May 8, 2011

Mzansi Penya Barcelonista writes to the Press Ombudsman: a small matter of a c

Filed under: manifesto — newritings @ 6:34 am

An open letter to the Press Ombudsman

bra joe

the ombudsman



Mail: PO Box 47221, PARKLANDS, 2121
Street: St Davids’s Park, 2nd Floor, 7 St Davids Place, Parktown, JOHANNESBURG
Tel: (011) 484 3618 / 3612
Fax: (011) 484 3619

Mr Joe Thloloe

Mail: PO Box 47221, PARKLANDS, 2121
Street: St Davids’s Park, 2nd Floor, 7 St Davids Place, Parktown, JOHANNESBURG
Tel: (011) 484 3618 / 3612
Fax: (011) 484 3619

Contact Person

Hi bra Joe
Hope this email finds you in good health. As discussed this morning, I have penned a few sentences to get the ball rolling.
Yours for a free and responsive media
In solidarity
Hassen Lorgat

Ps. FC Barcelona plays Shaktar Donetsk tomorrow night (Tuesday 12 April 2011) and we hope to read about our team!

The small matter of a c

This morning I called a friend and comrade, the Press Ombudsman Joe Tholoe, to ask him if there was a forum where the public could engage with the fourth estate on matters of concern to the broader public. Since football is more than a game, I proceeded to tell him that I was asked to call and complain to him on behalf of the FC Barcelona’s official supporters club in South Africa known as Mzansi Penya Barcelonista. The complaints in the main evolves about the fact that our media seemingly continues to be trapped in old colonial loyalties when it comes to football, covering the English Premier League, and granting scant coverage to Spanish football league despite their players being the reigning Football World Cup champs. BBVA Spanish Football League popularly known as La Liga, however, cannot be ignored when it comes to watching and reading about the UEFA Champions League, which has thrown up some problems of how some teams are reported/covered.

And this brings me to how journalists report on FC Barcelona, popularly known as Barça. Yet for some strange reasons news editors persist in calling the team Barca, with the hard sound of k, pronounced as Barka. In my letter to one of the newspapers, seeking to get another view to an obviously pro Arsenal Carlos Amato, during February 2011, I suggested to the editor / senior that the paper considers using the Catalan ç, Needless to say, the response was not published, as was the case of many of others who wrote in. One of those “unpublished writers” informed me that Amato replied to him,bilaterally, thereby missing a great opportunity to engage the public on matters of mutual concern. In my case, the reply I got included a firm “but we don’t do sedillas here.”

From then onwards I scanned a range of our newspapers and from City Press, Mail and Guardian, Citizen, to Sunday Times – all have fuelled public ignorance on this as these examples reveal:

The Citizen newspaper,
Saturday 9 april 2011
Real, Barca prepared for possibilities
The New Age,
25 Feb, 2011 “Bruised Barca face tough Mallorca test”
The Times,
Barca do haka to promote rugby match
Page 26, March 2, 2011
The Times
Barca and Madrid wait on Messi, Ronaldo injuries
Apr 1, 2011 9:21 AM | By Paul Logothetis, Sapa-AP
Mon Apr 11 12:56:06 SAST 2011
Barca clashes overshadow Real’s encounter with Bilbao
08-Apr-2011 | Reuters
IOL group
United to play Barca on pre-season tour
March 29 2011
City press
Messi the key to Barca success
2011-03-10 11:09
Mail and Guardian
United, Barcelona close in on last four
Chris Wright, Paris, France – April 07 2011 07:40
The heading uses the club’s full name but the same mistake is included, thus:
“The only downside for Barca came when Iniesta earned a yellow card, which means he will miss the second leg through suspension.”


As I was beginning to despair, one weekend, over coffee, I spotted it. For the first time ever in a South African newspaper: the cedilla. Wow, on a closer look from a Rosebank Cofee shop, I found that it was the Weekend Argus (IOL group) headline which used this: “Villareal could be a tough test for Barça” (April 2, 2011, page 25)

My excitement, however, was limited when I went to their website only to find a repeat of the old error suggesting that what I saw was either an apparition or simply an aberration as I found: Barca lose key defenders – 7 Mar 2011… of La liga with a 1-0 win over Zaragoza at the weekend and now they turn their ….

This all could be remedied if all editors simply got with the programme: we are living in a global village, and the use of a cedilla is not undermining of the English language. If, however, it is too much of a cultural bridge to cross, I suggest that our editors think of using an S, as many other newspapers are actually doing. Ole, an Argentinian sports paper does this as you can see:
“En Barsa, Messi tiene a jugadores de su nivel”

Simply meaning: At Barsa – Messi has players of his level

If the editors think we are wrong – go and test the word with your readers: then return and tell me if we are barca-ing up the wrong tree.

PS. The response to the article to which I refer above….

Another point on the great FC Barcelona
Carlos Amato’s Barca need a klap (17 Feb) prompted me to reply
I am a South African, and cannot separate politics and sport. And as South African too, I love sport that is beautifully played, and it is these two reasons that brought me to FC Barcelona. They are a team that is socially engaged, and true to their roots, and today still serve as a symbol of their town, state and people. Organising under the theme Més que un Club, more than a club, and subjecting their leadership to deep, daily public scrutiny and praise (depending how the team is doing) is something very rarely seen in SA.
The team is owned by its members which is a rare thing in SA too. Going to the Nou Camp is a family outing because you are likely to sit next to young women, a grandfather with a grandson on his lap. How many teams are owned by communities or trusts in SA? None. And what is more, most of them care very little about the fans, seeing them simply as bums on seats. Our journalists do not tell us this story as they churn out week in and week out, scores and spurious analysis on the matches which do not educate the fans-readers. Amato is a good journalist, but I think he misreads Barça. The Barça style of playing is empowering as it gives hope to smaller humans and must give hope to our more skillful South African players, men and women. Watching recently Banyana Banyana vs Nigeria in the East Rand, I was struck by how, if they learned to play like FC Barcelona’s method, they would do much better. Passing the ball around, playing for each other, and when the ball is lost, like a brakkie, two, three players will surround a much bigger player and steal the ball from him. This team, and their method, has allowed the likes of Xavi , Messi, Iniesta -“all shorties”- to making the short list for being the world’s best players. Also, if Amato looks closely, as Guardiola explained in a training course of Spanish FA coaches, there is method in their madness. They pass, pass, seemingly without risk and before you know it, other players are in place… and it’s a goal! On Sunday night, 20 February, Guardiola marked his 100th game in charge. The score sheet? In the 100 games in charge of FC Barcelona he has broken most records, in particular after last night’s victory over Athletic Bilbao, they have scored a massive 276 goals conceding only 71 goals against -less than one a game. Can such a team be boring?
Ps . can you please use the Catalan ç?
Hassen Lorgat is a social activist, and lived in Barcelona for two years upto 2009. He is a member of the official supporters club of FC Barcelona in South Africa, Mzansi Penya Barcelonista, on Facebook and blogosphere


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