Comedian's censorship concerns with new Hate Speech Bill

Comedians have raised concerns about censoring and possible jail time in the light of new bill proposed by Justice Minister Michael Masutha.

The proposed Prevention & Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill would undergo various levels of oversight and consultation and be debated by members of parliament before it is implemented.

Speaking to 702's John Robbie, comedian John Vlismas said the Bill would exclude certain groups of people as it would entail that comics avoid certain topics which serve as content.

Satire provokes thought. It's not the same as being at a braai and being hateful or in the office.

John Vlismas, comedian

Part of the proposed bill stipulates a 10-year sentence for various offences stating:

For attacking anyone on the basis of race, gender, sex, intersex, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, religion, belief, culture, language, birth, disability, HIV status, nationality, identity, albinism, occupation and trade.

Excerpt from Prevention & Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill

Every comic has their boundaries. I've got certain things I don't make jokes about but because I don't do it, I don't decide that someone else can't.

John Vlismas, comedian
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