Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fraud, Deception and Depravation

I have mailed a draft of this article to the deputy editor of a regional newspaper in South Africa 24 hours ago. I clearly stated that I will post it on my Blog if they do not respond within a reasonable time. I have not named the paper as yet, but if no response is forthcoming by the end of the workday on Friday, August 24th, 2007 I will do so. I will also approach the press ombudsman in South Africa, the owners of the newspaper and post all relevant correspondence as wide as possible on the World Wide Web. It is high time that the normal man in the street be heard.

One of the things South African society is known for is their callousness towards victims and specifically victims of violent crime. The attitude of their police force towards rape victims illustrates this. A few other aspects that comes to mind is the governmental stance on supplying anti-retroviral drugs to HIV/AIDS sufferers and lack of involvement with the plight of sexually abused children. Society as a whole is so snowed under with crime and cruelty that they have to develop very thick skins as a defense mechanism for the sake of their sanity. This has an unfortunate backlash. Petty crimes are shrugged off with a “we don’t care attitude.”

“What on earth is he on about again?” you might ask.

Let me explain my situation.

I am a struggling first-time author using a small publishing concern in South Africa. Together we decided not to send copies of my book to newspapers with the hope that some would respond and do a review. We have not got money to waste. We therefore did not, ‘doorstop’ the newspapers as some authors do, and just sent them a copy. We first contacted the newspapers and only when they showed interest did we forward them copies, at our cost, for review purposes. A regional newspaper is on record asking for a copy of the book for the purpose of a review. A trail of e-mail messages confirms this.

Not only have this newspaper not done a review in a reasonable time i.e. approximately 4 months but repeated enquiries about the status remain unanswered. I know that journalists are busy people and sometimes ‘forget’ about responding to correspondence but this paper have not made any effort to return the book to my publisher and reimburse him for his postage and time. They have stated no reason as to why they can not do the review either. They clearly have no intention of doing the review. In my mind they thus obtained a copy of my book, by devious means, and intend to keep it. They have also had ample time for all the staff and their families to have read the book by now without any payment or acknowledgement, so returning it now, serves no purpose. There is no more choice in this matter. The newspaper is under an obligation to do an objective review of my work, publish it and to include the contact particulars of my publisher. That was our agreement.

I have had enough of this attitude of “to hell with the small man on the street, he counts for nothing.”

See what other readers say about my book. An interview was even carried on Reuters and I'm thus lead to believe that my work is seen as "good enough" and also relevant to the current political situaution in South Africa..

A quick search on the web brought up a few “layman’s terms.”

“Defraud” means to knowingly obtain, by deception, some benefit for oneself or another, or to knowingly cause, by deception, some detriment to another.

“Deception” means knowingly deceiving another or causing another to be deceived by any false or misleading representation, by withholding information, by preventing another from acquiring information, or by any other conduct, act, or omission that creates, confirms, or perpetuates a false impression in another, including a false impression as to law, value, state of mind, or other objective or subjective fact.

"Deprive” means to do any of the following:

(1) Withhold property of another permanently, or for a period that appropriates a substantial portion of its value or use, or with purpose to restore it only upon payment of a reward or other consideration;
(2) Dispose of property so as to make it unlikely that the owner will recover it;(3) Accept, use, or appropriate money, property, or services, with purpose not to give proper consideration in return for the money, property, or services, and without reasonable justification or excuse for not giving proper consideration.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your help!