The Freedom of Expression Institute is deeply concerned with the decision by the organisers of the Johannesburg Art Fair to withdraw a work by Ayanda Mabulu dealing with the Marikana tragedy and calls on them to reconsider this censorious action. It is a case of business interests interfering with artistic expression in a way that is deeply undermining of the work and free expression in general. If it is true, as reported, that the work was withdrawn out of sensitivity to sponsors and politicians, then the Fair organisers are doing the work of censors and demeaning what is an important event in Joburg’s art calendar. Continue reading


The right to access to information with us, for another day

12 September 2013

The right to access State information is still assured in South Africa as the Presidency has referred the Protection of State Information Bill to the National Assembly. The Freedom of Expression Institute welcomes this development with muted celebration. The President highlighted his particular discontent with Sections 42 (Failure to report possession of classified information) and Section 45 (Improper classification) as lacking meaning and coherence. Continue reading

MEDIA FREEDOM STILL NOT GURANTEED:Freedom of expression under attack at the community level

Media freedom in South Africa is under increasing pressure to yield this Constitutional right to special interests of those few who wield power. The Freedom of Expression Institute is shocked and appalled by the recent flagrant arson attack on Karabo FM, a community radio station in Sasolburg. This tragic incident is yet another reminder that, almost 20 years into democracy, the right to freedom of expression and specifically media freedom still needs to be protected and advanced. Continue reading

The discourse on Hate Speech continues

Debate on the definition of hate speech, its limits and recourse thereof have been a part of the discourse on freedom of expression in South Africa since the attainment of freedom.  The Freedom of Expression Institute maintains that there is a thin line between freedom of expression and hate speech. However at this stage in our democracy that line is the limitation (section 16(2)) of the Constitution together with section 10 of the Equality Act.

The recent incident where Louise Mabille wrote on her blog that the rape of black babies was a cultural phenomenon among black South Africans has raised questions as to whether this statement constitutes hate speech. The FXI is of the view that this is definitely an issue that needs to be tackled not only on a case by case basis but in legislation that governs such matters. Continue reading