Tribunal to hear radio hate speech case

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Cape Town - The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA will hear the merits of a 1998 hate speech complaint against Radio 786 this week, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) said on Tuesday.

“The crucial question of where the dividing line lies between freedom of expression and prohibited hate speech will be debated before the broadcasting complaints and compliance committee,” spokeswoman Charisse Zeifert said.

The hearing was the culmination of 14 years of court action and public hearings dating back to a broadcast on the Cape Town Muslim community station in May 1998.

The matter twice reached the Constitutional Court.

On May 8, 1998, the radio station broadcast a programme entitled “Zionism and the state of Israel - an in-depth analysis”.

Zeifert said the programme featured an interview with the United Kingdom academic Yakub Zaki.

He apparently alleged, among other things, that “Jews plotted to bring about such historical calamities as the two World Wars, the Russian Revolution and various periods of global economic turmoil”.

“The SAJBD will argue that in broadcasting this programme, Radio 786 was guilty of contravening the Broadcasting Code of Conduct, the relevant section of which prohibits the advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm,” said Zeifert

The hearing was open to the public.

It would begin at 9.30am at the Pepper Club Hotel in Cape Town, and would end on Friday.

Sapa


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