Don’t Allow Censorship to Get a Foot in the Door

Source: Business Day – By Anton Harber

OURS is a vuvuzela democracy: noisy in a joyous and sometimes painful way, repeatedly testing our tolerance for unpleasant — even harmful — cacophony. This week, Kuli Roberts’s Sunday World column caused a storm because it played on crude and offensive racial stereotypes in a failed attempt to be humorous about coloureds. And our courts have been hearing attempts to silence African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema by declaring the Shoot the Boer song to be hate speech. These provide opportunities to consider the best way to deal with hurtful speech in a country with a painful history of racial conflict.

The key question about Roberts’s column was one I asked about the David Bullard column in the Sunday Times, which led to his dismissal under similar circumstances: how did this stuff get into print? It should have been read by two or three people before publication: a subeditor, a proofreader and, hopefully, an editor. Editors don’t always have the time, but part of the job of the other two readers would be to alert him or her to a potential problem. In the Bullard case, it turned out that the material was approved by a duty editor, who was never properly called to account.

…Read the entire article here…

Activist, Unplugged from the Matrix. Action for Freedom!

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