Don't censor free speech, ConCourt told

2012-03-13 13:24

Johannesburg - Compelling people to obtain approval before they could tweet, Facebook or blog on anything relating to sexual conduct would silence all online expression on the topic, the Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday.

If amendments to Section 16 of the Film and Publications Act stayed in place, this would mean that even cartoons such as Zapiro's series on the "rape" of lady justice, or an arbitrary blogger's observations on a report that a politician was caught with a prostitute, would have to be pre-classified.

This was argument submitted by an organisation called Section 16, who are friends of the court in an application to have Section 16(1), Section 16(2) and Section 24(2) of the Film and Publications Act confirmed invalid.

These require that all publications, excluding newspapers, must pre-classify any material that contains sexual conduct.

The act came into force in March 2010.

The applicants - Print Media SA and the SA National Editors Forum - believe large numbers of publications will have to be submitted to the Film and Publications Board in matters of substantial public interest.

It will have severe negative consequences for the publication in terms of deadlines, and for the public.

The parties are also questioning why newspapers were given an exemption, because they fall under the self-regulatory system of an ombudsman and a Press Code, but not magazines.

Describing possible scenarios of online publication, Section 16 lawyer Shannon Steyn said the objective of protecting children was not in question, but a debate on a topic relating to sexual conduct in a chatroom or on Twitter would have to be pre-classified comment by comment, and would lead to self-censorship.

She submitted that this was not in line with South Africa's fundamental right of freedom of expression.

She likened the amendments to "burning down the house to roast the pig".

The case continues.

  • rudilemmer - 2012-03-13 13:29


      Penny - 2012-03-13 13:56

      Why are the ANC acting like the old (CENSOR EVERYTING) days of apartheid??? We had that old draconian system once before. WE DON'T WANT IT AGAIN !!! I thought we had democracy and freedom now in South Africa ??? What are the ANC doing ???

      Jeffrey - 2012-03-13 14:02

      "I thought we had democracy and freedom now in South Africa ???" Did you? How odd.

      daryltt - 2012-03-13 14:45

      Careful, if you put "WANT" and "IT" together you get the word "TIT". Did you get approval?

      Spyker - 2012-03-13 15:29

      North Korea here we come.., oops.., am I allowed to 'publish' that last word..?

      Peter-Peter - 2012-03-13 15:40

      Penny, its probably because it is dawning on them that the country worked better under certain laws and rules around in that time... I mean, working infrastructure, school system...pretty much everything worked better. But the problem lays in the fact that they seem to be going about it the wrong ways (probably due to people being in positions that they dont have the IQ to do properly.

      Raymond - 2012-03-13 19:24

      @Penny ~ they're too busy lining their pockets to notice.

  • Gareth - 2012-03-13 13:31

    I guess speaking the truth even in the form of jest is just too much for the "little boxes" to handle

      Mark - 2012-03-13 14:36

      You said 'box' without approval.

  • kleurlingaksie - 2012-03-13 13:37

    So begin dit,ons word stelselmatig gedwing om na die anc/swart regering se riel te daans en as ons,ons oe uitvee dan is dit te laat,...

      uwe.klopfer - 2012-03-13 14:00

      dis al lank al te laat

      lindz.kok - 2012-03-13 14:07

      ek staan 100% saam met daardie stelling.

  • bluzulu - 2012-03-13 13:42

    Is this the same court that told us to forget certain sections of our history because it upsets a minority. The Americans fought a civil war and the rebel flag (which is a precursor to the evil of slavery) is not banned. This is a KANGAROO COURT - 2012-03-13 13:49

      The CONCOURT? What did they tell us to forget? Seriously

      Penny - 2012-03-13 13:58

      Bluwhat? What on earth are you talking about ??? I said this above ------------ Why are the ANC acting like the old (CENSOR EVERYTING) days of apartheid??? We had that old draconian system once before. WE DON'T WANT IT AGAIN !!! I thought we had democracy and freedom now in South Africa ??? What are the ANC doing ???

      dirk.smit1 - 2012-03-13 14:00

      @bluzulu - Yes, David has a good question, what exactly did the Concourt ask to forget about the history?

