Press ombudsman finds that News24 owes AfriForum an apology

Johan Retief, the press ombudsman, found that News24 owed an apology to AfriForum for a gross violation of the press code in relation to AfriForum. The press ombudsman came to this conclusion after AfriForum submitted a formal complaint about an opinion piece on AfriForum which Pieter du Toit, assistant editor of News24, had written.

After AfriForum’s parliamentary submission on expropriation without compensation, Du Toit published an article on 7 September in which he attacked AfriForum by maintaining that AfriForum had not proposed “a single solution” regarding the debate on expropriation without compensation. AfriForum’s written submission provided a list of solutions, however. Moreover, during the session itself Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum who facilitated the submission on behalf of AfriForum, provided eight solutions in no uncertain terms.

It is the second time in one year that the press ombudsman had to order Du Toit to apologise to AfriForum because of serious violations of the press code, which in terms of AfriForum can be described as fake news.

Roets says that AfriForum unyieldingly believes in the freedom of the press and that the press plays a key role in a democratic society.  “However, journalists like Du Toit – who make no secret of their personal campaigns and abuse their positions to drive their own agendas – hurt the good reputation of the press,” Roets says.

Roets says that AfriForum views activists like Du Toit as the exception, but that the organisation also appeals to journalists to hold their colleagues accountable when they hurt the profession by driving their own personal agendas.

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