Sheik Fararooq Al Mohammedi vs All Media

Sheik Faarooq Al Mohammedi                  Complainant

                                         Vs

“All Media”                                                    “Respondent”

                                                                    Complaint  325/2013

                                   RESPONSE

1.The complaint is filed on behalf of the United Muslim Nations International. The complaint does not refer to a particular publication by a specific newspaper. The nature of it is that the media tend to link some militant groups to Islam, and the complainant wanted the Ombudsman to issue a total ban against all media from doing so. He says: “We are hereby seeking a total ban on religious connotations with militant/terrorist activity and are asking for an open apology from all Media Outlets in South Africa both print and television.”

2. The Ombudsman has already advised the complainant that the South African Press Council cannot issue such a blanket prohibition; its Code makes no provision for such a measure and such a provision would in any event have been unconstitutional. The code would deal only with a complaint against a particular newspaper following a particular publication. Such a complaint must be lodged  in terms of, and in accordance with, the Complaints Procedures of the South African Press Code; otherwise it would fall outside of our competence. The present is such a case and, accordingly, we regret that we cannot assist. The matter is simply outside of our authority. The complainant is strongly urged to read the above Code, which is obtainable from the offices of the Council. It explains how a complaint may be lodged, under what circumstances, etc.

                Dated 14 December 2013

                 Judge B M Ngoepe, Chair, Appeals Panel