Tag Archives: Rob Armstrong

Corona Virus Lockdown: SA Wine exports put under lock and key, industry loss of R800 million per month!

 

One of the shock decisions by the Government during the State of Disaster during the Corona Virus Lockdown has been to make it illegal to export South African wines, and to transport wines from wine estates to the ports, just nine days after exports were allowed, and despite the export of fresh fruit and other agricultural products being allowed. The export wine ban means a loss of R200 million per week to the wine industry, says industry body VinPro.  Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 31 October

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  SAA would consider a partner to assist it in running its loss-making operation, the Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown said earlier this week.  The airline’s application for more funding was recently rejected.

*   Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has opened a Hong Kong office to market our country’s wines to all of Asia, and will be managed by Michaela Stander, who has managed the region from South Africa for the past six years.  South African wine sales into China grew by 5% and to Japan by 12% in the past year.   The marketing program includes consumer education, a sommelier competition, dinners, and offering wines by the glass.  It will be visible at the HKTDC fair in Hong Kong next week, and at ProWein China from 12 – 14 November.

*   The 40th annual Volvo Ocean Race of 39000 nautical miles, will welcome the first yachts into Cape Town on Sunday, Continue reading →

Twitter: has it reached the 7 year Twitch? Will Mellor of 2oceansvibe warns about Social Media defamation, in drag!

From small beginnings, Twitter last week celebrated its 7th anniversary. with 500 million Twitter users sending up to 340 million Tweets daily, described as the ‘SMS of the internet’, according to Wikipedia!   Many on Twitter will say they are hooked, even worse addicted, but for many the dark side of Twitter may soon outweigh its benefits.

Twitter users love the social medium for the following:

*   its information role – faster than any conventional broadcast medium, Twitter users are well informed about world events almost as they happen, can listen to a courtroom bail application judgement real time, obtain weather updates, read the world’s newspapers and magazines digitally, and update themselves about anything and everything.

*   its friendship role – many new friendships have been made via Twitter, with Tweeters with similar interests meeting and connecting, and becoming real time friends.

*  its profiling role – should one wish to build a profile of a person as a potential employee or employer, friend, competitor, or business partner, one can read their Twitter stream to check how well they can communicate, how well they can spell, how courteous (or not) they are in their communication.

*   its experience-sharing role, in sharing restaurant experiences (a great irritation for other Twitter users, research shows), recipes for cooking and baking, evaluation of wines drunk, and general tourism experiences.

*   its micro-messaging role, in users productively reducing their communication to 140 characters and still communicating coherently.

*   it has moved communication into the visual realm, allowing one’s Followers to share great restaurant meals, beautiful sunsets, great sporting achievements, and life in general via one’s photographs, allowing them to be there digitally.

*   it is an immediate brand feedback platform, highlighting the positive and negative attributes of every brand around the world, given the immediacy of sharing information.

*   it leads to dialogue and conversation, often generating funny and interesting points of view, such as during the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The dark side of Twitter has overtaken its benefits for many Tweeters:

*   Less original material is Tweeted, and more Tweets by others are re-Tweeted, especially first thing in the morning.

*   The flood of Tweets is never-ending on weekdays, slowing down vastly on weekends and in the evenings, showing how much Tweeting is done from the office.  Finding it difficult to reduce the number of Followers, Tweeters are unable to read all the Tweets in their timeline, and feel that they are missing out because they cannot read all the Tweets.

*   Twitter’s policy of allowing freedom of speech, without action to remove Tweets that are abusive, that harass, are defamatory, and spread untruths, is its biggest weakness, and while one can block unpleasant Tweeters, and even report them for Spam, Twitter never acts against them as Facebook would do, in closing their account down after one warning.  Slowly but surely Social Media is receiving attention from Twitter cyberbullying victims and their lawyers, for Tweeters not respecting libel laws for excessive defamation. Even re-Tweeting defamatory Tweets makes one liable for libel. Ignorant Tweeters who abuse others, and have their employers’ names in their Twitter Bio, are learning that they and their employers can be sued for libel, and can claim damages from both parties.

