S.Africa: EVIL: Massively Flawed Hate Speech Bill becomes law – Hate Speech Bill ripe for abuse – AfriForum


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10 May 2024

The South African government has pushed through a deeply flawed hate speech bill that opens the door for serious abuses. The civil rights organisation AfriForum has been vocal about the concerning flaws of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. AfriForum has submitted multiple written and oral submissions over the years warning about how this bill enables gross violations by the government of citizens’ right to freedom of expression.

The constitutional standard for hate speech has two qualifiers. Hate speech encompasses speech that advocates hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and which contains incitement to cause harm. According to the bill, however, the mere propagation of hatred is sufficient for speech to be regarded as hate speech. This bill further waters down the constitutional right to freedom of expression through its widening of the definition of “harm” to include emotional and social harm.

It is especially important to be weary of any bill which seeks to limit freedom of expression within the worsening context of double standards in South Africa regarding hate speech when it comes to court verdicts, government application of legislation and media condemnation. This bill only creates further potential for these harmful double standards to be applied with greater prejudice and severity.

The fact that John Jeffery, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, directed hateful, stereotyping comments at Afrikaners during a portfolio committee meeting on this exact Bill, which claims to want to protect groups from that type of speech, demonstrates exactly why AfriForum does not support granting the government more power to police speech in accordance with its clear double standards.

According to Ernst van Zyl, Head of Public Relations at AfriForum, genuine hate speech is increasingly being condoned or even encouraged against groups like racial minorities, Afrikaners, or farmers. At the same time, speech which does not qualify as hate speech by constitutional standards is increasingly treated as hate speech when it targets certain privileged groups or when it is speech the government does not like.

“AfriForum is committed to the principle of freedom of expression and is also in favour of legislation regarding genuine hate speech in the South African context. We cannot however support the further expansion of hate speech legislation within a disturbing context of blatant double standards where symbols which contain no call to violence are declared hate speech, while open calls to violence like the Kill the Boer chant are condoned, brushed off and allowed,” Van Zyl concludes.

AfriForum will closely monitor the implementation of this bill.

Issued by Ernst van Zyl, Head: Public Relations, AfriForum, 10 May 2024

Source: https://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/hate-speech-bill-ripe-for-abuse–afriforum?utm_source=Politicsweb+Daily+Headlines&utm_campaign=4fe89c229e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2024_05_12_02_35&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_-4fe89c229e-%5BLIST_EMAIL_ID%5D

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