Former HuffPost SA editor to appeal ombud ruling

2017-07-31 06:50
Verashni Pillay (Twitter)

Verashni Pillay (Twitter)

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Cape Town – Former HuffPost SA editor Verashni Pillay will on Monday appeal a Press Ombudsman ruling that a blog published on the website constituted hate speech.

Pillay will present her argument to the Press Appeals Panel of South Africa, chaired by Judge Bernard Ngoepe.

Civil body AfriForum has been listed as a respondent. The group was one of the original complainants to the ombudsman following the publication of the blog.

Pillay resigned as editor of HuffPost SA following the ombudsman's findings on April 22 that a blog titled "Could it be time to deny white men the franchise?" was "malicious" and "discriminatory".

Press Ombudsman Johan Retief said the publication of the blog had violated numerous sections of the Press Code, and had "contributed to the erosion of public trust in the media".

Pillay is appealing the ombud's ruling that its publication and a follow-up editorial titled "This blog on white men is going viral. Here’s our response" breached several clauses in the 2016 Code of Ethics and Conduct for SA Print and Online Media.

The hearing is scheduled from 11:00 to 15:00.

The panel will determine, among other things, whether the blog and the editorial contained "discriminatory or denigratory references to people’s race and gender", or "advocated hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm".

"The South African National Editors' Forum and Media Monitoring Africa will appear as amicus curiae (friends of the court) to appeal specifically the hate speech part of the ruling". 

- HuffPost SA is published by Media24

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