"Withdrawal of Mandela book a form of censorship"

Mandela’s Last Years, written by retired military doctor Vejay Ramlakan who headed up Madiba's medical team during his last years, caused much outcry when it was published recently.

Mandela family members were angry, saying the author had not been granted permission to publish and it was a breach of medical ethics and patient doctor confidentiality. The doctor insisted he had been granted permission by members of the family.

Penguin Random House Publishers withdrew the book in July and called for media review copies to be returned.

She says there are two parts that relate to why this action could be viewed as censorship.

The first aspect is that there was no legal reason to withdraw the book.

It's partly a kind of self-censorship on the part of the publisher. They did not have to withdraw the book. There was no real legal basis for them to do so. And so by withdrawing it, they have censored themselves.

Beth le Roux, Publishing professor, University of Pretoria

The second aspect is the pressure from an influential family.

This was simply pressure. And when you have an influential family using that influence and bringing that to bear on somebody to suppress the circulation of information, that is a form of censorship as well.

Beth le Roux, Publishing professor, University of Pretoria

She believes the Mandela family threats of legal action had very little chance of succeeding. The basis for a legal threat in South Africa would be defamation, she says.

One would have to show that something said in the book was harmful to someone's character or was blatantly untrue and in the book quite the opposite was done, she adds.

He was shown in a very positive light rather than trying to break down his reputation.

Beth le Roux, Publishing professor, University of Pretoria

Five errors were identified by the Nelson Mandela Foundation but Le Roux says unless they were substantive errors it is unlikely to carry weight.

She says while a doctor writing such a book could be considered unethical, it is not illegal.

Listen to the interview below:


This article first appeared on 702 : "Withdrawal of Mandela book a form of censorship"


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
UK firm plans to implant microchip in workers

UK firm plans to implant microchip in workers

A tiny chip, implanted in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger, would enable employees to have access to their place of work.

'I felt racially profiled at Wellness Warehouse'

'I felt racially profiled at Wellness Warehouse'

Efua Prah shares how she felt she was racially profiled while shopping, a problem she says exists in many Cape Town outlets.

Barbara Hogan reveals how Jacob Zuma took away her executive powers as minister

Barbara Hogan reveals how Jacob Zuma took away her executive powers as minister

Barbara Hogan continued giving her testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday.

Catch Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in studio with John Maytham on Thursday

Catch Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in studio with John Maytham on Thursday

On Thursday at 4 pm John chats to Team Dimension Data about giving bicycles to those in need.

[LISTEN] Ndileka Mandela angered and disappointed by Vejay Ramlakan book

[LISTEN] Ndileka Mandela angered and disappointed by Vejay Ramlakan book

Eldest granddaughter of former President Nelson Mandela says she is pained that medical details were revealed.

LISTEN: Madiba's doctor details dramatic, touch-and-go event months before death

LISTEN: Madiba's doctor details dramatic, touch-and-go event months before death

Nelson Mandela's physician sets the record straight about Mandela's state of health and passing in a memoir, Mandela's Last Years.

Popular articles
[LISTEN] DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach withdraws her candidacy for NDPP post

[LISTEN] DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach withdraws her candidacy for NDPP post

Breytenbach was one of 12 candidates shortlisted for the position.

'I felt racially profiled at Wellness Warehouse'

'I felt racially profiled at Wellness Warehouse'

Efua Prah shares how she felt she was racially profiled while shopping, a problem she says exists in many Cape Town outlets.

Amnesty International strips Myanmar leader of top honour once awarded to Madiba

Amnesty International strips Myanmar leader of top honour once awarded to Madiba

The global human rights organisation revoked the Ambassador of Conscience Award it gave Aung San Suu Kyi in 2009.

Water restrictions see 17 municipal pools across CT open from December

Water restrictions see 17 municipal pools across CT open from December

The City of Cape Town's JP Smith says four of the existing municipal pools will be converted into salt water pools.