Leadership changes at Press Ombudsman as Latakgomo becomes public advocate

The role of public advocate at the Press Council was created to champion complaints from the public members and see them to a satisfactory conclusion.

Joe Latakgomo, a veteran journalist with more than 50 years’ experience within journalism and media industry, is the new public advocate at the Press Council of South Africa.

This follows the promotion of the current incumbent, Latiefa Mobara, to the position of executive director of the organisation.

The Press Council, commonly referred to as Press Ombud, and the Appeals Panel are an independent co-regulatory mechanism set up by the print and online media to provide impartial, expeditious and cost-effective adjudication to settle disputes between newspapers, magazines and online publications, on the one hand, and members of the public, on the other, over the editorial content of publications.

“The role of Mr Latakgomo will be to champion the complainants’ course from the members of the public. One of the issues that came up during the press commission was that the public’s voice is not heard hence the creation of this position. If this can not be resolved it goes for adjudication with the Ombudsman. If after this they are still dissatisfied it could be taken on appeal panel chaired by Bernard Ngoepe,” explained Mobara.

Latakgomo was previously public editor at Avusa Media; editor-in-chief at Mafube Publishing; manager for strategic and government relations at Engen Petroleum; deputy editor at Argus Africa News Service; senior assistant editor at The Star; founding editor at The Sowetan; assistant editor at Post and Sunday Post, and World and Weekend World as well as deputy sports editor at The World and Weekend World.

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Mobara takes over from veteran journalist Joe Thloloe, whose term of office ends at the end of February. Johan Retief has been retained as the Ombud.

During a council meeting held this week, the appointments panel and the constituent associations of the council also finalised the list of people who will be on the Press Council and the panel of adjudicators.

Mary Papayya, Andrew Allison, Faizel Dawjee, Themba Sepotokele, Dinesh Balliah, and Kalim Rajab have been appointed as the public representatives on the Press Council. They will be joined by retired Judge Phillip Levinsohn and former deputy judge president of KwaZulu-Natal to constitute “the non-media voice in the Press Council”.

The media representatives on the Press Council are Raymond Louw, Amina Frense, Graeme Campbell, Izak Minnaar, Andrew Trench and Louise Vale.

The non-media voice on the panel of adjudicators are Pria Chetty, Mpho Chaka, Patrick Roy Mnisi, Karthy Govender, Paula Fray, Peter Mann, Brian Gibson with Carol Mohlala as the public representative.

Tshamano Makhadi, Joe Thloloe, Fanie Groenewald, Judy Sandison, Megan Rusi and Wandile Fana will serve as the press representatives on the adjudication panel.

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