Call for Responses to the Draft Hate Speech Bill
15 Dec 2016
The South African Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has published the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill for comments before 31 January 2016 (the deadline was extended from 1 December 2016). Details on how to submit comments can be read here. PEN South Africa will be making a submission on the draft Bill, which we will be publishing in the coming months.
PEN SA member Zapiro has drawn a cartoon on the Bill calling on people to submit comments on it. It was originally published on his website, Zapiro:
PEN SA Vice-President Raymond Louw has shared his concern about the draft Bill in an article for Business Day: “The bill proposes sweeping inroads on freedom of expression and freedom of the media and, if passed, will be seen as the ANC sneaking in a highly repressive law, which will take on the mantle of the criminal defamation law.”
PEN SA member Jacques Rousseau recently wrote an article titled “Hate Speech and Legal Overreach in South Africa“. Other articles on the Bill include Carl Collison’s “Hate Speech is not a Hate Crime” for the Mail & Guardian and Greg Nicolson’s analysis of the Bill for The Daily Maverick.
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, gave a speech last month titled “The question of hate speech” at the 30th anniversary of the Rafto Forum: “I want to argue that it is only by allowing free speech – that is allowing all forms of speech, including those espousing hateful views – that we can ultimately protect minority and oppressed groups. That the answer to hateful speech is not more bans or ever widening laws or definitions of hate, but finding mechanisms that better allow the speech of all groups to flow.”
Hate speech and freedom of expression is a complex, nuanced issue and we invite you to read the above pieces and send us your thoughts on the matter. We also encourage you to read the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill and submit your comments on it before 31 January 2016.