March 2018 was a big month for the right to freedom of expression, and it was all about the right to screen the film Inxeba: The Wound.
On 28 March 2018, the Pretoria High Court (Raulinga J) reserved judgment in the application by the distributors and producers of the movie Inxeba: The Wound for a judicial review of the decision of the Film and Publication Appeal Tribunal to classify the movie X18. The effect of the classification was that the movie cannot be screened except in adult premises. One media report of the day’s proceedings can be found here.
As an interim position, however, the parties had agreed earlier in March – reflected in an order of court on Tuesday 6 March by Tuchten J – that the movie could again be screened from Friday 9 March in cinemas on the basis that it is classified 18 – but not X18: see some media publicity here).
More dramatic developments followed in the evening of Thursday 8 March when the House of Traditional Leaders brought an eleventh-hour urgent interdict to stop the movie from being screened the following morning. Judge Tuchten – still on urgent court duty in Pretoria – dismissed the application in the early hours of Friday 9 March and the movie was screened again from later that morning. Here’s one article reporting on what happened that evening.
The substantive issues were argued in the full-day hearing of 28 March (after the judge viewed the movie with the parties in the judge’s tea room on 26 March). Here are the court records in the case for your viewing pleasure: the pleadings (ie the application, the founding affidavit, supplementary affidavit, answering affidavit and the replying affidavit); and the heads of argument:
Judge Raulinga said at the end of the proceedings of 28 March that he would deliver judgment as soon as he could.
I will keep you posted.