The South African Ombudsman’s Reply to the TGA

Dear Ms Britz
Thank you again for making use of the Press Council’s complaints mechanism.
Although you did not indicate it in your complaint, I established through a Google search that you are the Director of TGA.
I have read your complaint and also the Daily Maverick article you are complaining about.
Although I can understand your concerns, taking into account that you represent TGA, I must, however, point out that the article is clearly marked as “Opionista”. It is an opinion piece, written by Jared Kukura, a  freelance wildlife conservation writer based in California.
The Press Code states:
7. Protected Comment
7.1 The media shall be entitled to comment upon or criticise any actions or events of public interest; and

7.2 Comment or criticism is protected even if it is extreme, unjust, unbalanced, exaggerated and prejudiced, as long as it is without malice, is on a matter of public interest, has taken fair account of all material facts that are either true or reasonably true, and is presented in a manner that it appears clearly to be comment.

Even if Mr Kukura’s opinions may be debatable, I do think the opinion piece is within what the Press Code dictates.
Thus, I have to decline to accept your complaint, as there is no prima facie breach of the Press Code.
The Complaint Procedures of the Press Council state that when the Public Advocate declines to accept a complaint, the complainant may, within seven working days, with full reasons, request the Press Ombud to adjudicate the complaint in terms of Section 3. Such a request can be sent to the Case Manager at
Fanie Groenewald
Acting Public Advocate
Press Council of South Africa
082 850 3972