Case against journalists thrown out


Charges brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA) against two journalists for improper conduct, has been dismissed by the Press Ombudsman.

Earlier this month, the party’s national spokesperson, Phumzile van Damme, filed a complaint against Independent Newspaper group executive editor, Karima Brown, and opinion and analysis group editor Vukani Mde, after social media images showed them attending the ANC’s 103rd birthday celebrations in Cape Town while wearing the party’s regalia.

Van Damme has stated that this has undermined their independence and impartially while Independent Newspapers argued that Brown and Mde had attended the event in their personal capacity.

In passing his ruling, Press Ombudsman John Retief said that no evidence could be found that Independent Newspaper had shown favoritism towards the ruling party as nothing was published following its journalists attendance.

“Your personal conduct has nothing to do with this office, but if your behaviour is followed by publication, it certainly may have,” Retief said in his ruling.

“As I have no evidence that the journalists attended the celebrations in their professional capacity, or that they have reported or commented on the issue, my only conclusion can be that the reporters’ choice of dress is indeed none of this office’s business.”


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