South Africa
South African journalists fear that in the
climate of ruling party
hostility towards the
press the authorities
could be tempted to
try to curb the critical
press with recourse
to similar abuse of the
criminal defamation
There are also fears that the Bill will stifle artistic expression, media analysis
and critique of public figures, cartoons
and other forms of political satire. It also
opens opportunities to equate certain
forms of expression to offences in terms
of so-called “insult laws”, an offshoot of
criminal defamation laws.
“By means of any communication whatsoever…”
A key component of hate speech as defined in the Bill is an expression by any
per-son who intentionally “by means
of any communication whatsoever ….
communi-cates in a manner that advocates hatred towards any other person or
group of per-sons or is threatening, abusive or insulting towards any other person or group of persons…. and which
demonstrates a clear intention …. to incite others to harm any person or group

of persons whether or not such person
or group of persons is harmed, or stir up
violence against, or bring into contempt
or ridicule, any person or group of persons.”
The grounds on which “advocates”
is based, relate to 17 human characteristics, including race, gender, sex,
which includes intersex, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation,
religion, belief, culture, language, birth,
disability, HIV status, na-tionality, gender identity, albinism or occupation
or trade. The concern here is that the
characteristics are defined extremely
broadly and encompass practically any
conduct and extend far beyond the four
characteristics stated in the Constitution.
In addition to oral, written, illustrative,
electronic and data communication,
it extends “without any limitation” to
“any gesture”, “display”, “expression”,
“visual or other de-scriptive matter” and
“representation or reference”.
These categories of hate speech extend
to virtually any characteristic or activity
of people. One of the dangers foreseen
is the temptation it holds out for the authorities, including police officers and
prosecutors, to base charges on almost
any human emotion as expressed by facial or bodily expression or innuendo.
Among the characteristics is the new
category called “intersex”, defined as a
congenital sexual differentiation which
is atypical to whatever degree – whatever that may mean.

So This is Democracy? 2016


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