THE call from legal assistant Moleboheng Mosia from the Office of the Group Ombud, on Thursday, February 4, was unexpected. It was a telephonic offer to chair Independent Media’s Appeals Panel. I asked for confirmation in writing. It arrived. I read through it, thought about it, and then agreed to serve on a consultative basis.
Two other former colleagues, Val Boje, and Moegsien Williams, make up the trio. We will feed off each other’s knowledge and expertise, to ensure our ruling is fair and just. If permitted, we will also offer advice to ensure the same errors are not repeated.
But we will not be lickspittles. We will not be obsequious. We cannot afford to be. We will judge strictly on merit.
At a personal level, I chalked up 45 years in journalism, three at the Leader, a weekly publication which has since ceased publication, and 42 at the POST newspaper, where I served as Editor for the last 21 of those years, until I officially retired in October 2010. I have since been involved in freelance copy editing, and compiling and editing books on an occasional basis.
In those years, I got to understand the nuances that pin credible journalism. Yes, I am a stickler for accuracy and ensuring that facts are presented as they ought to. The right to reply is paramount.
At an Ombud level, I am grateful to former Indy Ombud chair Mr Jovial Rantao and fellow panellists, for sharing their knowledge and expertise. There was much to learn, there still is.
I wish to assure readers that an impartial hearing and ruling will be the order of the day, when matters come up for review. The way it works is that if a complainant is unhappy with an Adjudication Panel’s finding, it will then be referred to the Appeals Board for a decision. The Appeals Panel will then adjudicate on the matter, weigh the pros and cons, and then rule. Like I said earlier, merit, on the facts before us, will be the sole criteria. You can count on us.
BRIJLALL RAMGUTHEE ( CHAIR OF THE APPEALS PANEL)