Sunette Bridges reaches agreement in Equality Court

2015-04-01 11:25
Sunette Bridges (Facebook)

Sunette Bridges (Facebook)

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Cape Town - Afrikaans singer Sunette Bridges will monitor and remove racist comments posted on her Facebook pages as part of an agreement reached in the Equality Court in Cape Town this week.

The agreement with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) comes after it accused Bridges of hosting racial commentary on the social network, arguing that it amounted to hate speech in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2000.

It felt that her personal page and the Sunette Bridges News Page were hostile and intimidating environments in which racism and hatred were allowed to flourish.

Bridges is the daughter of the late Afrikaans singer Bles Bridges.

Third party comments

In January, her lawyer Paul Kruger told the Equality Court, sitting in the Western Cape High Court, that a person could not be held liable for third party comments on the internet.

He added that his client regularly deleted content but that it was impossible to be aware of everything that was being posted.

The matter was initially set to have been heard this month.

On Tuesday, the Equality Court confirmed and declared that the controversial comments posted by other users amounted to hate speech and harassment in terms of the act.

The settlement, which was made an order, also acknowledged that Bridges had taken steps in the past to address and remove racist comments from her pages.

Monitoring

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr attorneys, who represented the SAHRC, said Bridges would have to regularly monitor her Facebook pages and remove content that amounted to hate speech, harassment, or incitement of violence.

She would also have to warn users of the court order, block those who posted offending comments, and put up English and Afrikaans posts distancing herself from hate speech and harassment.

Bridges posted information to this effect on her page on Tuesday, adding that she had never incited violence or encouraged illegal conduct.

She posted in Afrikaans that she would continue to exercise her constitutional right to freedom of speech and work to expose crimes that “trampled” on the rights of the white minority.

"I will never stop fighting for the survival of my people, my language, my culture, my heritage and my faith. It is my right, which is not only defined in our Constitution but is also internationally recognised," Bridges said.

Read more on:    sunette bridges  |  hate speech  |  racism  |  media

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