Firstly I want to say that my thread is not only for South Africans and all opinions are welcome, although I'm of course especially interested in the
stance and experiences of my fellow South Africans across the racial and political spectrum.
Then I want to say that I don't want to endorse racism, incitement or hate speech from any side, and I'll try not to repeat the specifics of each case
(and there have been many since election fervor began since January 2016), although they are easy to Google, and I know ATS is already well and fairly
moderated. Some of the outcomes are also still pending, as well as the exact details of what making "hate speech" illegal will actually include.
The problem concerns mainly commentary on Facebook and Twitter, but some South Africans are not totally anonymous on ATS, and it could well affect
As long as the commentary is made from
South Africa it could land people in serious complications - and I'm talking front-page media news,
death threats, people having to go into hiding, and an end to career and study prospects. Never even mind possible legal complications and
Not that I thought it was necessary to be totally anonymous.
This time last year I felt more free to comment from SA, than for example from Germany.
This is no longer the case.
It has gotten to a point where I'm avoiding some of my favorite sites and topics.
Although the issue of "hate speech" has been around for decades, it was only applicable in extreme and pretty clear-cut cases of slurs and
Now it could simply refer to statements that are robust, unpopular and disagree with the left-wing sense of history, politics and academic hegemony.
Since the beginning of 2016 we've virtually had somebody accused of posting "hate speech" on social media every week.
Some of them were clearly unfortunate drunken rants, which people actually removed (but screen-shots changed the game).
It began with Penny Sparrow, whose post was insulting and racist, but whether she meant any incitement is unlikely.
She received a fine of R150 000 and currently faces additional charges.
Until her court appearance this week, it was believed by some that she was either a fictitious troll or an agent provocateur.
Then it was an Idol's judge and outspoken radio personality, who was dismissed from the local talent competition for tweeting that South Africans
"don't understand freedom of speech". He had the resources to take the company to court however, and was reinstated. Nevertheless he was widely touted
as a "racist" in the media for his comment. Then came economist Dawie Roodt, who was accused of hate speech for writing that the former victims of
apartheid were now "entitled". Some black commentators came to his defense, but I believe he still faces charges of hate speech for that robust point,
even after being violently attacked in his home in an apparent robbery.
I will attach a few more sources and links out of hundreds of possibilities at the bottom of my OP.
But my point is, I wanted to comment further on a thread on SA for a while, but my fingers were hovering, and then I decided it's just not worth it.
And it's got nothing to do with ATS; it is a local fear.
Although I have my own bias and experience, I've always tried to be fair on SA, but I just don't feel comfortable sharing my knowledge and expertise.
The result is leading to avoidance and solipsism.
It really makes me very sad. I'm shaking as I'm writing this.
On social media people only gather around published news stories and political statements, while avoiding personal opinions.
Other than that it's music and furry animals.
Others activate and deactivate their entire accounts regularly, in case somebody finds something politically incorrect in their past.
I don't feel so much like a blogger anymore.
Does anybody share my misgivings and concerns?
Well, that's what's going down.
For a short history on political "hate speech" in SA (and actually the political discourse led to much of it) see the book by liberal journalist,
commentator and public intellectual Max du Preez: A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of democracy.
(Zebra Press, 2013: Pages
232-233). Du Preez (who is actually despised as a "sell-out" by the true white right-wing) tries to be even-handed, and points out that true racism
and hate speech occur across the racial and political spectrum. However, he does point out that whites who were simply prejudiced, but didn't call for
incitement are heavily and publicly penalized, whereas blacks who called for direct harm face few or no consequences. The double standard has become
even more glaring since nobodies made all kinds of news for social media posts in 2016.
See also: mg.co.za...
Gareth Cliff reinstated as Idol's judge: ewn.co.za...
South Africa votes against Internet freedom of speech with regressive regimes.
More on censorship issues in SA:
I'm not against laws prohibiting cyber-bullying, or slurs and direct incitement.
But people should also be protected against witch-hunts and trial by media, and should freely be able to express their views on politics and history.
Whether it is the business of the state to protect everyone's feelings and sensibilities on already moderated social media is another matter of
The smallest minority is ultimately the individual, and they shouldn't feel like they are being coerced into a political camp, silence or criminal
persecution. And what of the role of the media (often biased media) who take posts that hardly anyone would have read or taken note of, and they blow
it up, repeat it ad nauseam and truly turn them into divisive social issues? Should repeating "hate speech" (real or imagined), not also be hate
edit on 20-7-2016 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)
edit on 20-7-2016 by halfoldman because: (no reason