Thami Mdwaba vs The Citizen – Dismissed

Complainant: Thami Mdwaba

Article: Picture published

Date:

Respondent: The Citizen

Dear Mr Mdwaba
Your complaint against the picture published on page 4 of the Citizen (February 15, 2011) refers.
While I can understand – and appreciate – your concern, I have decided to dismiss your complaint.
This is why:
  • For me, the focus of the picture is not on the child’s gender – for that, the child would have featured much larger;
  • The purpose of the picture is much rather that of poverty;
  • This is supported by the first word of the caption, namely CHILLING – it indeed is a chilling picture;
  • The allegation that, if the child was a girl the picture would not have been published, is an assumption that I therefore do not share;
  • Your remark that we should stop child abuse is not relevant – there is no sign that the child was abused;
  • The child is not identified; and
  • The exact address is not identified.
There is nothing in the Press Code that prohibits the publication of a picture such as this one, as it:
  • cannot be construed as indecent or obscene (Art. 1.7);
  • does not present sexual conduct (Art. 1.7.1); and
  • cannot be construed as child pornography (Art. 1.7.2)
You can ask the chairman of the Press Appeals Panel, Judge Ralph Zulman, for leave to appeal. In that case, write to khanyim@ombudsman.org.za, fully setting out your grounds for the application.
Kind regards
Johan