"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

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Municipalities' performance deteriorates says A-G

Municipalities' performance deteriorates says A-G

EWN Reporter Lindsay Dentlinger said the Auditor-General did not mince his words when he released his audit findings.

[WATCH] John Maytham: Nobody is immune to fake news

[WATCH] John Maytham: Nobody is immune to fake news

John shares a fake story that is doing the rounds about the Willemse, Mallet, Botha saga 'used as evidence to spew racist views.'

 It's not the 'race card', it's my reality - rugby journo Vata Ngobeni

It's not the 'race card', it's my reality - rugby journo Vata Ngobeni

Despite his credentials, rugby journalist Vata Ngobeni says he's always felt undermined in the world of rugby because he is black.

Don't shut Delft taxi rank, go after illegal operators - Blue Downs CPF

Don't shut Delft taxi rank, go after illegal operators - Blue Downs CPF

Suspected taxi violence has returned in Delft, where a taxi boss was shot and killed at the local taxi rank on Monday.

[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] Van Breda's call to emergency services: 'My family and I were attacked'

[LISTEN] Van Breda's call to emergency services: 'My family and I were attacked'

The chilling call Henri van Breda made to emergency services on the night his mother, father and big brother were hacked to death.

SANDF soldier arrested for robbery on trial for attempted murder

SANDF soldier arrested for robbery on trial for attempted murder

Operations chief, General Barney Hlatshwayo's personal driver was arrested on Tuesday.

[WATCH] 'These thugs need to be arrested and rot in jail'- Bongani Bingwa

[WATCH] 'These thugs need to be arrested and rot in jail'- Bongani Bingwa

Bongani Bingwa shares his thoughts on the Panyaza Lesufi 'effigy' incident on Wednesday.

Everything you know about success is (mostly) wrong

Everything you know about success is (mostly) wrong

Allon Raiz on “Barking up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science behind Why Everything You Know about Success Is (Mostly) Wrong”.

Defence: State has failed to prove that Van Breda killed his family

Defence: State has failed to prove that Van Breda killed his family

Henri van Breda’s legal team presented its closing arguments in the Western Cape High Court.

Hope Ramaphosa: Cyril never lifted a finger to me, he wouldn't beat a woman

Hope Ramaphosa: Cyril never lifted a finger to me, he wouldn't beat a woman

Cyril Ramaphosa's ex-wife says abuse allegations spread by EFF leader Julius Malema are an attempt to tarnish his reputation.

Is Shakespeare still relevant to SA's school curriculum?

Is Shakespeare still relevant to SA's school curriculum?

How relevant is Shakespeare in SA's English literature which is written in a manner that no one speaks today?

3 reasons for the petrol price hike (and why it will hurt more than you think)

3 reasons for the petrol price hike (and why it will hurt more than you think)

Economist Dawie Roodt says that the petrol price hike is going to boost the cycle of inflation and force interest rates up.