DA partly succeeds in media complaint

2012-12-10 20:46

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance was partly successful in a complaint to the Press Ombudsman about two stories and a headline published in The Star newspaper.

Deputy Press Ombudsman Johan Retief found the newspaper's headline "Zille doesn't want a black DA - Coetzee" published on 16 October did not reflect the content of the story.

However he dismissed a complaint by the DA about unnamed sources in the stories.

Retief said although the DA, in its complaint, emphasised a section of the Press Code that stated the press should refrain from using unnamed sources, it left out the part which said "unless there is no other way to handle a story".

The DA complained that the allegations in the story were based entirely on anonymous sources who had been "colluding to create a false story".

The first story, published in The Star, said: "DA spoilers stir up dirt about planner's exit for UK - [Ryan] Coetzee and Zille deny claims made anonymously that he left because of party strategy."

The second, in Star Africa, said: "Zille blamed for lack of change - Six DA sources say strategist left as DA leader not committed to transformation."

The Star, in its submission, said its editor was aware of the names of the sources and did not believe the sources colluded with one another.

The reporter spoke to at least eight regional, provincial and national DA leaders. It stated that these people all represented the DA in Parliament and/or in the DA caucuses.

Retief said the fact that the reporter informed his editor of the sources' identities was important.

"Moreover, I believe that the sources were sufficiently independent of each other as they came from different [regional, provincial and national] levels."

Retief said The Star's headline however was in breach of the Press Code, which states: "Headlines... shall give a reasonable reflection of the contents of the report" and "the press shall be obliged to report news truthfully, accurately and fairly".

"The Star is directed to correct the headline and to apologise to the DA for causing it unnecessary harm," Retief said.

"As the offending headline was published on the front page, I am directing the newspaper to publish this text also on the front page."

Either party could appeal the finding within seven days.

DA national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane welcomed the finding.

"What is critical to note is that article sought to portray the DA in a certain light... we are not a party of one race, but of many races."

He said the allegations in The Star's story were nonsense and not consistent with the DA's values.

The Star's editor Makhudu Sefara was not immediately available for comment.

  • Mbuso Siera - 2012-12-10 21:28

    the news papers writes about the DA it takes them to the High court demanding a front page apology....but when the ANC reacts the DA says its political interference on the media......Zille u crazy

      bryan.culross - 2012-12-10 21:46

      There is a way to respond ... the way the DA did (which was to lodge a formal complaint with the press omudsman) .... and the ANC way (which, as indicated by recent deveopments at the SABC is to try and control the medai)

      khehlas.mbatha - 2012-12-10 22:05

      Surely Madam is crazy,on one hand she says media should not be regulated yet she subjects journalists into judicial scritiny.I hope she will realize that the information bill is meant for people like her.

      raymond.dick.12 - 2012-12-10 22:26

      @Mbuso ~ Dame Helen follows the rules, the ANC tries to control. In any case you should go for comprehension lessons. The DA is not trying to muzzle the media but is insisting they tell the truth accurately and with proof of any allegations made. If this was the ANC, doing it the same way I would be supporting them also. The media in this country are a little out of control and quite unprofessional. Badly written inaccurate sensationalism has become the norm.

      zamani.ndlovu.5203 - 2012-12-11 06:22

      I wld like my whites counterparts 2 comment as much as they do on anc issues.imagine yo own party,a spotless party being accused of racism and lack of transformation by ts own ppl.I know f t was the anc u wl dismiss t easily.some of yo own ppl even left 4 the uk bcoz zille lacks transformation(thts a bit racist).my question z who wl the da serve f they gain control of the country?-whites probably

      gerald.parker.3956 - 2012-12-11 06:52

      zamani pls tk n englsh bcse dnt no wht u r syng

      brionyl.french - 2012-12-11 08:22

      Dude when someone lies it shuold be corrected, sadly the ANc is a sinking ship and everyone knows the DA isnt a racist party! but the headline is basically saying it is. Zille isnt crazy, ZUMA is, and i think if you opened your eyes removed your Blinkers you would see the truth and be disgusted!!!Like the rest of the world is in ZUMA!!!!

      brionyl.french - 2012-12-11 08:23

      You must remember too Zille before a politician was an investigative journalist... so she knows whats right and wrong when it comes to reporting. FACTS!!!

      richard.hipkin - 2012-12-11 09:02

      Mbuso, never go full retard!

      blip.noodlum - 2012-12-11 11:56

      If you are slandered or misrepresented, you use the perfectly adequate existing laws to seek redress, as DA has done. You don't call for a whole new set of regulations, as the ANC want. And you don't just turn the other cheek either -- you demand redress.

  • Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-12-10 21:48

    Our media revels on sensationalism.

  • manqoba.zulu.54 - 2012-12-10 22:03

    editor catch a wake up, you are taking us, the reader for granted, check what you wright

      lsmalope - 2012-12-11 08:04

      yeah, and don't forget to check what you write. Just saying.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-12-11 09:03


  • sipho.mbuyazi.9 - 2012-12-10 22:03

    We know the media backs the DA, this is just a stunt to pretend as if the DA is not sleeping under one blanket with the media. I dont buy the story . . . this is just a diversion.

