Ombud rejects Dexter’s claim against M&G

The press ombudsman this week denied former Congress of the People spokesperson Phillip Dexter’s request that the Mail & Guardian retract an article and apologise to him, finding that the paper had not breached the South African press code.

Dexter filed a complaint with ombudsman Joe Thloloe about the article “The party’s over: Desperate Dexter says Cope is kaput“, published in the first week of January.

“Cope MP and former spokesperson Philip Dexter joined a long list of party leaders who have left the party over its alleged maladministration,” the story stated, also noting that Dexter had issued a Facebook plea for money from friends to fund a court case against his wife.

In his ruling on Tuesday, Thloloe said Dexter’s complaint revolved around two issues: that the article had incorrectly implied a link between his personal financial situation and his joining the ANC again; and that it had incorrectly said he had had a “falling-out” with Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota.

Thloloe found it was “legitimate for the journalist to ask questions about his willingness to give up his MP’s salary at a time of ‘apparent financial distress’ and that Dexter’s resignation in itself was evidence of a falling-out”.


Thloloe also noted that Dexter had been offered space to reply and said Dexter was “reading too much into the story” because he believed — incorrectly — that, as he said in correspondence, “the relationships between certain people at the M&G and friends and associates of my ex-wife have a lot more to do with informing this article about me than the actual facts”.

Dexter has until April 10 to appeal the ruling. Asked whether he intended to appeal, Dexter said by SMS: “I don’t agree with the ombud’s ruling but the process is exhausting and useless.”

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Phillip De Wet
Guest Author

Related stories

‘Misleading headline and inaccuracies in M&G’

'This headline is not only misleading but sought to cast doubt on my character and public standing,' says the writer

Editing Steve: The limits of free expression

'Over the years Steve Hofmeyr has reinvented himself from the poor man’s Brad Pitt to a singer to a political public commentator'

ANN7 sacrificed to save MultiChoice ‘mistake-men’

MultiChoice was equally clear about the consequences of its 'mistake' — when ANN7’s contract ends in August, it will be dropped from DStv

Combative, evasive Dlamini steers herself towards disaster

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini this week sought a definition of “meeting” before she could confirm that she had one

Dlamini’s direct inquisition ends, but more in store

During questioning, Bathabile Dlamini contradicted herself, refused to admit simple facts, and failed to answer many crucial questions

Dairy farm puts Guptas directly in firing line

The stench of rotting cow carcasses will pale in comparison to the stink the Estina probe will cause
Advertising

Jailed journalist a symbol of a disillusioned Zimbabwe

Hopewell Chin’ono backed President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he succeeded Robert Mugabe. Now he’s in jail

Sisulu axes another water board

Umgeni Water’s board in KwaZulu-Natal was appointed irregularly by her predecessor, the water and sanitation minister claims
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday