Calls to appeal Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe’s ruling again the Sunday Sun for publishing a homophobic article have been rejected by the SA Press Appeals Panel (SAPAP).

A number of individuals and organisations had appealed the original ruling which ordered the Sunday Sun to apologise for the Jon Qwelane column published on July 20. It however stopped short of ordering sanctions again the writer or classifying his article as hate speech.

There were also concerns around the fact that Thloloe is known to be a personal friend of Qwelane’s.

According to the Joburg Pride Board, which was one of the applicants that appealed the ruling, the apology issued by Sunday Sun publisher Deon Du Plessis was “half-hearted” and “unacceptable.”

In his letter, Du Plessis apologised for offending “some people” but not for publishing the article. In response, Thloloe said he was “…very satisfied with the apology.”

Replying to the applications for leave to appeal on Tuesday, Judge Ralph Zulman, chairman of the SAPAP, said he believed that the panel would not come to a different conclusion than the one reached by Thloloe.

“I am satisfied that there is no reasonable prospect that the SAPAP may come to a decision different to that of the ombudsman. Accordingly the applicant is informed that leave to appeal is refused,” he said.

Qwelane’s article, titled Call me names, but gay is NOT okay…, equated homosexuality with bestiality, praised Robert Mugabe’s oppression of gays and lesbians and encouraged the removal of the sexual-orientation equality clause from the constitution.

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