A law expert on why HuffPost SA didn't deserve Press Ombud's hate speech ruling

Constitutional law expert Ben Winks says Press Ombudsman Johan Retief missed the mark with his hate speech ruling against the Huffington Post SA.

This comes after Press Ombudsman Johan Retief found that the article was discriminatory and constituted hate speech‚ resulting in editor-in-chief Verashni Pillay's resignation.

The Huffington Post SA's controversial and now deleted blog by a person with a fake identity has caused a great deal of public outcry and critical debate.

The blog called for white men to be disenfranchised and was written by Marius Roodt but submitted under the pseudonym Shelley Garland.

Read: "HuffPost SA blog does not constitute hate speech"

The press ombud also said the editorial processes were lacking and that HuffPost SA should never have published the 'malicious' and 'discriminatory' blog.

Both the ombudsman’s ruling on what constitutes hate speech and Pillay’s resignation have been met with criticism.

Winks says there is a lot confusion around the contents of hate speech due to varying sources that prescribe what it means.

Winks adds that hate speech is not a concept that originates in South Africa but exists in our Constitution as a limitation to the right to freedom of expression.

He explains that the Constitution and the Press Code define hate speech differently.

It's a complicated interpretive exercise.

Ben Winks, Constitutional law expert

Also read: HuffPo SA will have difficulty appealing Ombud ruling - media law expert

According to Winks, the ombud fails to interrogate what is 'discriminatory' or 'denigratory' in his ruling and comes to the ruling without any citation of case law or analysis.

We are left to theorise as to what he understands as 'discriminatory' or 'denigratory'.

Ben Winks, Constitutional law expert

At base, the blog article is saying that white males are disproportionately powerful. That's not a racial caricature... It's not offensive and not untrue.

Ben Winks, Constitutional law expert

On what basis could this be found 'denigratory'?

Ben Winks, Constitutional law expert

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Press Council, Joe Thloloe, has applied for leave to appeal the hate speech ruling against the Huffington Post SA.

Take a listen to his analysis:

Read More
"HuffPost SA blog does not constitute hate speech"

"HuffPost SA blog does not constitute hate speech"

Former Business Day editor Songezo Zibi does not agree with the ruling by press ombudsman Johan Retief.

HuffPo SA will have difficulty appealing Ombud ruling - media law expert

HuffPo SA will have difficulty appealing Ombud ruling - media law expert

Press Ombud ruled that HuffPost SA should apologise for publishing a post arguing that white people shouldn't be allowed to vote.

The "ghost" that haunts the Huffington Post

The "ghost" that haunts the Huffington Post

Independent writer and editor weighs in on how fake news can hurt credible news rooms.

Huffington Post SA doesn't verify identities of bloggers - Editor

Huffington Post SA doesn't verify identities of bloggers - Editor

The publication has been criticised for publishing a piece by a blogger using a fake identity.

EWN warns against fake news and Twitter accounts

EWN warns against fake news and Twitter accounts

The latest victims of fake Twitter accounts include Huffington Post SA, the Sunday Times and Talk Radio 702, EWN explains.

Huffington Post SA introduces indigenous offerings

Huffington Post SA introduces indigenous offerings

The South African version of the US-based online publication will have various indigenous language offerings.

Popular articles
Hassen Adams (he brought Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts to SA) talks money

Hassen Adams (he brought Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts to SA) talks money

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Adams about his attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.).

Eusebius Opinion: "Let go Kevin Pietersen, you do not own the school"

Eusebius Opinion: "Let go Kevin Pietersen, you do not own the school"

McKaiser responds to former SA, now England cricketer Pietersen's comments over Maritzburg College pupils holding EFF t-shirts.

Twitter is gobsmacked as Nigeria honours Jacob Zuma with bronze statue and road

Twitter is gobsmacked as Nigeria honours Jacob Zuma with bronze statue and road

During Zuma's visit to Nigeria, the Governor of the Imo State in Nigeria, Mr Owelle Okorocha, conferred an Imo Merit Award on him.

Minister Lynne Brown's partner scored R1.2 million contracts with Eskom

Minister Lynne Brown's partner scored R1.2 million contracts with Eskom

Sikonathi Mantshantsha says this revelation explains why Brown was reluctant to take any action against Eskom executives.

KZN school ordered to stop action against students with EFF shirts

KZN school ordered to stop action against students with EFF shirts

A letter has been addressed to the Maritzburg College principal after an image of the boys went viral last week.

Kloof Street residents living in fear as crime multiplies

Kloof Street residents living in fear as crime multiplies

A Cape Town man was stabbed to death on Saturday while trying to assist two women who were being mugged on Kloof street.

‘I started my thriving business with R5000 (and made a profit in the 1st month)’

‘I started my thriving business with R5000 (and made a profit in the 1st month)’

After 3 years there are 3 Nic Harry stores (incl online) that sell 100 000 pairs of socks in over 20 countries around the world.