My Apology to Sunday Times editor, Public editor and Press Ombudsman

Following my criticism of Sunday Times newspaper on its “Dis-Grace” story, a copy of which was also emailed to the Press Ombudsman office, its Public Editor and editor, I have since apologised for using the word ‘crap’ in my criticism.

This is my apology to Sunday Times Editor, Public Editor and South African Press Ombudsman office which was first published on my former blog here on the 29th of October 2010. The article has since been amended with the word “uncalled-for reporting”.

I hereby offer my unconditional apology to The Times editor, Ray Hartley; Sunday Times Public Editor, Thabiso Leshilo and the Press Ombudsman’s office for a letter sent to them this morning.

The letter which has since been edited sought the advice of Leshilo and Hartley on whether the journalist, John Swain (or the newspaper for that matter) had indeed breached the South African Press Codes – as I made know in it – when his “Disgraced – Mugabe’s wife has affair with his best friend” story made Sunday Times headline last week Sunday.

In the letter I had mentioned that although I tend agree with some of the newspaper reports, I however, could not “help but wonder at the crap many of the South African newspapers write (sometimes)”, that the newspaper’s headline report “was no different at all”.

Admittedly, especially when requesting genuine opinions and views from a person who might directly or indirectly be a party to the issue at hand or even a third party – no foul language or insults should be used in such a request. In this case it was even – to quoted my own words in the letter – “incomprehensibly incompetent and inferior” of me as a blogger who should have known better to have used such a word as it was not only uncalled for and insulting but, as also noted by Leshilo, it was in a bad taste as a “matter of principle”.

That the letter was even CCed to the Press Ombudsman’s office is even beyond one’s imagination especially taking into account the usage of such a word. And never before have I requested an official response/opinion with such demeaning words. And my communication with Press Ombudsman speaks volume, and by that I am not justifying my having used such an insulting word.

Having used the word ‘crap’ which I believed to have been an insult to the newspaper editor, his Public Editor’s office and that of the Press Ombudsman will very much likely be seen in the same way as did the Public Editor which is of course understandable – I then came to an understanding that the Public Editor could not give “any feedback” as requested as he hardly “read beyond the first paragraph of (my) missive because of the crudeness of (my) language”. I was wrong, I admit. And unconditionally I apologise.

Not only do I admit that I am wrong – but I also immediately became depressed that I then decided to share the “crudeness of my language” regret with a number of people very close to me, my colleagues included.

I have learned my lesson and I am unconditionally sorry.

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