Glenn Ashton vs Business Report

Complainant:  Glenn Ashton

Lodged by:  Glenn Ashton

Article:  BBC brought low by its prejudice against climate change sceptics

Author of article:  Keith Bryer

Respondent:  Business Report

Dear all

Mr Glenn Ashton’s complaint against the publication of an opinion piece by Keith Bryer in Business Report (4 May 2016, headlined BBC brought low by its prejudice against climate change sceptics) refers.

If this office rules that a newspaper may not publish the opinion that climate change is a myth, then we shall be opening a can of worms. What would be next? No space for those who still believe that the earth is flat, that man did not go to the moon, that Adolf Hitler is still alive, that evolution is a myth, etc?

The list would be endless, and impossible to regulate.

It is Bryer’s Constitutional right to be wrong. Likewise, if BR lowers its public image by publishing his views, as Ashton argues, it is the publication’s choice to do so. These are not matters for the Press Ombud to regulate.

The matter of a conflict of interest is impossible to prove.

I am therefore dismissing this complaint – Bryer has a right to his opinion, and BR (and the publications that make use of BR’s texts) has a right to publish it.

Our Complaints Procedures lay down that within seven working days of receipt of this decision, either party may apply for leave to appeal to the Chairperson of the SA Press Appeals Panel, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, fully setting out the grounds of appeal. He can be contacted at Khanyim@ombudsman.org.za.

Regards

Johan