The SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) will not appeal against the Equality Court’s ruling that statements by EFF leader Julius Malema do not amount to hate speech.
Sanef brought the case after complaints by a number of senior journalists that statements by Malema, his colleagues and followers against them amounted to hate speech.
However, Judge Daisy Molefe rejected the application last month at a hearing of the Equality Court in the Pretoria High Court.
She said the media is not protected by the Equality Promotion Act and the Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.
Molefe also found that offensive or contentious views could not necessarily be classified as hate speech.
Sanef has since decided to “investigate other forms of repression against the harassment of journalists”.
The decision was made Wednesday “after careful consideration and legal advice”.
Sanef says he finds some aspects of the ruling problematic, but is pleased the court has recognized the importance of protecting journalists.
“Judge Molefe said it was the duty of all organs of state, including the judiciary, to not only heed, but also to take positive steps to protect the safety and independence of journalists.”
Sanef executive director Kate Skinner says they accept with wisdom that the Equality Court was not the appropriate forum to voice their concerns.
The editorial board maintains that the harassment and harassment of journalists, in person or on social media, is illegal. “We encourage journalists who are threatened or abused and thereby prevented from doing their job effectively, to come forward.”
Sanef says his change of strategy in this regard does not mean that journalists are being hunted.
“We want to use all applicable remedies available under the law, including interdict and criminal proceedings,” Skinner says.
“We will also continue discussions with political parties in an effort to agree on a code of conduct between journalists and politicians in a constitutional democracy,” says Sanef.
This comes to show, the EFF and it’s members can get away with anything in South Africa. There is a few cases remaining against the EFF, time will tell if South African law can be taken serious.
This is an opinion article written by facts.