Why Equality Courts are not working as they should

FXI’s Mduduzi Mtshweni (legal assistant) and Nomagugu Nyathi (research officer) attended a workshop at the Legal Resources Centre on how to assist victims of discrimination prepare and present a claim in the South African Equality Courts.

These are the lessons they learned from the workshop

  • Accessing Equality Courts is very difficult for most people because they do not know about them.
  • As a result, they are underutilised.
  • Properly utilised, they will help in achieving equality.
  • Approaching the courts is much simpler compared to regular courts.
  • Because of this, and the way the function, they are a unique legal instrument that should be capitalised on.
  • Lawyers and other professionals should be encouraged to approach and use Equality Courts so as to build precedence in the courts.
  • Magistrates tend to shop for forums – by deciding in which forum the matter is to be heard e.g. magistrates courts, Equality Courts or other specialized courts; magistrates have a tendency of not wanting to deal with constitutional issues or issues which do not have a clear precedent – and side step attending to Equality Court matters thus reducing their inefficiency.
  • A handbook was distributed to show the processes of approaching the court and how the court functions. The handbook is quite comprehensive.

Regional journalists and activists discuss threats to media freedom

COSib-lU8AA6rYuThe Freedom of Expression Institute, in collaboration with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), Right 2 Know Campaign and the Wits Journalism School on Monday, 7 September held a public discussion on threats to media freedom in southern Africa. Of particular concern was the use of criminal defamation and other similar mechanisms to silence journalists.

The panelists at the discussion were journalists who have been targeted by powerful interests – most often with the involvement of their governments – and media freedom activists. The journalists were Rafael Marques de Morais from Angola, Tomas Vieira Mario from Mozambique, and Tom Nkosi from South Africa. SALC’s Caroline James, a freedom of expression lawyer, and Justin Pearce, a research fellow at the University of Cambridge and an expert on Angolan and Mozambican politics were the other panelists. Continue reading

Discussion on threats to media freedom in southern Africa: The use of criminal defamation and other mechanisms to silence journalists

Invitation to Defamation Seminar

 

Right 2 Know (R2K), the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), and the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), in collaboration with the Wits Journalism School, present a discussion on:

“Threats to media freedom in southern Africa: The use of criminal defamation and other mechanisms to silence journalists.”

7 September 2015, 10h30 – 12h30, Wits Journalism School Seminar Room.

The seminar will provide perspective on the experience of journalists and activists operating in repressive media environments in Lusophone Africa, and debate the parallels for other southern African countries, including South Africa.

PROGRAMME

Caroline James – freedom of expression lawyer at SALC

Justin Pearce – research fellow at the University of Cambridge

Rafael Marques de Morais – journalist and human rights activist from Angola

Tomás Vieira Mário – lawyer, journalist and social activist from Mozambique

Tom Nkosi – journalist and media activist from South Africa

Chair: Micah Reddy – media freedom and diversity organiser at R2K

Closing remarks: Sheniece Linderboom – head of the FXI Law Clinic

Refreshments will be served.

RSVP: Pamela Timburwa at pamelat@salc.org.za

Directions: The Wits Journalism School Seminar Room is on the Twelfth floor of University Corner, corner Jorissen and Bertha Streets, Johannesburg. Please enter through the Wits Art Museum (WAM) and take the elevator to the Twelfth floor.

FXI supports Ceartas, Irish Lawyers for Human Rights in complaint to International Association for Prosecutors

fxi logo1The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) adds its voice in support of Ceartas, Irish Lawyers for Human Rights, The FXI is concerned with the findings of a report published by Ceartas highlighting the systemic failure by authorities in Bahrain to protect the right to free expression.  The report details circumstances where Attorney General Ali bin Fadhel Al-Buainain prosecuted individuals for activities protected by the freedom expression and assembly, failed to adhere to fair procedures and due process standards and also details of cases where his Office  failed to investigate and prosecute on matters of torture. Continue reading