancier title when he
became the Director in the Press Council in Januarythis year and Johan
Retief, who, as his deputy, seems to have been dealing with most of the
case work is now the Ombudsman.
Steve it’s just as well there is no Blog Council otherwise I could be defending myself
there every week. But with the present ANC Government
who knows there could be a statutory, Complaints Council for Blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
I hope this one bad
experience won’t put you off knocking everything that is bad about our
Government. Let’s face it that could be the longest column ever written.