AfriForum views “old flag” judgment as a blow to freedom of speech

AfriForum views the judgment handed down today in the Johannesburg High Court with regard to the so-called old South African flag as a setback for freedom of speech, although it will not directly affect the organisation’s activities or points of view. The court today ruled that the gratuitous display of the flag was hate speech, as requested by the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF). AfriForum took this stance despite the fact that AfriForum itself does not display the flag and discourages people from doing so.

Ernst Roets, head of policy and structures at AfriForum, said there should be clarity about the line between freedom of speech and hate speech. “Our concern with this case from the outset has been that a judgment in favour of the NMF would not serve the purpose they intended, because state regulation with regard to freedom of speech in most instances results in bigger problems.”

Roets added that AfriForum is still open for discussion on national issues and that the judgment would be studied before a decision on further action would be taken.

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