The Press Council of South Africa is saddened by the death of Ed Linington, who served it for 10 years as its Press Ombudsman. A giant of South African journalism, Ed was also a catalyst in the evolution of the council.
He retired as editor of the South African Press Agency (SAPA) in 1992, but five years later became the Press Ombudsman in what was then named the Office of the Press Ombudsman. Ten years later he recruited the current executive director of the council, Joe Thloloe, to succeed him as Ombudsman.
Ed was never one for the limelight, but he did sterling work, quietly serving his craft of journalism, his nation and its democracy.
It was during his stewardship that the Press Council shifted gears a few times to align itself with the emerging democracy, transforming what was the Constituent Bodies of the Ombudsman’s Office into the Press Council and then increasing the public participation in its affairs to the level of five public representatives against six press ones. (Today the non-media voice in the Press Council is bigger than the media voice.)
The Press Council will miss his wisdom and his vast knowledge of the history of media regulation in South Africa.
Our condolences go to his widow, Vivien, his children and the rest of the Linington family.