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Sunday, 02 April 2006


Clive Simpkins - mail received from Paul Hartley

Dear Clive

Just a quick note to say that I, like many others in the South African media and ICT sectors, consider your recent comments regarding Fathima Beckmann to be in the very poorest taste. A blog is not a license to dispose with integrity. Irrespective of your opinions regarding her on-air responses, a personal attack such as yours is both a blot on Moneyweb’s good name, and an embarrassment to the rest of us working in mainstream media.

If you knew Fathima well enough, you would know that she is a highly respected Corporate Communications officer both locally and abroad following successful stints at Intel and MultiChoice. I have never met anybody who has not spoken of her in the highest terms. It is therefore ironic that you should criticise her communication skills, when yours are merely evidence of how low some writers are willing to stoop to fill a few lines and drum up any form of response.


Paul Hartley

Clive Simpkins

Comment on Paul Hartley's e-mail:

Thanks Paul. I'm sure the mainstream media will sleep a whole lot more comfortably tonight knowing that you've become the expiator of their sins. Track record means nothing in this day and age. Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev were booed off stage in Covent Garden. Are you suggesting some sort of protectionism/cronyism in the face of a disastrous media encounter? It was Fathima's job NOT to screw up. She did. I write opinion pieces, to which I'm entitled. You express your opinion. I may not - and indeed don't agree with it - but that's called media democracy. Like it or hate it.

Clive Simpkins - More from Paul Hartley


You miss the point entirely, but not unexpectedly. I am not debating your right to an opinion or your right to voice it publicly. That clearly is your living such as it is. I take issue with the manner in which you express your opinions.

Using a public platform for such a personal attack as you did is crass and lacking in integrity. It is especially deplorable when it is accompanied with such thinly veiled racism, and by association, a clear lack of knowledge surrounding the actual person. For somebody who wishes to position themselves as a ‘communications specialist’, and for a business website that wishes to be taken seriously, you both reeked of the gutter press on this occasion. Putting it within a blog or under the title of ‘eclectic rants’ neither excuses this nor makes it any the prettier.

And yes, track record is everything in this day and age. It is your track record that substantiates the reputation that precedes you – something any writer should best remember. It’s a pity you knew of neither in terms of Ms Beckmann before mounting your soapbox.

I should also take issue with your right to publish my comments. Had I wished to debate publicly with you, I would have written a comment on the Moneyweb site or indeed my own, but chose rather to e-mail you personally. I understand though that you rely on a reaction – any sort of reaction – to validate your ‘rants’, and will resist the urge to provide you with a large platform.

You know my opinion. I know yours. Subject closed.


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