What the ombud says, goes

2013-08-25 14:00

You win some

Press Ombudsman Johan Retief has dismissed “in its entirety” a complaint lodged against City Press in response to an article headlined “Are we strangers in a strange land?” (May 26 2013).

The complainant, Kirith Haria, said author Phumlani Mfeka’s article was defamatory, racist and had no regard for the Constitution.

He also accused City Press of supporting Mfeka’s views by giving him a platform.

Retief said he considered the article in context. It was published alongside one by Kay Sexwale “which, in fact, was highly critical of Mfeka’s views”.

He also noted that editor in chief Ferial Haffajee and another author strongly criticised Mfeka in the following edition.

Retief found that Mfeka’s article was part of a debate “which implies, by nature, different/opposing viewpoints”.

By offering a platform for debate, “City Press merely did its journalistic and democratic duty to put these views into the open”, Retief ruled.

You lose some

Retief has found that a City Press report headlined “Oscar takes ‘beautiful’ young woman to see his racy R1.5m Audi R8” (June 30 2013) was “misleading – but not deliberately so”.

In his ruling, which City Press intends appealing, Retief says the Pistorius family supplied him with evidence that showed our information about the Audi R8 was wrong.

Retief said City Press was justified to publish the information at its disposal, but it later became clear that this information was wrong and it had caused the murder suspect, Oscar Pistorius, “unnecessary harm”.

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