Cathy vs Natal Witness – Dismissed

Complainant: Cathy

Article: Taxitainment

Date:

Respondent: Natal Witness

Dear Cathy

Your complaint against “Taxitainment” jokes in the Natal Witness refers.
You complain that the jokes:
  • are vulgar;
  • are sexist;
  • denigrate women;
  • use symbols to denote swearing;
  • refer to women’s private parts;
  • foster violence towards women; and
  • portray women as subhuman receptacles for male enjoyment.
 Art. 1.7 of the Press Code is applicable. It reads: “Reports, photographs or sketches relative to matters involving indecency or obscenity shall be presented with due sensitivity towards the prevailing moral climate”.
Note that the article does not prohibit the publication of indecent and obscene matters; it only states that these matters should be seen in light of the “prevailing moral climate”.
The following should be said about the jokes you send me:
  1. Some of them are vulgar, yes – but not to the extent that they fall “outside” the prevailing moral climate.
  2. The use of symbols to denote swearing is an accepted, normal journalistic practice.
  3. The reference to women’s private parts is in bad taste, but no crude words are used that fall outside the scope of the prevailing moral climate.
  4. I can find no example of a joke that fosters violence towards women, or is sexist or denigrate women to such an extent that it falls outside the sphere of the existing moral climate.
I therefore dismiss your complaint. You can, however, ask Judge Ralph Zulman for leave to appeal against this decision, setting out your reasons for that in full. He can be reached at khanyim@ombudsman.org.za.
Kind regards
Johan