R2K Statement: Scrap the draft Hate Speech Bill!
R2K rejects the draft Prevention & Combating of Hate Crimes & Hate Speech Bill, which was open for public comment until this week. In our submission on the draft Bill, R2K made it clear that this draft Bill would criminalise freedom of expression and violate constitutional rights.
The draft Bill would make it a criminal offence to communicate, in any way, a message which insults a person or “brings into contempt or ridicule” any person or group of people. Doing so could result in a fine or a three-year jail sentence.
Draft Bill does not fix racism and other bigotry
This draft Bill does not fix the structural vestiges of racism, patriarchy, xenophobia and related intolerances. Instead it tries to criminalise individual behaviour while leaving the structural and institutional causes and factors that feed those intolerances.
As a measure against genuine discrimination, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of hateful expressions, we view this draft Bill as a 'securitised' response that violates the constitutional protections for freedom of expression, does nothing to address the root causes of the problem.