Independent sets up panel to probe hate speech

Johannesburg - Independent Media is planning to set up an advisory panel to investigate public hate speech on its websites, the company said on Thursday.

"The scope of the Advisory Panel will be to enquire into the prevalence of, make findings, report on and make recommendations concerning hate speech, personal attacks and defamatory statements contained in comments by the public on internet websites controlled by Independent Media," chief of staff Zenariah Barends said.

Executive chairperson Iqbal Survé announced the formation of the panel.

Freedom of expression

"He indicated that the objective of the panel was to get advice on how best to prevent hate speech from proliferating on these digital platforms, while guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression."

The members of the panel would be media attorney Jacques Louw, who would chair the panel; Latiefa Mobara, public advocate at the Press Council; political analyst, lecturer and columnist, Eusebius McKaiser; Karima Brown and Anthony Robinson, chief content and chief technology officers at Independent.

"In making findings and recommendations the advisory panel shall take into account the Constitution of South Africa, any other relevant legislation and common law, media policies, including the Constitution of the Press Council of South Africa," said Barends.

Survé announced that he would initiate an enquiry into hate speech on IOL, following a virulent attack on 16-year old Kine-Dineo Mokwena-Kessi, who had written a piece in the Cape Argus, where she had interned in August.

Independent Online reported on 15 August that a "barrage of racist remarks" was posted on IOL in response to a comment piece by the teenager.

"At the time Dr Survé said he fully supported Mokwena-Kessi and the rights of people, youth in particular, to express their views on Independent’s platforms, especially in the digital space," Barends said.

The panel would deliberate for one month and report back to Independent Media by 31 October.

Solarflair 2014/09/05 07:55:50 AM
there goes news24 comment section
Michael Ndalama Mwale 2014/09/05 07:59:14 AM
Efforts to fight the so-called "hate speech", unless the term is properly defined, can easily metamorphise into a campaign against freedom of expression. It is my hope that the panel would undertake its probe in a case by case basis and contextually because freedom of expression should never be sacrificed at the altar of politics or whatever fantasy - such as the notion of a rainbow nation.
David Van Schalkwyk 2014/09/05 08:00:43 AM
Here come another thousand fake facebook accounts... People hate, it is a way of life for South Africans and no matter what you try you wont be able to take it away from them. It has been breed into us from young...
Jenny Anderson 2014/09/05 08:11:57 AM
What a waste of money!!!!! How about you guys tackle the crime in sa, have more police on foot and patrols.You have nothing better to do than PROBE the way people speak
Torque Samuel 2014/09/05 08:13:30 AM
You can take away my comment ,but you cannot take away ,My Freedom (Crowd )...WHOOOOYYYYOOOOWHHHHHOO
Pat Aldrich 2014/09/05 08:22:50 AM
I suppose the anc has instructed another 50% share for workers at media24.
Nin Ja Kitty 2014/09/05 08:27:42 AM
Oh dear. We will have to watch what we say now, everyone.
MeThinks 2014/09/05 08:37:49 AM
Start here on News24 platforms, cowards behind fake names spewing hatred racism filled remarks! If u can't stand by yo comment in broad daylight then swallow it!
Kwaaitjie Kabouter 2014/09/05 08:39:28 AM
If you have to call yourself "independent" you are not. If you have to call yourself "united" you are not.
Lyn Maxwell-Andreou 2014/09/05 08:41:38 AM
I've been on other news commentary platforms & I was horrified at the hate speech; especially on CNN. American s Always watch what you say