Premier retracts call for editor’s resignation

2011-06-29 07:13

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale today retracted his call for City Press editor Ferial Haffajee to resign, his office said.

“The office reiterates its call for intolerance of inaccurate reporting, however, it regrets its call for the editor of City Press to resign and as such retracts that part of the statement,” said spokesperson Phuti Mosomane.

The call had followed the dismissal of complaints made by the newspaper against two radio stations by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA).

The BCCSA ruled on Monday that two radio stations did enough to rectify incorrect reports on the Press Ombudsman’s ruling regarding complaints about City Press’ reports on corruption and tenders in Limpopo.

Mosomane said yesterday that City Press needs to make a thorough self-introspection “after a series of rulings by the Press Ombudsman and lately the BCCSA [which] consistently go against it and continue to expose the low standards of reporting by the paper”.

“It is time for the editor Ferial Haffajee to resign for she has failed to give strategic direction to the news weekly. The paper needs a new editor who will return it to its days of credible, reliable and quality reporting,” he said on the same day.

He admitted today that this call was “a little bit too harsh”.

In September last year, Limpopo Premier Mathale lodged a complaint with the Press Ombudsman against City Press and its reports about corruption in the province and tenders rewarded to ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

In January, SAfm invited Mosomane to its morning show to speak about the ombudsman’s ruling. However, City Press was not invited to participate in the discussion.

During the interview, Mosomane made “disparaging” remarks about City Press, creating the impression that the paper had been found guilty of “lies, malice and inaccurate” reporting.

A week later, Sepedi radio station’s current affairs show interviewed the ANC Youth League’s provincial secretary Jacob Lebogo. During the interview Lebogo was “allowed to level a range of accusations” against City Press and its Limpopo correspondent Piet Rampedi.

The news reports were changed later the same day after City Press and Rampedi complained to the head of SABC radio current affairs programmes.

The BCCSA said in its judgement that the City Press’ complaints were not upheld because the radio stations had corrected the news reports later the same day.

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