Friday, November 15, 2019


Dear Newspaper Readers,
Terry Worley
          I have recently exposed the Northern KwaZulu-Natal Courier on my blog for accepting an advertorial from ponzi scheme promoters that the paper itself had named as crooks. That was my first post on this subject, Newspaper Behaving Badly - the Courier exposes Ponzi Schemes and then takes their Tainted Money for an Advertorial
          It was followed by another one Newspaper’s Embarrassing Lesson after Libelling Engen (Newspapers Embarrassing Lesson) in which I took the paper to task because of the Engen logo that appeared, among others, in the advertorial. This was included, it would seem, to give readers the impression that the members of the De Beer family, who are behind the Coin-It and CommEx ponzi schemes, are very reputable business people.
         But like their ponzi rip-offs, this too was fraudulent. Engen has absolutely nothing to do with any member of this family or any of its companies I was told by Gavin Smith the firm’s External Communications Manager.
          In this post I included a very prominent link to my first story so that readers could see the explanation the paper gave for carrying the advertorial in the first place.
          Before posting my first story I sent an email to the Editor Terry Worley at the paper in Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal asking him why they had accepted that advertorial that painted Coin-It as a ‘do good’ charity organisation.
          “The Courier has just gone one better than the Sunday Times for appalling double standards just to make money,” I told him. You have also completely blown your belief “in the community newspaper being the trustworthy watchdog of the community.” This was one of his own quotes.
            I was referring to the fact that the Sunday Times carried two advertising inserts from CommEx and My House, ponzi schemes promoted by the same people as Coin-It, a few days after its sister publication had revealed that Coin-It and CommEx had been raided by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), which has since closed Coin-It. 
          Worley referred me to their advertising department without giving me the name of somebody to contact. He did however say: “Thanks for that. To be pedantic it was a half page ad, not a full page. PS. Loved your piece on Rowena’s (a ponzi investor I wrote a post about) plight, very well written. It appears as if the investigation has become stagnant with the Hawks but we are following up and apparently more investors, who have not received money need to make statements. We are told not even 15 have made statements and there are apparently 27 000.”
          Of my own volition I sent a similar email to Rod Skinner, the Regional Editor for this Caxton Group newspaper after establishing his credentials on Google. This time I added: “Surely that was the antithesis of good newspaper ethics. The message it sent was that your newspaper only cares about making money, not ethical behaviour.”
          He replied saying: “In fairness we had to give Coin-It a right of reply. They however insisted they wanted to reply in this manner. It is not for us to dictate how they as a company wish to exercise their right of reply. Nothing in the advertorial solicits business for the scheme.”          Since when have outsiders, particularly crooks, had an automatic right to tell a newspaper what and how they want something published?
          After posting my story about Engen I sent a link to Rowena James the anti-ponzi scheme activist who has been doing her best to get these ponzi promoters behind bars. I had also featured her several times on my blog.
          She then put a link to this on Facebook where she has a group called: The Truth - Exposing the Dundee Ponzi scheme boss.

In an interaction between her and Terry Worley that followed he stated: “You may like to know we are taking legal action against this person. Thank you.
“He himself followed no journalistic ethics to the ‘other side of the story’. We suspect his motives.”
Rowena then commented: “Terry Worley feel free to express your side of the story here, if you so wish.”
He replied: “It’s fine many thanks. It is out of my hands now as it has been escalated to our legal department in Johannesburg.”
After Rowena told me about this I replied saying that if I was to write about this threat I would obviously have to mention her in view of where it was made. I asked if this was okay as she could not be blamed for what I wrote about the Courier.
“I’m not scared of Terry,” she answered. “He probably was hoping for me to remove the post. I won’t do it.”
A few days later I received this odd email from Terry.
“Just a correction to your blog, our paper is paid for.” I had mistakenly stated that his paper was a free one. I immediately deleted the word “free” from the sentence that included “which has a weekly free distribution of 15 000 copies.”
He finished his email with this: “Meantime, thanks for all the free publicity. Best Terry. PS Check PMB High Court Dec. 4 Liquidation bid against Coin-It resumes. I assume you will cover this on your blog.”
 In my email reply I told him I had made the correction and asked: “What’s this I see on Facebook about you threatening legal action against me. It would not make much of a case if your only complaint about my reports (Totalling 1637 words) so far is that I got one word wrong.”
          He answered: “Our legal department is taking it up.”
          The Courier is part of the Caxton Group, one of the largest publishers and printers in South Africa. Its revenue this year was R6321-million with a profit of R452-million. So it has plenty of money to enable it to throw its legal weight around in this David and Goliath encounter.
          Let the truth prevail, because that’s what really seems to be what’s bugging the Courier, otherwise its Editor would surely have contacted me by now with a far more substantial complaint than that I had a word wrong that made absolutely no material difference to the main thrust of what I had written.
          Jon, the Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman

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