  • tshep0 - 2012-12-10 22:56

    lol have you realised when there's a da(small caps) conference or zille speaks,black ppl r always surrounding her or behind her?Gotta love these stupid acts,sadly those stupid black idiots fell for them.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-12-11 09:04

      Oh no! Not small caps!! The horror, the indignation, what are the DA (CAPS) going to do now that they being referred to in small caps????

      silvia.vaneck2 - 2012-12-11 11:02

      Small caps?? Didn't know you get small caps. I always thought it was caps or lower case!!

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-12-11 01:30

    So the headline for this article could easily have read 'DA partly fails in media complaint'. Would it have suggested a different slant to the story?

  • wonderboy.s.maseko - 2012-12-11 04:29

    Where's FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION? It seems like other political parties they have rights 2 use justice system more than others as it was in the previous regime.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-12-11 09:04


  • piero.mendace.5 - 2012-12-11 05:15

    Mbuso the difference is when the DA has a complaint it is at least partly legitimate and hence the verdict. They are not trying to protect some corrupt our fraudulent practices which is why you and your party whine. At last get your facts straight.

  • piero.mendace.5 - 2012-12-11 05:17

    Tsepho, stupid black idiots.. Who is the racist now, in addition when you open your mouth try and use some fact for a change instead of following the example of the other sleep repeating the ANC blindly..

  • piero.mendace.5 - 2012-12-11 05:19

    Mbuso, I see you are a good ANC sporter and still need your crutches. Don't worry one day you week have the common sense to walk on your own two legs or at least be able to think for yourself.

  • piero.mendace.5 - 2012-12-11 05:23

    Ash Wonderboy, another who can not put two facts in a straight line. Its emotional nonsense like your that gives the ANC false hope. As I said to Mbuso at least the DA uses facts to protect themselves as opposed to laws you try to include to protect your corrupt heroes and hence at least a partial success verdict. Here is a little lesson when you try and compare things at least compare things that are remotely similar... !

  • piero.mendace.5 - 2012-12-11 05:40

    Nice Delusion Buster:-)

  • zamani.ndlovu.5203 - 2012-12-11 06:27

    I want 2 hear opinions 4rm our white population on their say on this.sources withins the da says yo party doesn't want ppl tht ar not whites(blacks,clrds,indians etc).wat do u say abt this and do u stl want my vote as a black south african?.I always wondered y zille appointed almost every white person on her cabinet.was t coincidental?.plz white ppl shed more light on this issue.u ar die hard da supporters-speak p

      gerald.parker.3956 - 2012-12-11 07:00

      as i sd b4 spkenlsh we dnt unstd u

      marc.ross.965 - 2012-12-11 08:00

      zamani I am not a DA supporter as such, but by my understanding the DA cabinet was appointed on the basis of merit and experience. The most competent person was chosen regardless of race. The DA has also put in place what looks like mentorship programmes where younger candidates are being groomed for future positions including leadership. Thus when the new generation of DA candidates emerge they will have the qualifications and experience to offer their constituants the values for which they voted. This policy reflects in the well run muncipalities which are delivering to all regardless of race.

      lsmalope - 2012-12-11 08:02

      Why don't these sources speak out in public so we can challenge them instead of hiding behind the media? Why are you still in the party if you don't agree with how it's being run? Why didn't you raise the point at the national conference? Those are my questions to these alleged 'sources'.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-12-11 09:07

      The mere fact that the top 6 of the DA are black completely destroys the notion that the DA don't want blacks. Or are you blind?

      gerrit.kriel.3 - 2012-12-11 09:09

      Dude ENGLISH please, this vernacular you created is not understandable! If you want to illicit intelligent conversation, you have to start it, INTELLIGENTLY!!

  • arie.vdplaats.3 - 2012-12-11 08:11

    I can only agree with the DA on this issue. I have seen many poster (and also front page) headings creating a perception and claiming something or the other and the actual report indicating something entirely different. Poster heading are in many instances probably the only source of information to many people who do not buy and read newspapers and so get a completely wrong impression about what is going on in the world.

      zamani.ndlovu.5203 - 2012-12-11 08:20

      But there were reliable sources within the da,some wit much higher positions who expressed disgust with the leadership of the da.f u read tht article and put things into perspective u wl realise ts the truth.just look t the cabinet zille appointed in the w-cape.the anc z corrupt and incompetent I agree wit u on that bt ts more transformed and accommodating 2 ol races than the da.where ther z smoke ther z fire.I neva trusted the da wen t came 2 'S A' 4 ol.they ar just a bunch of pretenders

      richard.hipkin - 2012-12-11 09:08

      zamani, who are these "unnamed sources"? Consider this, the top 6 of the DA are black - so now explain the lack of transformation and stop believing stories from "unnamed sources"..

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-12-11 09:09

    The DA top 6 are made up of 4 blacks and 2 whites... So now, explain the lack of transformation please.

  • mshiniboys - 2012-12-11 09:15

    I might not be a DA member but in fairness all parties want to remain what they are.Who wants a white ANC and COSATU or SACP and does that mean those people should be slaughtered for their beliefs?

  • blip.noodlum - 2012-12-11 11:52

    "Transformation" is an exclusively ANC term. Expecting the opposition DA to embrace "transformation" is as ludicrous as expecting them to embrace the "National Democratic Revolution" -- another ANC term.

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