Nzimande insult law comments 'startling'

2012-11-20 14:07
Blade Nzimande (Picture: Beeld)

Blade Nzimande (Picture: Beeld)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The comments by SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande relating to an insult law protecting President Jacob Zuma are "startling", the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said on Tuesday.

"Nzimande has ignored the strong opposition by journalists, lawyers and freedom of expression activists to such a law because of the censorship it promotes and the dangers it holds out for journalists," the forum said in a statement.

"In many countries in Africa journalists are frequently jailed under this law after having criticised the head of state or other high ranking politicians or officials."

Sanef said the law was being used as a pretext to suppress opposition voices in the media and civil society. Last week on Monday, Nzimande backed a call made by his party in KwaZulu-Natal for a law to protect Zuma against insults, which he said were attacks that were "unfair, and lacking in fact and truth".


Sanef said Nzimande had ignored the Declaration of Table Mountain, which was adopted on 3 June 2007.

Through this declaration, the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors' Forum called for the scrapping of insult and criminal defamation laws throughout Africa.

Publishers believed Africa needed a strong, free and independent press to act as a watchdog over public institutions. "Even worse he [Nzimande] has ignored the 12 October launching of a continent-wide campaign against insult law and the law of criminal defamation by the African Union's Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in Africa..." it said.

"The law is widely used in Africa and has resulted in many journalists spending lengthy periods in jail and the closure of media outlets."

Sanef was satisfied that structures of the African National Congress had not backed Nzimande's call.

"We are confident that the party will be guided by a commitment to constitutional principles and will thus not entertain Nzimande's call."

The Congress of SA Trade Unions said the law would not be fair.

"Every individual has the right to dignity and to be treated with respect, and that must be safe-guarded... but you cannot have a law which only applies to one person and not others," Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said last week.

Read more on:    sacp  |  sanef  |  jacob zuma  |  blade nzimande  |  media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.