Robert Brand

A tale of two singers, a child molester, the media and the law

Now here’s a story. A few years ago the high-jump star Hestrie Cloete left her husband for the Afrikaans singer Jurie Els. Last month, the newly married couple announced that they were emigrating to New Zealand. Els said they were fed-up with crime, lack of service delivery and bad management. “I am tired of driving…

12 Comments Continue Reading →

Zuma, Nzimande clash … over media effects

Signs of division appeared in Jacob Zuma’s camp this week when the ANC president disagreed publicly with one of his staunchest supporters over media effects. While SACP leader Blade Nzimande accused City Press of sowing division and confusion within ANC ranks, Zuma has come to the conclusion that nobody much bothers about what they read…

34 Comments Continue Reading →

Private healthcare’s ‘super’ profits

People often accuse journalists of profiting from the misfortune of others. So do private hospitals, except they do much better. According to Business Day, the Hospital Association of South Africa, which represents the private hospital industry, is stepping up its campaign to convince the government not to regulate private hospital fees. It is arguing that…

22 Comments Continue Reading →

The paranoid Mr Zuma

Daniel Gross, financial columnist for online magazine Slate, bumped into Jacob Zuma at Davos this week and nominated him as “the world leader with the most aggressive bodyguards“. It seems that Mr Zuma’s paranoia is not limited to the remote possibility of being molested in the Swiss Alps. He also believes the media in his…

14 Comments Continue Reading →

The Christian fundamentalist lynch mob is at it again

Having tasted victory against Tim du Plessis and Rapport, Christian fundamentalists have set their sights on a fresh target. According to Jacques Liebenberg in Beeld, a campaign is under way to organise a boycott of the film The Golden Compass, due to be released in South Africa on Friday. According to an anonymous message distributed…

64 Comments Continue Reading →

Johncom may have a winner in the Times

Johncom, soon to be renamed Avusa, has for the first time released details about the cost of its two new print titles, the Weekender and the Times. The company spent R33-million from April to September improving its online offerings and launching the two new titles, CEO Prakash Desai said during the company’s interim results announcement…

3 Comments Continue Reading →

The devil made Tim do it

Rapport editor Tim du Plessis has given us a new version of Voltaire’s famous defence of free speech: “I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it, unless it harms my employer’s commercial interests, in which case I’ll shut you up quicker than you can say ‘editorial independence’.” Du…

64 Comments Continue Reading →

Get me a fake Springbok jersey!

Canterbury, the Springbok kit sponsor, is complaining that “counterfeit” goods are damaging its business and could lead to job losses. What hogwash! Canterbury’s argument, a familiar complaint by branded-goods manufacturers, is based on a false assumption: that people would buy the “official” goods if alternatives — the far cheaper “fakes” — were not available. For…

6 Comments Continue Reading →

Another day, another journalist (or two) jailed

Two senior journalists have been arrested for leaking information about a criminal investigation into the alleged unlawful publication of a government official’s home address. Zimbabwe? South Africa? United States, actually. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey of the Phoenix New Times were jailed last week when they revealed that they had been subpoenaed by a grand…

Leave a comment Continue Reading →

Newspapers without government … How about that, Mr President?

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States of America, once famously said: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” That was before he became president. After he’d experienced a taste of…

1 Comment Continue Reading →