Katie Friedman vs. Cape Towner


Mon, Dec 10, 2012

 

Ruling by the Deputy Press Ombudsman

December 8, 2012

This ruling is based on the written submissions of Ms Katie Friedman and the CapeTowner newspaper.

Complaint

Marketing manager of the Orphanage cocktail bar, Ms Katie Friedman, complained about a front page story in the Cape Towner on 4 October 2012 headlined Bree Street battles – Strong objections to Orphanage’s plans to expand. This story followed on to the next page, headlined City centre residents shouldn’t complain about noise, says bar manager.

Friedman complains that the:

·         story misquoted her; and

·         second headline was therefore misleading.

Analysis

The story, written by Monique Duval, was about a bar wishing to expand in Cape Town’s Bree Street. According to the article residents had lodged objections to the expansion as a result of the noise that the customers were causing.

Misquoted

Friedman says that her response to the newspaper’s query was as follows: “With respect, no-one can expect to live in the centre of Cape Town and not have noise.” She complains that the story omitted the first part of this sentence, which skewed the perception of what was actually said.

This is what the story said: “One cannot expect to live in the centre of Cape Town and not have noise.”

Also with respect, the quoted is materially the same than the response.

Misleading headline

Friedman says that headline on the second page was incorrect because no bar manager had been interviewed.

The editor, Chantal Erfort, says that the sub-editor used “bar manager” as a generic term in the headline.

The attribution of the bar manager to the marketing manager was incorrect.  However, as the content of the quote was essentially correct, no harm could have been reasonably caused to the bar managers – especially as the quote was not harmful to the business.

Finding

The complaint is dismissed.

Appeal

Please note that our Complaints Procedures lay down that within seven days of receipt of this decision, either party may apply for leave to appeal to the Chairperson of the SA Press Appeals Panel, Judge Ralph Zulman, fully setting out the grounds of appeal.

He can be contacted at Khanyim@ombudsman.org.za.

Johan Retief

Deputy Press Ombudsman