Bring back Terry Bell
The Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns the suspension of Terry Bell's ‘Inside Labour' column, which has been appearing every Friday for many years in Business Report, as an insert into the Pretoria News, Johannesburg Star, KZN Mercury and Cape Times, newspapers owned by Independent Newspapers and their new owner, Sekunjalo.
The column has been suspended indefinitely by the new management. Although Terry had been commissioned to submit the first of the year's columns for last Friday, the editor told him that "the Inside Labour column is on hold until further notice. So I do not expect any column from you until I advise you otherwise".
Although COSATU did not agree with everything Terry Bell wrote, and he did not always agree with COSATU, he was by far the best labour reporter and analyst in the South African media, mixing a meticulous commitment to telling the truth about working-class life, and exposing lies and hypocrisy, with a passionate concern for the problems facing working people, in South Africa and around the world.
An Editor's Note in the Friday edition tries to explain that "in view of a strategic overhaul of Business Report, which forms part of a wider strategic repositioning of Independent Newspapers, I have begun a review of all the material that Business Report acquires from contributors, including Terry.
"As part of this review, Terry's column has been suspended pending finalisation of Business Report's strategic plan. Business Report has communicated to Terry that it remains committed to enlist his expertise if and when the need arises."