SAJBD suggests hate speech definition be revised

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has made a submission for this year’s Constitutional Review, focusing on issues of ‘hate speech’ and how the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) could be made more effective in addressing them.

The SAJBD is of the view that racist hate speech is of itself damaging, and this is not fully covered by the current definition. Rather, the SAJBD believes that at present, the definition is overly narrow since it proscribes advocacy of ‘hatred’ only when coupled with ‘incitement to cause harm’. The SAJBD, in its submission, has argued that the mere airing of unacceptable views results in ‘harm’, even when harm is not explicitly advocated.

Furthermore, while the SAHRC plays a critical role in enabling members of the public to seek redress when they feel their right to dignity has been infringed, the section dealing with its powers and functions makes no reference to the right to dignity, and the SAJBD suggested this be remedied.

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