Ombudsman defers DA complaint

2011-12-08 12:27

Johannesburg - The press ombudsman distanced himself on Thursday from a tiff between DA leader Helen Zille and Independent Newspapers over an ANC centenary celebration feature.

"Our office has no mandate to act," deputy press ombudsman Johan Retief told Zille in a response to an official complaint she laid against the media group.

Zille laid the complaint on Wednesday after the Democratic Alliance received a letter from Independent Newspapers inviting it to advertise in a special feature to be published in celebration of the ANC's centenary.

The feature was to run in The Star, Pretoria News, Cape Argus, Daily News, Diamond Fields Advertiser, and Isolezwe on January 13.

"The letter, written on an Independent Newspapers letterhead alongside an ANC logo, is a glowing endorsement of the ANC," Zille said at the time.

Commercial, not editorial

In the press ombudsman's response to Zille's complaint, Retief said the Ombudsman only dealt with editorial copy, not advertisements.

"Prior to publication, the decision to publish is in the editor's hands, as it always should be," he said in his response which was forwarded to the media.

Retief nevertheless thanked Zille for "the trust that you have once again placed in our office".

He said she could apply for leave to appeal this decision within the next seven days.

On Wednesday, Independent News and Media SA editorial director Moegsien Williams said it was "wrong, misleading and mischievous for anyone to suggest that an advertising feature has, can or will influence our editorial content".

Advertising features were handled by the commercial section of Independent Newspapers, he said.

  • Harald - 2011-12-08 12:41

    Why don't they use "the New Age"?? that is their paper.... OH, I forgot, nobody actually reads that Zuma/Gupta rubish... no credibility!!

      Kolobe - 2011-12-08 14:23

      This party just love bitching about nothing and its sheep bleehs on

      Aisha - 2011-12-08 15:21

      I usually don’t like your Comments Mr Kolobe, but I have to agree with you on this one.

  • Rustic - 2011-12-08 12:42

    Glad this made it to the news. Independent Newspapers traditionally serves urban city Whites, some of whom will be surprised to catch this group with its political pants down.

  • Blade - 2011-12-08 12:42

    South Africa. The new Zimbabwe.

  • Nosiphom - 2011-12-08 12:52

    Sies Independent Newspapers, this is very disgusting, you are supposed to be INDEPENDENT and therefore not use party logos NEXTto yours !

      Moss - 2011-12-08 13:18

      Soo Nosi, tell us what you understand about this whole saga, I bet your heard is filled with H2O

      paulmandlankosi - 2011-12-08 14:49

      @Moss, kwaaaakwaaaa, laughing out loud.

      Aisha - 2011-12-08 15:22

      @Moss good one.

      Blade - 2011-12-08 16:13

      @Aisha nice picture....please smile next time so we can see where your face is...

  • paulmandlankosi - 2011-12-08 12:54

    It's all about money here

  • RobertaKeeling - 2011-12-08 13:17

    "In the press ombudsman's response to Zille's complaint, Retief said the Ombudsman only dealt with editorial copy, not advertisements." What a cop out!

  • Ditantane - 2011-12-08 14:24

    what was she thinking, oh sorry i nearly forgot she never thinks when it comes to ANC, madam please know where to oppose tog

      paulmandlankosi - 2011-12-08 14:40

      Sadly she does not have brains, if she had she would have known where to take her complaint. Empty skulls

      Aisha - 2011-12-08 15:25

      She is against anything that has ANC on it.

      Blade - 2011-12-08 15:44

      I am glad that you refer to Ms Zille as madam. As you should.

      Mantsho - 2011-12-08 22:59

      l think you should pack your bags and return to your country LESOTHO! and leave our future president alone!

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