FOR SA’s Concerns on “Hate Speech” Heard!

by Daniela Ellerbeck
19 October 2016

Parliament is currently debating the Films and Publications Amendment Bill which, amongst other things, proposes to legalise online distribution of pornography in South Africa. A specific proposed amendment will also enable broadcasters to broadcast pornography via satellite television. (Up to now, pornography could only be distributed legally within a building licensed as an adult premises).

While the issue of pornography does not fall within the mandate of FOR SA (which is to protect and promote religious freedom), FOR SA did make submissions with regard to the proposed definition of “hate speech” in the Bill which, if it were to remain, could have a major chilling effect on religious freedom and free speech. (For FOR SA’s submissions, see

While deliberations on the Bill are ongoing (with final deliberations having been scheduled for 25 October 2016), it appears that at least at this stage, those tasked with the amendment of the Bill, have been persuaded that the definition of “hate speech” in the Bill is indeed over-broad and cannot go further than s 16(2)(c) of the Constitution, as pointed out specifically in our submissions. This is indeed good news for religious freedom and free speech!

*For more information about the Bill, and/or to sign an online petition, see Cause for Justice’s website ( or Facebook page (@Cause4Justice).

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