      Ian - 2012-03-13 14:09

      Yes, I am also not sure what you are on about. Add what does the American civil war have to do with this? You do know that it is not an American court?

      lindz.kok - 2012-03-13 14:12

      bludyzulu i think you have it wrong, the anc are the ones that twisted history to suit theyre own political agendas, there is a recent book that was published that rectified these perversions intetuted by the anc goverment concerning our history. this media censoring is just another facist means of controle.

      bluzulu - 2012-03-13 14:19

      Yea have short memories, Let me reiterate the facts... This court banned the songs sung by the RSA freedom fighters....has this been Conveniently forgotten?

      bluzulu - 2012-03-13 14:22

      I utilized the American rebel flag as an example....I must be ahead of you characters,,,, try to keep pace

      Penny - 2012-03-13 14:28

      @ Blu - no the concourt banned hate speech which they must do because it's unconstitutional. You still with us?

      lindz.kok - 2012-03-13 14:36

      okey let me recap for you zuluboy, these so called freedom songs has no place in the so called "rainbow nation" let me explain to you how i came to that conclusion and how the court came to that... with race related crimes sworing in south africa and with such a high murder rate on farms, the singing of "kill the boer kill the farmer" does not realy help or seem logical. also the fact that 48 eu members of 19 countries signed off againnst what is now being called "boer genocide". your logic seems to be a bit backwards my man. there are dozen more freedom songs that are still alowed. plus look at the name changes, gnrl. Jan Smuts who opossed the apartheid regime and faught for black rights name was changed to that of someone guilty of terror acts. wake up my man.

      Ian - 2012-03-13 14:36

      @ bluzulu - using the American flag as an examples woudl not work. Firstly, the American civil war had nothing to do with destorting history. It was two believes that clashed. The black people at the time were caught in the middle. Secondly, using America as an example woudl still not work as there the minority (black people) were given afirmatve action to be included in the economy. In SA the majotity were given AA, BEE and now BBEEE and still are unable to gain power over the minority. I now totally forgot what we were arguiong about - having goen back and read again, I realised that you are making these poinst because you are in support of this act or trying to make your opinion of the wrongs of the past known?????? Eitherway, there is an argument for both sides regarding the destorting of history. However, I think you will find this in every country in the world where there are different opinions. Do you really believe that, for instance Russia, is educating the kids in school about their true history. Likewise, did Dingaan really stab Shaka in teh back or was it an old white mans tale for progaganda purposes. Nobody will ever know - the list goes on and on and on and on and on. So why don't you patch up that chip on your shoulder or better yet eat it and accept that this 'ACT' will even make it elligal for your biyfriend or girlfriend to send you a sexy message on any social website.

      bluzulu - 2012-03-13 14:37

      History is to be learnt from not made illegal under the guise of hate speech and swept under the vale of secrecy.

      Ian - 2012-03-13 14:37

      Shoe!!! I hope I stuck to teeh point there - perhaps not

      Christian J Denyschen - 2012-03-13 14:44

      @bluzulu tell me does the confederate flag amount 2 hate speech or incite violence on a specific race? so how can you compare the 2. you(well not you Mr mandela and the rest of the freedom fighters) fought their war witch is now over so why do you still feel the need 2 sing that stupid song of yours. i know plenty racist songs with your favorite k word in it but do i go around singing it, NO i've moved passed apartheid! FYI you weren't told 2 forget idiot just 2 stop your hate speech singing of the song.

      Omrisho - 2012-03-13 14:44

      blu... an Indian woman living in NZ - oh the irony

      bluzulu - 2012-03-13 14:47

      @ Ian,BEE is utilized to address the diferences in socio-economic standards. We cannot take 10 generations to do this hence BEE is a tool to address the shortfall in a much shorter timeframe. Till such time, all south africans have a home to be proud of, the state of social affairs in this country will remain the same

      Ian - 2012-03-13 14:49

      "History is to be learnt from not made illegal under the guise of hate speech and swept under the vale of secrecy." Not sure if you are trying to make my point or your point.

      bluzulu - 2012-03-13 14:51

      @ LinzKoK....One man's Freedom fighter is another's terrorist. If the McBrides of the world did not fight for our freedom....This sort of open discussion would be outlawed today and democracy would be a pipe dream. We lived in a state worse than communism before 1994 less you forget. - 2012-03-13 15:07

      Bluzulu - I don't forget much. You have your facts wrong. a) The ConCourt did not ban anything. b) The MPs voted in the hate speech law. And yes there have been a few guilty verdicts for singing such songs in the Equality Court. c) Malema was found guilty in the Equality Court. d) He and the ANC applied to the ConCourt for leave to appeal DIRECTLY to the Concourt e) The Concourt refused this because they were trying to skip steps. They have the right of appeal to the Supreme Court FIRST f) If they lose their appeal to the Supreme Court then they can appeal to the Concourt. So the Concourt has not even ruled on the issue. All they have said is that they cannot hear the case until the lower courts have heard them 1st. That will happen in any country. You follow the legal process As for the Hate Speech ;law - I am also not sure that such songs should be outlawed. THe law exists now. However to criticise the ConCourt for any part in this is plain ignorant. The ConCourt may even rule in favour of the ANC and Malema. We await your apology

      bluzulu - 2012-03-13 15:20

      Ain't No Apologisies here. I saw the article regarding the Concourt's decision and my comprehension differs from yours. Here's a Democracy at work.

