Independent Media Office of the Group Ombud condemns Anton Harber’s disrespectful, malicious and false statements made in Business Day about the work of the Office Of The Group Ombud.

In his column, Harber refers to the self regulation measures of the Office Of The Group Ombud as “fake and dysfunctional.”

On what basis does Harber make the claim that Independent Media’s complaints system is “fake and dysfunctional” ?

Independent Media’s editorial complaints mechanism is publicly available, its procedures clearly articulated, its journalists governed by a Press Code, its rulings and sanctions publically available for all to see and its adjudications conducted by industry professionals with vast experience in the field of journalism –  There is nothing fake or dysfunctional about it.

With over 20 publications and hundreds of journalists and editors within the Independent Media group, it absolutely warrants its own internal mechanisms for dealing with complaints. This approach is not a new trend in the media industry globally – something which Harber is surely aware of.

Harber has the audacity to comment on the press ombudsman process without having reached out to the Office of the Group Ombud for clarity about the process. This suggests that Harber has an agenda. It is well known that he has a vendetta against Independent Media and its chairman Dr Iqbal Survé and in doing so undermines and disrespects the integrity of all the professionals involved in the process.

Not that we have to explain any of this to Harber – he already knows this.

Furthermore, how can someone who professes to be a thought leader in journalism, call on advertisers to stop advertising in one of the largest media groups in the country, effectively jeopardising the jobs of hundreds of journalists ?

How will journalism benefit from the financial strangulation of news titles and products?

How will journalism benefit from not having the right to express differences of opinion?

Harber’s agenda driven rant is a serious indictment on his professional conduct and an assault on media freedom.


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