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Tribunal hears radio hate speech case

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Cape Town -

An interview broadcast on a Muslim community radio station in 1998 incited a hatred of all Jews, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA heard on Tuesday.

“This broadcast was aimed at and inspired the hatred of Jews, serving forth anti-semitic claims and stereotypes,” advocate Peter Hodes told the complaints and compliance committee.

“I want to emphasise to you that anti-semitism has caused great harm to Jews in the past and has the potential to do so wherever it appears.”

He said the interview evoked a sense of marginalism, creating the perception that Jews could not be trusted, were the root of all evil and should be eradicated.

Hodes was speaking on behalf of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), who lodged a hate-speech complaint against Radio 786, over a broadcast on May 8, 1998.

The radio station broadcast a programme entitled “Zionism and the state of Israel - an in-depth analysis”, featuring an interview with United Kingdom academic Yakub Zaki.

According to the SAJBD, the academic claimed, amongst other things, that Jews had brought about the Anglo-Boer war, conspired to steal South Africa's natural resources, controlled the banks of the world and invented the Holocaust.

Hodes argued that in broadcasting the programme, Radio 786 was guilty of contravening the Broadcasting Code of Conduct, which prohibited the advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constituted incitement to cause harm.

The committee, headed by Wandile Tutani, had been tasked with hearing the merits of both the SAJBD and the Islamic Unity Convention, which holds the station's licence.

The hearing in Cape Town was the culmination of 14 years of court action and public hearings, with the matter twice reaching the Constitutional Court.

It would continue until Friday. - Sapa


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