Two weeks ago, I presented at a workshop organized by the African National Congress (ANC) on criminal defamation – how it differs from civil defamation, some recent developments across Africa, and why criminal defamation is unconstitutional, in my view. At the workshop, the ANC made a dramatic and welcome announcement that it would spearhead legislation to rid South Africa of criminal defamation – an announcement which I wrote about in the Mail & Guardian last week. The announcement was widely covered in the media – a good report by eNCA can be found here. Unfortunately for the Democratic Alliance (DA), its premature speculation in a media statement before the ANC’s workshop – that the ANC’s intention was to pass insult laws to protect the president – proved to be a spectacular own goal. (Of course the DA has other problems to deal with at the moment, following the sharing on Facebook by one of its prominent MPs and the shadow minister of police of a post praising PW Botha).
Here is an extract from my speech which I presented at the ANC workshop on criminal defamation. Continue reading