Qwelane, whose Sunday Sun column !_LT_U” href=”http://www.mambaonline.com/images/features/sundaysun_small.pdf” target=_blank mce_href=”http://www.mambaonline.com/images/features/sundaysun_small.pdf”Call me names, but gay is NOT okay”!_LT_/U, sparked outrage, will stay on as a columnist, and he will not be expected to apologise for the controversial piece.
According to Themba Khumalo, editor-in-chief of the Sunday Sun, “the content of the article was not intended to offend”.
Khumalo says the Sunday Sun plans to publish an apology in its Sunday (August 3) edition of the newspaper for Qwelane’s controversial column. The apology comes after the Press Ombudsman, Joe Thloloe, received over 1,000 complaints against the newspaper for publishing what some have called a “homophobic diatribe” on July 20, 2008.
The Press Ombudsman ruled on July 29, that the newspaper was in breach of Section 2.1 of the South African Press Code with respect to:
Publishing denigratory references to people’s sexual orientation in the column by Qwelane;
Implying that homosexuals are a lower breed than heterosexuals; and
The cartoon accompanying the column, which was also disparaging of homosexuals.
It was recommended that an appropriate apology be published.
Khumalo says the ruling of the Press Ombudsman “is a fair judgement”.
The paper will take no action against Qwelane, “If he had broken bigger laws, he would be made to publish an apology (by Sunday Sun),” says Khumalo.
He adds: “He is going to continue as a columnist. But as a publication we will be extremely careful to ensure that this does not happen again.”
* The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) also received complaints about Qwelane’s column. Qwelane has made it clear that he would not apologise if asked to do so by the SAHRC: “And by the way, please tell the Human Rights Commission that I totally refuse to withdraw or apologise for my views. I will write no letters to the commission either, explaining my thoughts.”