Help us serve your interests
IT IS not easy to publish a conventional newspaper now, for a number of reasons. The electronic age complicates news dissemination, for instance. A breaking story in Pietermaritzburg can be read off a smartphone in St Petersburg, Russia, in seconds.
We can’t compete on speed. But what we can do is bring you the news, analyse it and help you understand it – without fear or favour.
Online and social media are a wonderful development but come with pitfalls. The biggest of these is the phenomenon of “fake news”, closely followed by information with ulterior motives – or propaganda, for the old school.
We are certainly capable of surpassing electronic media in terms of accuracy and, usually, credibility. And we have set ourselves the task of providing our readers with news they can trust.
Our aim, at Independent Media, is to publish stories that give all viewpoints.
A lot will happen in politics this year and as the jockeying for positions and influence intensifies among political parties, so will the pressure on media. We will not support factions. Our message to readers today is: we want you to hold us to account. And to help you do this, we have launched a group ombud. It is run by one of South Africa’s most distinguished editors, Jovial Rantao, helped by an appeals panel, chaired by one of the nation’s most revered judges, Justice Zak Yacoob.
We used to subscribe to the Press Code and abide by the rulings of the press ombud, but we found that if a vexatious complainant took us under review they could check their case for free against any defence, then take us to court and we could not contest their claim.
This occurred because the ombud dropped the waiver clause which in the past meant complainants could only choose the courts or the ombud, not both.
Our own system has a waiver. Rantao has promised “tough love” for any of our newspapers found guilty of wrongdoing.
We are convinced our stories are accurate 99% of the time – but if you believe we’ve stepped out of line, please test Rantao’s promise.
We recommend you first contact us directly with feedback or a complaint. We will not hesitate to apologise or set the record straight where necessary.
A case in point was the incorrect attribution in these columns last week of The Sick Rose poem to Irish poet WB Yeats. The author is English poet and artist William Blake. For this error, we apologise unreservedly.