Some Ombud rulings favour state

2010-08-03 14:50
Johannesburg – The Press Ombudsman, who came under fire in an ANC document as "inherently biased", has recently made several rulings in favour of state institutions.

While the ruling African National Congress criticised the role of the Press Ombudsman in a discussion document released this week, a search by Sapa on the Press Council's website showed that the ombudsman had recently made several rulings in favour of government institutions.

On June 25, a municipal manager of the Ehlanzeni Regional Municipality in the Lowveld, Hugh Mbatha, complained to the Press Ombudsman about a report that he had manipulated a tender, among other things.

The ombudsman dismissed his complaint about two stories, but on a third story, published in the Lowvelder, he found that the newspaper failed to publish the municipality's official response.

The newspaper was reprimanded.


In another ruling on the same day, the Press Ombudsman directed the Sunday Times newspaper to publish a retraction and apology regarding a story about the state broadcaster.

The SABC's former chief operations officer, Solly Mokoetle, complained to the Press Ombudsman that a report, headlined "Fresh crisis rocks SABC – New board members vow to challenge imposition of CEO", wrongly created the impression that fraud and corruption had been committed.

Also on June 25, Die Burger newspaper in Cape Town was reprimanded for inaccurate reporting following a complaint to the Press Ombudsman by an official of the Kouga Local Municipality, Laura-Leigh Randall.

The article revolved around tendering procedures and the municipality complained that it contained inaccuracies.

The Press Ombudsman ruled that the newspaper reported inaccurately and did not afford the municipality enough time to respond.

Efficient system

Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe told Sapa on Friday he believed the Press Council system was efficient in regulating print media in South Africa.

This was in response to an ANC discussion document on the establishment of a print Media Appeals Tribunal, which states: "The mere fact that the Press Ombudsman is from the media ranks, a former journalist, and is not an independent person who looks at the media from the layman's perspective poses an inherent bias towards the media with all interpretations favourable to the institution and the other party just have to understand and accept the media way, which is grossly unfair and unjust."

But Thloloe, a veteran journalist with almost 50 years experience, said the self-regulatory system of the Press Ombudsman had been copied from various other systems around the world.

"The Press Ombudsman's office and the Press Council are functioning well... it doesn't need anything else," he said.

The ANC wants an independent statutory body accountable to Parliament to deal with complaints against newspapers, instead of only using the Press Ombudsman who currently deals with complaints.
Read more on:    anc  |  joe thloloe  |  media

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!


I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal 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.