Writer fired after Satanism row

Johannesburg - Afrikaans newspaper Rapport has scrapped writer Deon Maas's column after his piece on Satanism prejudiced the paper's commercial interests, its editor said on Thursday.

Following the appearance of the opinion piece on November 4, readers started an SMS campaign calling for a boycott of sales on Sunday, said Tim du Plessis in a statement.

"The campaign then targeted Rapport's distributors and agents. It prejudiced Rapport's commercial interests."

Scores of the newspaper's regular readers reacted and the newspaper took their points of view into account.

"Rapport is committed to media freedom, the free expression of opinions and robust debate. The orchestrated boycott campaign however altered the nature of the question from one of freedom of expression to one of commercial interests," said Du Plessis.

In his article Maas wrote that Satanism was "just a different philosophy".

"Satan does not necessarily represent evil, it is just a different philosophy. You still pray, but only to another god.

"If Muslims think they are having a hard time, they should look at Satanism. They really have a bad deal."

He said the Constitution gave people the freedom to practice the religion of their choice.

Du Plessis said the newspaper would explain its action in more detail on Sunday.

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