The South African National Editors’ Forum held its council meeting on Saturday 19th November 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.
We understand and support the vision of combating racism and hate and see media practitioners as important role players in contributing to curb the scourge.
However 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.
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 January 31st.
Sanef is also worried that unlike other Acts, this Bill, provides no mechanisms to deal with exceptions, such as media.
50th commemoration of Can Themba’s passing
Renowned late South African journalists and writer Can Themba died in exile in Swaziland on September 8, 1967. Many people would remember that even though at the time of his death Themba did not have a published book and in 1966 his works were banned inside South Africa under the Suppression of Communism Act, over the years his stature has grown and his works are widely acclaimed. In this year alone there has been a number of initiatives that paid tribute to Themba.
These included the production of a short film based on Themba’s short story, “The Suit,” and featuring the venerable John Kani and his son, Atandwa. The Grahamstown National Arts Festival also featured “Crepuscule,” a play based on Themba’s short story by the same title. The current author wrote “The House of Truth,” a bioplay based Themba’s life and starring Sello Maake kaNcube, which was a runaway success at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. He was at one time Assistant Editor of Drum magazine.
To mark the 50th anniversary of his death, PhD candidate Siphiwo Mahala ([email protected]) is planning a series of activities next year. Sanef supports Themba’s memorialization and urges all editors and journalists to drink deep at this well and to seek ways to partner with Mahala in the commemoration of this giant of our craft and struggles for freedom.
Sanef Chairperson – Mahlatse Gallens
Sanef Media Freedom Committee Chair – Sam Mkokeli