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The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) supports the application for leave to appeal the hate speech ruling by the Press Ombudsman of South Africa against the Huffington Post South Africa.

This follows the announcement by the executive director of the Press Council, Joe Thloloe, that he has filed an application for leave to appeal the ruling with Judge Bernard Ngoepe, chair of the Appeals Panel.

The ruling in question by Dr Johan Retief, the ombudsman, has attracted considerable public interest and comment and has caused widespread confusion in newsrooms about the parameters of freedom of expression in the Press Code of South Africa.

We have noted Huffington Post SA’s apology and the publication’s decision not to appeal the ruling.

Based on the reaction received from our members and comments by legal and media experts, we fully agree that clarity is needed from the Press Council’s highest adjudication body – the Appeals Panel – on this important matter.

As the largest organisation representing editors from South Africa’s national, local and community media titles, Sanef believes that such clarity will guide our reportage on opinions that may offend or discriminate in future.

For Inquiries:

Sanef Deputy Chair : Katy Katopodis – 082 805-7022

Sanef Treasurer: Adriaan Basson – 082 562 2133