“WE HAVE NO BUSINESS BREAKING OUR OWN CODE” – THLOLOE
By: Tony Manyangadze
The Director of the Press Ombudsman, Joe Thloloe, yesterday encouraged journalists to use various regulatory mechanisms when reporting news so as to minimise the number of complains that have been rising over the years.
The 71-year-old veteran was speaking at the Independent Newspapers offices in Durban. He highlighted that complaints coming through to the offices of the regulatory body have been increasing gradually.
A total of 300 complaints were received last year (2012), a relatively huge increase compared to the 255 complaints that were received in 2011. According to the statistics compiled by the Press Council, about 67 percent of the 300 complaints were ruled in favour of the complainants leaving about 33 percent to the press.
Reacting to these statistics, the expert could not hide his disappointments with the media saying that they have no excuse for being found on the wrong side of the code when they have clear guidelines at their disposal. “The code is so simple. Its ethics in a can, boil it and eat it,” he said. “We have no business breaking our own code,” emphasised Thloloe.
Thloloe put his words into action by issuing the revised version of the South African Press Code, Procedures and Constitution Handbook to the audience. He then went further to elucidate some of the additions and subtraction that were made to the code and urged journalist to take media regulatory mechanisms seriously.
“Every journalist should use the South African Constitution as a pillow,” he said.
According to Thloloe, by not following what is stipulated in such regulatory mechanisms, one ceases to be a journalist.
“If you are not going to be honest, fair and accurate you have no business in our craft”.
The Director of the Press Ombudsman also pointed out that workshops of this kind are not only going to be confined to practicing journalists but also, similar gatherings are going to take place in different tertiary institutions across the country.