*   Even worse is the ganging up by a small number of Tweeters, who not only target Twitter victims, but also badger, bash, and bully their friends and those that they interact with on Twitter at every turn.  Because they don’t like a Tweeter, all the friends and followers of that Tweeter are disliked as well, and ridiculed, bullied, harassed, and even stalked by Tweeters such as Sonia Cabano, an old hand at Twitter abuse and at setting up anonymous accounts to disparage others (e.g. @TableMountain_); as well as Twitch Marthèlize Tredoux, who Tweets as @Konfytbekkie, and is regarded as one of the most abusive Tweeters at the moment, ‘out-performing’ Cabano in terms of venom and persistence. One wonders how Tredoux does her job at Siyavula, Tweeting ad nauseum!  These two Tweeters are assisted with behind-the-scenes input from Skye Grove at Cape Town Tourism, recipe blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs, and supermarket wine promoter Michael Olivier, known to do anything in their power to disparage ourselves. Twitter has become their ‘school ground’ bullying domain, weaklings hiding behind anonymous accounts to disparage and destroy others. Ironically, every time an abusive Tweet is sent, it pushes up the readership numbers of our blog, which is hardly what the Tweeters would want to achieve!

Twitter users seem ignorant about the legal implications of their defamatory Tweets, often shooting off Tweets without evaluating the content for defamation, and re-Tweeting libelous Tweets, making them guilty of libel too.  Recently Webber Wentzel Social Media lawyer Emma Sadleir warned that abusive Tweeters could land up behind bars if they ‘put up racist or offensive posts’, opening themselves up to charges of crimen injuria or facing charges under the Equality Act, reported Times LIVE.  Sadleir has encouraged cyberbully victims to report such defamation at a police station and lay a charge of crimen injuria. A recent new ‘Protection against Harassment Act’ allows online victims to obtain a ‘protection order against their perpetrators‘.  The South African Press Council has also announced that its press code will be expanded to include online media, allowing for the same standards of ethical and professional communication to apply to all media platforms.

Well-known constitutional lawyer Pierre de Vos summarised the worst aspects of Twitter on his ‘Constitutionally Speaking’ blog, in that it (with Facebook) seems ‘to bring out the worst in people. Otherwise reasonably decent people who might well carefully weigh their words can become raving hatemongers and irresponsible tattletales on these platforms’. Analysing the differences in defamation between printed media and Social Media, Professor de Vos came to the conclusion that defamation is defamation, when it leads to the ‘lowering of your reputation’, which is unlawful, with the exception of substantiated truthful reporting which is in the public interest.  Yet Professor de Vos comes to an interesting conclusion, writing that legal action against defamation on Social Media may in fact attract more attention to the matter, and that one should hold one’s head high, and allow one’s reputation on other Social Media platforms and one’s blog to speak for oneself.  He concludes: When somebody says something defamatory about me I usually laugh and instinctively feel pity for the person who is so damaged that he or she has to resort to insults to make him or herself feel better about themselves’ (our underlining).

2oceansvibe owner Will Mellor (he lives his life under the pseudonym ‘Seth Rotherham) has produced an etv Tech Report about defamation prevention, ironic in that his blog was subject to a charge of defamation and dishonest reporting about the zoning of the property which is rented by our Whale Cottage Camps Bay.  We question his honesty and ethics, and that of his company. Earlier this week the City of Cape Town confirmed the zoning of the property, and found that there is ‘no land use contravention in terms of the conditions of approval‘, which was granted to the property in 1999! This counters the unsubstantiated 2oceansvibe allegation that the property was incorrectly zoned by the City of Cape Town, and their libelous allegation that the Trust that owns the building may have ‘defrauded’ the City of Cape Town in terms of rates and taxes!  We expect Mellor and his unethical self-proclaimed ‘journalist’ Simon Hartley to remove the libelous post, which was based on unsubstantiated information, and to offer us an apology.  We expect an apology too from Len Steenkamp from the University of Stellenbosch, Ben Wagner and Amanda Sevasti from Native digital agency, Marthèlize Tredoux, Cape Point Trails, Sonia Cabano, Rob Armstrong from Haut Espoir, and Lisa Strachan for alleging impropriety via Tweets or Re-Tweets. See Mellor in drag, for a good laugh, preaching about Social Media defamation prevention!

One hopes that the nasty Tweeters will realise that incessant abusive Tweeting is boring for one’s Followers, leading them to be unfollowed, and reflects their own personal issues, according to Professor de Vos. Twitter has become an open ‘skinner (gossip) space’, in which many have no manners in talking negatively about others publicly, knowing full well that the Tweets can be read by the person(s) they are Tweeting about.  Twitter could be such a pleasant space for all if there were not regular Twars spoiling the communication value of the medium for so many!  In Twitter’s next seven years it is likely that legal controls about what is written will get tighter, in that action will be taken against Twitter abuse, harassment, and defamation.

POSTSCRIPT 3/4: Sonia Cabano closed down her personal Twitter account on Thursday evening.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage