'Black Wednesday' as Independent quits press ombudsman
Johannesburg - The Press Council on Friday criticised Independent Media's decision to resign from the body and establish its own ombudsman.
The group, that owns numerous newspapers and online platforms including the Cape Times, The Star, The Mercury and IOL, announced on Thursday it was pulling out of the official regulatory system for independent media in South Africa.
Complaints against the group’s titles would now be adjudicated by an internal ombudsman, Jovial Rantao. He is a former editor of various titles in Independent Media.
“It’s ironic that Independent Media chose to withdraw from the Press Council in the week that we commemorate Black Wednesday, October 19 1977, when the World, Weekend World and Pro Veritate were shut down by the apartheid government. The Press Council has been a bulwark against statutory regulation that would violate the country’s Constitution,” the council said in a statement.
The Press Council is headed by retired judge Phillip Levinsohn. The press ombudsman’s adjudicators are led by retired judge Bernard Ngoepe.