The civil rights organisation AfriForum this morning laid criminal charges against 100 individuals who posted messages containing hate speech, racism, incitement to violence or a combination of the above on social media platforms. The affidavits were prepared with the assistance of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and criminal law expert Dr Llewellyn Curlewis.
“There seems to be a general impression that whatever you say on social media is somehow acceptable and will not have any consequences. Public outrage and media coverage are also reserved for or limited to a select few statements on social media. We therefore invited the public to send us screenshots of hate speech, racism and incitement to violence. The response was overwhelming,” says Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum.
AfriForum requested the SAPS to investigate these 100 individuals without delay, to verify the identities of the persons behind these social media accounts and to charge them with the applicable offence. AfriForum also requested the SAPS to provide feedback on a regular basis and also offered any assistance the organisation may be able to provide.
“We are concerned about the intensity of some of the messages and screenshots that we received. Unlike other cases that received significant attention in the media and which revolved mostly around racist slurs, many of the screenshots that we received contain calls to arms and requests or calls to kill or harm people. We are worried that, despite their more severe nature, these cases are not dealt with or condemned in the same manner,” says Roets.
AfriForum invites the public to continue sending examples of racism, hate speech and incitement to violence to firstname.lastname@example.org.