MMP submits appeal on press ombudsman’s ruling on Daily Sun

Posted: 29 May 2008 | News - Media Release | Categories:

MMP has been granted leave to appeal against the ruling of the Press Ombudsman in response to the complaint against the Daily Sun’s continued use of the word “alien” to describe foreign nationals during the xenophobic attacks.

A quick refresher:

On the 29th of May MMP and its partner submitted a complaint to Press Ombudsman.  Contrary to some views the MMP and its partner the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA were NOT accusing the Daily Sun of inciting the xenophobic violence.  To do so would have been to argue that the Daily Sun had been guilty of hate speech and incitement to cause harm.

Rather the MMP and its partners based their claim on the following:

MMP and its partners submitted that Daily Sun‘s continued use of the term “aliens” to refer to non-national’s is inappropriate and discriminatory. Furthermore, MMP believes that its reporting has had the effect of supporting the recent violence by perpetuating stereotypes of foreign peoples.  Such reporting also threatens the freedom of all media in South Africa, at a time when media freedom has already suffered various challenges.

The complaint was based on:

  • The continued and unjustifiable usage of negative and discriminatory stereotypes being perpetuated in the Daily Sun’s reporting of non nationals;
  • The repetitive usage of “alien” logo’s and headlines, such as “Alien terror” and “War on aliens”;
  • The biased and limited representation of government and government agencies;
  • The failure of the Daily Sun to clearly condemn the violence until most of it had been contained;
  • The failure of the Daily Sun to offer any non-violent alternatives, or additional information to help prevent violence and to condone mob justice.

Read the full original complaint.

The Daily Sun responded and the Press Ombudsman made his ruling.

We were extremely disappointed with the Press Ombudsman’s ruling regarding the complaint against the Daily Sun over their coverage of the recent Xenophobic Violence.  MMP and CoRMSA provided detailed evidence in our complaint, and we believe the Ombudsman’s ruling is inadequate and fails to address all elements of the complaint.  The Ombudsman released his ruling on Friday, August 8, 2008. Read his ruling here.

Accordingly MMP on behalf of its partners submitted an appeal. Read it here.

We are currently waiting for Zulman to give his ruling as to whether there are grounds for an appeal and whether there will be a hearing.

For notes on the press councils procedures go to: http://www.presscouncil.org.za/pages/south-african-press-code/complaints-procedures.php

We would love to hear your comments and views on the complaint, if you support it, what your views are of the press council and of the Daily Sun.

For more details contact William Bird .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 082 887 1370