Freedom of expression is not absolute

THE recent wave of racism stems mainly from socialisation and a lack of understanding as to how freedom of expression is governed as per the South African Constitution.

Recently, our media reported incidents of individuals expressing questionable social-media comments that can be classified as crimen injuria or have bordered on, and in some cases exceeded, the boundaries of hate speech.

Individuals who use racist or derogatory language that seriously impairs the dignity of another, or make insulting comments about individuals or communities, need to realise they can or will face prosecution if the boundary is crossed.

Due to the belief that the Constitution allows complete freedom of expression, some individuals make very reckless comments on social media and other platforms.

In terms of the Constitution, comments or statements that infringe on the rights of others are not immune from prosecution.

The Constitution does not promote an absolute right to freedom of expression or speech.

Constitutional rights are limited and not absolute. There is a line between free speech and hate speech.

We need to get rid of the notion that we have a complete right to freedom of speech. That’s not quite correct and people need to be educated about this fact.

A national anti-racism programme is needed in order to promote co-existence, equality, human rights and access to a life of dignity.

MOHAMED SAEED

Via email

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 6225 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
45% - 5697 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 665 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.13
+0.0%
Rand - Pound
19.86
+0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.07
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.92
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.2%
Gold
1,826.85
+0.6%
Silver
27.09
+0.4%
Palladium
2,863.32
+0.1%
Platinum
1,210.07
-0.3%
Brent Crude
69.32
+1.1%
Top 40
60,211
-2.1%
All Share
66,169
-1.9%
Resource 10
69,474
-3.1%
Industrial 25
82,513
-1.5%
Financial 15
12,499
-1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo