The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has expressed concern over the proposed Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill after it held its council meeting this past weekend, at Freedom Park in Pretoria.
Council deliberated on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill and noted its release for public comments.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Sanef says it understands and supports the vision of combating racism and hate and see media practitioners as important role players in contributing to curb the scourge.
“We are concerned that the Hate Crimes Bill in its current form contains parts that are too broad, and may encroach on media and artistic freedom, and the public’s right to access information.
In particular we are worried about impact on Artistic freedom, Media analysis and critique of public figures, cartoons and other forms of political satire,” it continued.
Sanef will formulate a formal submission on its position and concerns, which will be submitted to the relevant department as part of the public participation process that ends on 31 January.
Sanef is also worried that unlike other Acts, this Bill, provides no mechanisms to deal with exceptions, such as media.