At the end of May, Justice Raylene Keightley, in the Johannesburg High Court, handed down a defamation judgment in favour of my client, Maria Ramos against Independent Newspapers. We brought a motion on her behalf to vindicate her name, after an Independent editorial said she “fixed the rand.”
Astonishingly, Independent defended the claim, even though it was given an opportunity to retract and make amends before litigation.
I penned a piece in the Daily Maverick here, discussing the case also from the perspective of Independent’s withdrawal from the Press Council, which regulates all of the other major major print and online media players in South Africa. I used to be the Independent’s lawyer before its ownership changed, and so the victory is a bitter-sweet one. But as I always tell my publisher clients, if you have erred, fess up swiftly and make amends. Independent has not appealed and complied with the court order.
I reproduce my piece below.