South Africa’s Press Council is looking for a new press ombudsman to handle complaints against member publications.
The current press ombudsman, Johan Retief, is leaving the position. Retief told iMediaEthics by e-mail, he has “been the Deputy ombud since Nov 2009, and the ombud since Feb 2013 – in total, just more than nine years.” He is resigning for personal reasons, he told iMediaEthics, to spend more time with family.
iMediaEthics asked Retief if he has any advice for his successor. “If my successor wants to be popular, she/he is in the wrong job,” he wrote. “Media ethics have more than 50 shades of grey, and one constantly needs to balance arguments up against each other. In the end, the ombud should protect the public from the media (if a complaint is valid), and the media from the public (if a complaint is invalid). And: Be brave, but never think you know it all – keep on learning.”
Applications for the position are due Dec. 3 via mail, e-mail, or fax. The ombudsman term lasts five years and applicants must be permanent citizens and residents of South Africa, according to the job listing.
The job description says the ombudsman must “adjudicate complaints lodged against newspapers, magazines and online publications that subscripe to the Press Code,” “participate in information programmes with the media and the public,” “contribute to quarterly and annual reports to the Press Council and assist the executive director with managing the office of the press council.”
For more information, check out the press council website.