The appeal of journalist Cecil Motsepe’s criminal conviction on a charge of defamation was heard in the Pretoria High Court on the 6th October 2014. This matter had been watched very closely by civil society organisations and free speech forums after causing great cause for concern on the implications on freedom of expression. This saw the coming together of a coalition of 15 like-minded local civil society and international human rights organisations as amicus in the matter.
The defamation of another person in its true sense if proven is a true violation of one’s dignity. But such a violation to suffice must be a grave one, if to overshadow the importance of the constitutional right to expression. The reality in the South African context and other jurisdictions is defamation laws are used by many in a position to do so as a deterrent to freedom of expression generally and more so journalistic expression.
Excerpt from the latest edition of Khulum’uZwakale, the Freedom of Expression Network Newsletter…
For the past few months, there have been concerns from various Freedom of Expression Network members on issues affecting their communities; all of which are linked in some way to the exercise of freedom of expression. This edition of Khulum-uZwakale covers a range of issues including housing, evictions, corruption and how these have impacted communities in the Free State and Gauteng. The featured articles highlight the need for more openness and engagement. However, the contributions in this edition detail a vastly different reality noting that engagement can only be achieved successfully if communities have access to information on their local situations and also capacity to express themselves fully . This issue also includes updates on local and regional news, from the EFF in Parliament and repression of the media in Swaziland and Botswana to upcoming FXN events. As always, your views, comments and responses are welcome and would be greatly appreciated.
To download a copy, click Khulum’uZwakale_July-September_2014_01102014-Web Version