Posted by: Tiara | 2008/08/04

Re the Sunday Sun

From Beeld, found on News24:

Magdel Fourie, Beeld

Johannesburg - The Sunday Sun newspaper has officially apologised for columnist Jon Qwelane' s controversial column about gay marriages, after the press ombudsman found that it did break the Press Code.

Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe launched an investigation after about 1 000 complaints were received by his office about the column, in which Qwelane likened marriages between people of the same gender to bestiality.

The column, " Call me names, but gay is NOT okay" , appeared in the Sunday Sun on July 20.

Thloloe said in his findings that the biggest part of the column was a call for a revision of the Constitution so that the rights recently awarded to gays and lesbians could be taken away.

He found that this did not constitute hate speech.

" In his column, Qwelane does not advocate hate, but merely gives his opinion about homosexuality. He does not ask for gays and lesbians to be harmed. It is robust language, not hate speech." 

Thloloe found that after he read the column " carefully" , that Qwelane did not equate homosexuality with bestiality.

He simply placed both on different rungs on a ladder, with bestiality lower than homosexuality and heterosexuality, by implication, higher.

" The underlying meaning is that gays and lesbians are of a lower race and the column is degrading towards them in this manner." 

Unlikely to lead to violence

Furthermore, he found it was " unlikely"  that the column would lead to violence against gays and lesbians.

" Qwelane was well within the law, but fell foul of the press code." 

He did this by referring to people' s sexual orientation in a derogatory manner and by implying that homosexual people are of a lower race than heterosexual people.

He ordered the newspaper to print an apology.

Publisher of the Sunday Sun, Deon du Plessis, said in his letter of apology in Sunday' s newspaper that he was " sorry that they sinned against the code" .

" I apologise for the commotion, which obviously hurt some people' s feelings. That is not our mission." 

He promised to do everything in his power to prevent it from happening again.

" I am very satisfied with the apology,"  said Thloloe to Beeld.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Rade | 2008/08/08

Cancelling your MH subscription is just foolish. Idiot.

Reply to Rade
Posted by: Nikkits | 2008/08/06

Sadly I don’ t think any apologies were brought to the fore in this matter and even more alarming is the fact that the same attitude of " ag ok, shame lets tolerate them for a little longer ....." 

Soon things will change in this country. And NOT TO THE GOOD of GLBTI ....

Our " democracy"  hangs on a threat as more and more religious pressure with ongoing and well camouflaged “ hate speech”  in the form of DENOUNCE and reiteration of how god/allah/budda/what-ever-else is AGAINST are urging the MAJORITY to NOT ACCEPT and thus allow the likes of JQ and the Sunday Sun to get away with what they are doing.

I will lay any one a bet that the minute a major change in government happens where a more conservative majority vote takes charge, GLBTI will be hunted and condemned like the years before.

What I cannot understand is why most people within GLBTI refuse to acknowledge that and speak out … … … .. ??

What is it going to take to realize just how much damage GLBTI suffers because of religious belief systems that no one seems keen to want to tackle head on??



Reply to Nikkits
Posted by: Greg White | 2008/08/05

I wrote this letter to the Sunday Sun following JQ' s article on 20 July 2008. Of course, I haven' t had a response.

Dear Jon,

I was bitterly disappointed when I read your article in the Sunday Sun of 20 July 2008.

I have always respected your courage to be controversial and speak out about issues. It is sad that you now feel the need to abuse your right of freedom of speech to express contempt and fuel hatred towards a minority that, despite the protection of our democratic constitution, remains the victim of discrimination by uninformed and callous elements in our society.

Whatever your personal views, as a journalist in a free country, you also have the obligation to uphold the tenets and values of our democracy. Gay and lesbian people, just like members of various ethnic groups, are not here by choice! To deny them the rights or freedom to exist peacefully of any other citizen is just as unacceptable as doing so on the basis of ethnicity or race.

It was deeply disturbing that you abused your journalistic privilege to launch such a distasteful and vindictive attack on gay and lesbian people. It may well be that you have run out of good ideas for your column. If so, I have a number of ideas to assist you. Perhaps you could take some classes in journalistic ethics in a democracy  alternatively you could ask your editor to sponsor a visit to Rwanda, Bosnia or Kosovo to see the consequences of institutionalised hatred and violence towards minorities. Whatever you do, I would suggest that you do some serious introspection regarding your ongoing role as a journalist in a democratic society.

Reply to Greg White
Posted by: Deeve | 2008/08/04

Also read this the other day...what a bunch of horse.....!
Robust language.... have you ever heard such a load of .... in all your life!
They can take their whole little show....and you know what! No more ' Sunshine!!!!!!'  Cheers

Reply to Deeve
Posted by: Brad | 2008/08/04

Don' t Media24 also own Men' s Health magazine? I' ll check it out but if yes, then there goes my subscription. I agree Gareth, this guy isn' t saying sorry for the insults, he' s saying sorry that it caused a " commotion" . Which is bad for his business, that' s the only reason he' s sorry I bet.

Reply to Brad
Posted by: Gareth | 2008/08/04

Does not sound like much of an apology to me, rather a bit of a mockery like " Ah shame, did we hurt your poor little feelings"  and saying things like sorry that they are "  sorry that they sinned against the code" . For that, I will never ever in my life buy the Sunday Sun ever.

Reply to Gareth

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