      pray4wind - 2012-03-13 15:21

      Bluzulu_Hou eerder jou bek stil, Ou! The reason you cant sing "kill the boer" anymore, is because it is an incitement to violence against us whites! We have enough of your racist-kind in SA to last longer than slavery ever did... because you are intent on teaching the young to hate us, but yet believe that we are the everflowing spring of wealth from which they must be fed???

      bluzulu - 2012-03-13 15:22

      @Omesh....Put your face up quack

      Ian - 2012-03-13 15:23

      @ bluzulu - OI get your point but using the BcBrides as an example your argument just lost all credibility. It's a family of corrupt thieves - I know the family. I also think that you are totallt losing the plot here. The articale above is about cencorship and not about the past. You previously mentioned that; History is to be learnt from not made illegal under the guise of hate speech and swept under the vale of secrecy" - what they are trying to do with all these new laws and acts is to make sure a certain history is forgotten. Yes we should learn from history but you should get that into the thick heads of your beloved ANC. One cannot correct the wrongs of the past by falling into the same hole as the=ose before them. Also, you cannot enrich the majrity by taking away from the minority. YOu will sstill end up with poor people and be back in teh dame boat as the previous govt until those who are then being oppressed leads a revolution to determien your fall from grace. Now it is best you shut down your pc before your hubby comes homes and sees that you are on dating sites

      Ian - 2012-03-13 15:25

      Please forgive spelling head to fast for fingers

      Ian - 2012-03-13 15:32

      @ BluZulu - You said - "Till such time, all south africans have a home to be proud of, the state of social affairs in this country will remain the same" Dream on! On of the wealthiest contyrie sin teh world have not vene achieved this and no country in the world will ever achieve this. So keep on dreaming. The fact is teh world needs balance - even God knows that. Therefore, some will suffer so the test can live.

      Ian - 2012-03-13 15:33

      Correction: some will suffer so the rest can live

      Omrisho - 2012-03-13 15:39

      couldn't be bothered sista :) - 2012-03-13 15:47

      @bluzulu - You obviously weren't concentrating because all the articles I read said the same thing. I quote from the ruling "It is not in the interests of justice for this court to hear the application at this stage, because leave to appeal to the Supreme court of Appeal has been granted." So again they a) Did not ban it b) They didn't even rule against the song c) They just refused to hear it until the Supreme Court had done so Would you like links? Or just admit you have it wrong?

      Raymond - 2012-03-13 19:27

      I saw a comment on some other news article about some people being too stupid to realise that they are stupid. I think this cap is yours.

  • lovenergy - 2012-03-13 14:04

    One step closer to communism

  • Adrian - 2012-03-13 14:05

    If the act only came into force in 2010, then why two years down the line are we only being told about it now? I don't understand but people are still blogging, amd tweeting about sexual conduct. Doesn't make sense to me.

      lovenergy - 2012-03-13 14:17

      It goes to show how little we truly know about how this country is run. Civil servants my ass. We are only allowed to know once it is too late to do anything about it

  • Marion - 2012-03-13 14:31

    I think this is because so many people say f**k Malema and they are scared someone will actually follow through with it.

      Penny - 2012-03-13 14:35

      Sis Marion, I just got an image of that

  • charmaine.mcdonald2 - 2012-03-13 14:34

    Children today, know more about sex and using the language of vulgarity, than we adults did in our days as youth. So, men are using the language of vulgarity as was in the past, so it is in the present, censor anything that the government pleases, it will still remain the same. Apartheid is not over, it is very much alive and well, world wide. It is the individual's choice. When Jesus Christ comes again, soon I pray, then things will change.

  • wesleywt - 2012-03-13 14:43

    You can't be serious. Does the ANC think we are Zimbabwe????

      Ian - 2012-03-13 14:59

      Your comment would suggest that the ANC thinks - They don't have the capabilities to think unless of course it entails them lining their pockets

  • Piet - 2012-03-13 14:48

    Eish bloddy communists!!!!

  • Blignault - 2012-03-13 14:50

    What nonsense, we should all move to Namibia!! No cr_p (a) there.

  • IrvinIco - 2012-03-13 15:59

    The ANC`s failure to bring about meaning changes in the lives of people is compensated for by the enactment of draconian laws like the secrecy bill , censorship of expression and constitutional review. This in turn worsens the situation.

  • Vince.York - 2012-03-13 19:02

    Soon these ANC cadres will have legislated that everyone's mother, brother, sister, father or related associates must even feedback on the number of bristles your toothbrush has AND whether any are by chance "lewdly entwined" thereby being an afront to the teeth not to mention the simplistic zuma tyranny.

  • Gerhard Lemmer Marais - 2012-03-13 20:49

    Ya fkc it! Stoopid fkc law

  • joe.diedericks - 2012-03-13 23:34

    I would love to know how they are going to monitor this. Are we going to receive a DM via Twitter to contact them or will they poke us on Facebook to draw attention?

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