"HuffPost SA blog does not constitute hate speech"

Editor of Huffington Post SA Verashni Pillay tendered in her resignation following a ruling by press ombudsman Johan Retief.

Retief found that a blog, which called for white men to lose their voting rights, was discriminatory and constituted hate speech.

CapeTalk's Koketso Sachane spoke to former Business Day editor, now head of Absa communication, Songezo Zibi, about Pillay's resignation.

Zibi says that Huffington Post SA seems to have failed to ascertain who the contributor of the blog was before they could publish on their website. He says the publication should have the contact details of their contributors and be able to engage them on their submissions before making a decision to publish.

Read Songezo Zibi's opinion following judge Retief's ruling titled - Johan Retief's Ruling Mounts To A Blanket Silencing Of Debate

There's interaction that takes place between the editors and the authors or contributors. I really don't think it occurred and that is the big failure in the whole thing.

Songezo Zibi, head of communications at Absa

The role of editors is not to defend the content in an article but to provide a space in which contrasting views in society can be shared in order to facilitate debate in very important matters, as long as that content does not amount to hate speech...

Songezo Zibi, head of communications at Absa

Zibi says he does not think the article constituted hate speech as ruled by Judge Retief. He says although the call by the author to deny white males the right to vote is unconstitutional, it does not amount to hate speech.

Read also: HuffPo SA will have difficulty appealing Ombud ruling

I do not believe highlighting the dominant role of the white male in global affairs necessarily amounts to hate speech.

Songezo Zibi, head of communications at Absa

Suggesting that they, therefore, should not have the vote, I don't feel it incited anyone to go and attack them or hate them.

Songezo Zibi, head of communications at Absa

Click below to listen to the full interview with Songezo Zibi:


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