News24

Court bid to gag Noseweek fails

2012-03-06 15:22

Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court dismissed an urgent application on Tuesday to compel Noseweek magazine to remove from its internet website an allegedly defamatory article.

The article, titled "Fashion Victim", involves businesswoman Inge Peacock - creator and owner of the fashion label Lulu Tan Tan.

Peacock claimed before Judge Andre le Grange that the article was "extremely degrading and damaging" to her good name and reputation.

Le Grange said the issue involved two clashing constitutional rights --the right to freedom of expression and the right to dignity - that had to be balanced against each other.

He said South African courts had consistently ruled that freedom of speech was a right not to be overridden lightly.

Though he had refused the interdict sought by Peacock, she nevertheless had a course of action which might result in damages for defamation being awarded against Noseweek.

He said it was well accepted that cases involving attempts to restrain publication had to be approached with caution.

In South Africa's new constitutional democracy, freedom of expression and of the press were "potent and absolutely necessary tools" in the maintenance of a democratic society.

The judge said the media had a vital role and function to make available to the community information and criticism about every aspect of public, political, social, and economic activity, thus contributing to the formation of public opinion.

The approach adopted by Noseweek investigative journalist Mark Thomas, "news editor and author of the offending article", could not be regarded as reckless or negligent.

Le Grange said the steps taken by Thomas in gathering information for the article could not be regarded as inappropriate, or inconsistent with the demands of freedom of expression as contemplated in the Constitution.

Peacock had a remedy in damages, by means of which she could vindicate her right to her good reputation, if it were later found to have been unlawfully breached.

Le Grange added: "News, on the other hand, by its very nature is a commodity with a diminishing value. That which is relevant and newsworthy today, will be less so in months to come."

The common good would best be served by the free flow of information.

The judge said he was not persuaded to unduly limit or interfere with one of the foundational values of the Constitution - the freedom of the Press.

Comments
  • StarStruck - 2012-03-06 15:32

    This seems to be a very good judgement. I wonder what the article is about?

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-06 15:40

      That she does not pay her suppliers.

      Willie - 2012-03-06 15:59

      Let them publish the article,then we will be able to judge

      IAnon - 2012-03-06 16:32

      Noseweek Rocks ...

      Johan - 2012-03-06 16:47

      Judge Andre le Grange ROCKS!!!

      Holden - 2012-03-06 17:03

      It seems that the article is now unlocked on www.noseweek.co.za

      sadilligaf - 2012-03-06 17:09

      Yeah, looks like a good judgement! Have just subscribed to Noseweek - need some decent journalism, News24 sucks!

      Holden - 2012-03-06 17:41

      The Peacock judgment is here: www.noseweek.co.za/article/2709/Peacock-vs-Noseweek

      Igi - 2012-03-07 14:26

      go to the website www.noseweek.co.za and have a look

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-03-06 15:34

    This is excellent news. Noseweek usually has their ducks in a row, so good luck proving that they are wrong.

  • Multi - 2012-03-06 15:40

    News24 and the high court giving noseweek some free advertising I see...

      StarStruck - 2012-03-06 15:46

      and wrecking LULU TAN TAN's reputation by the looks of things. I see a damages law suite coming.

      Anthony - 2012-03-06 16:51

      @Star Struck Read the article.....she won't sue !!!!!! As always...Well done, NOSEWEEK

      Godfrey - 2012-03-06 19:21

      Perfect example of the Streisand effect.

  • Johan - 2012-03-06 15:57

    Everyone out there must buy Noseweek. The magazine is tops.

  • Citroes - 2012-03-06 15:57

    Again, all this woman did by trying to gag Noseweek was focus attention on her dealings. The Streisand effect nicely illustrated.

  • reza.daniels1 - 2012-03-06 16:09

    Me thinks the lady doth protest too much

  • Stormkaap - 2012-03-06 16:20

    Pay those you owe..shame on you taking food out of the mouths of people who work hard to make an honest living! I actually know of people who you owe money to... nothing more than a common thief

  • Shirley - 2012-03-06 16:21

    Well done Judge! Wish there were more of you!

  • Dalai - 2012-03-06 16:22

    The real independent publication that gives advertisers the middle finger!

  • Derek - 2012-03-06 16:31

    It's an expensive court process why not use these funds to pay your suppliers. Seems this lady by her track record of non payment is getting just what she deserves...........

  • Malcolm - 2012-03-06 16:48

    Just read it , it's about non payment to suppliers , massive mark ups , defaulting on rental payments etc , by Businesswoman Inge Peacock

  • Gavin - 2012-03-06 17:11

    This is very interesting, I wonder what the courts will say/do when the government starts flexing its censorship/cover and conceal 'powers'.

  • Meshack Letswalo - 2012-03-06 17:26

    Now would you please pay the supplier, Ms TanTan. You can afford fancy lawyers and interdicts.

  • Mark - 2012-03-06 17:42

    Mr. Nose for President, I say. I am and have been a happy subscriber of this gutsy magazine for many years. Go Noseweek!

  • GaryWatson - 2012-03-06 17:51

    MMMM....the right to free speech vs the right to dignity. Now there's a little jurisprudence friction point in the Bill if Rights. but there's always civil recourse, at least that right isn't taken away.

  • Michele - 2012-03-07 08:33

    It is an excellently written, well researched and intelligent article. Well done Noseweek, and well done Judge de Lange on an excellent judgement. Perhaps if Ms Peacock were more inclined to fulfill her obligations and pay her bills, Noseweek would not have had to publish the article.

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