ANCYL lambasts press ombudsman

2011-04-05 22:14
Johannesburg - The ANCYL called Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe "useless and toothless" on Tuesday, accusing him of undermining democracy after he refused a request to investigate how two newspapers misquoted its president Julius Malema.

In an attack on Thloloe, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) spokesperson Floyd Shivambu offered him "best wishes" in his continued effort to "erode the little respect" he had from other people.

"It is unfortunate though that some amongst us of the previously oppressed people have been co-opted into agendas that undermine the democracy and freedoms our forefathers fought for with their lives," Shivambu said.

Thloloe would not be drawn into the fray. "I won't stoop to that level," he said.

"They talk about democracy and freedom: they don't know anything about that. Press freedom is a cornerstone of democracy," he said.

Shivambu said the self-regulation of the media in South Africa was a threat to democracy and the dignity of people and should be stopped as soon as possible.

Last week, The Star and Daily Sun newspapers quoted Malema as criticising President Jacob Zuma - a move that could have landed Malema in hot water with the ruling party - but made front page apologies when it became clear that he had been misquoted.

While the reporter, who has since been dismissed, claimed the offending quote was not in his original story, the news agency he worked for, African Eye News Service (AENS) claimed he dictated it later by telephone.


On Monday, Thloloe denied a request by Shivambu to "consider and investigate" who was responsible for inserting the incorrect quotes into the offending stories.

"The Star and Daily Sun have conceded that they were in breach of the [Press code of conduct] and have apologised. There is no need to go over that ground again," Thloloe said at the time.

"It is the newspaper as a whole that has to take the blame. Our findings are not against the individual reporter, news editor, sub-editor, revise sub-editor or the editor on duty - all the people through whose hands a story has to pass before it is printed," he said.

He said Shivambu's request suggested he did not understand how the press ombudsman system worked.

The ombudsman's mandate included cautioning or reprimanding a publication and directing a publication to publish a correction, retraction, explanation, apology, the findings of the ombudsman, or a complainant's reply.

On Tuesday, Shivambu described Thloloe's refusal to investigate as "predictable".

"The ANCYL is not at all shocked by the response of the press ombudsman, because we are fully aware that lodging a complaint with the press ombudsman is tantamount to seeking ‘cat-justice’," he said.

Shivambu said the ANCYL would "explore all available avenues, including court action" to find out who inserted the incorrect quote.


Commenting in Thloloe's defence on Tuesday, the Press Council of SA described the ANCYL's attack as "gratuitous" and said it was clearly aimed at promoting a pro-Media Appeals Tribunal faction within the ANC.

Council chairperson Raymond Louw said in a statement that Shivambu had confirmed this when he said the call for the establishment of a Tribunal should be placed on Parliament's agenda.

Louw said the Press Council was "disgusted" at the "unjust attack" and expressed its support for Thloloe.

"This latest disparagement of the press ombudsman and the system is not the first time the ANCYL has told blatant untruths to discredit the press and its press self-regulatory process which is largely the same as those used in the majority of the world's democracies," he said.

It was untrue that the ombudsman was appointed by media houses and was therefore representing their interests.

"He is appointed by an appointments panel headed by a judge appointed by the chief justice and composed of a public and a press representative," said Louw.

"A survey of the ombudsman's rulings shows that more than 60% favour complainants - hardly the conduct of a media house representative."

Shivambu is being sued by an Independent Newspaper journalist for hate speech after allegedly calling her "stupid" and a "white bitch".

ANCYL spokesperson Magdalene Moonsamy has described the reporter, Carien du Plessis, as a liar with "tendencies", but did not detail what these tendencies might be.

Read more on:    the star  |  daily sun  |  joe thloloe  |  raymond louw  |  julius malema  |  johannesburg  |  media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

When the fog becomes too thick, you need to slow down and reassess your movements. If you push ahead blindly you can lose more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.