Freedom Day: Equality and Dignity are Foundational elements in Freedom of Expression

27 April 2016

Press Statement: For Immediate Release

 

It is twenty- two years after South Africa’s first democratic elections and South Africans have more

civil and political rights today more than ever before. However, till this day, South Africa has not

fully realised the ideals of equality, human dignity and freedom. And despite recently commemorating

the 20th anniversary of our Constitution, South Africa is still struggling to define critical positions on

equality and dignity which are foundational elements in freedom of expression.

 

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD prepares to introduce the Hate

Crimes Bill, a Bill which seeking to address specific forms of aggravated crimes including hate

speech. We caution that the department must guard against the expansion of parameters in ‘prohibited

speech’ that may infringe upon free expression. Freedom of expression is indispensable to the

functioning of a democracy and should not be restricted. The DOJ&CD should seek to encourage the

public to use the existing remedies to hate speech instead of introducing new penalties. It must

recognise the link between incitement of violence and hate crimes but treat all individuals as capable

of resisting any form of advocacy for racism and other kinds of prejudices.

 

The Freedom of Expression Institute celebrates Freedom Day with the rest of South Africa, hoping

that the public continue to express themselves and participate in shaping the country’s civil and

political future.

 

For more information:

Sheniece Linderboom

Mobile: +27 (0)74 783 2743

Zororo Mavindidze

Mobile: +27 (0)73 554 8310

@FXISouthAfrica