Jean-Jacques Cornish

South Africa to make hate speech a crime

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is to introduce legislation criminalizing hate crimes and hate speech.

Speaking on the anniversary of the 1960 massacre of 69 protesters by apartheid police in Sharpeville, President Jacob Zuma says the Bill will be tabled by September.

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President Jacob Zuma says racist events earlier this year show the need for South Africans to discuss this evil and unite against it.

The country has to go a long way to eliminate white supremacist views that still exist in a small minority of South Africans, says Zuma,  warning against the tendency to downplay this.

The President tells the meeting in Durban that racism has been instilled in South Africa by a succession of white governments.

Zuma ’s unhappy about what he calls subtle and disguised racism by cartoonists stereotyping individuals.

He did not name particular cartoonists or their targets.

However, the Gupta family of Indian entrepreneurs who have bought enormous influence in his government have echoed Zuma’s opinion that attacks against them are racially motivated.

Zuma himself has sued cartoonists over  the way he personally has been lampooned.

Freedom of speech activists accept that South Africa’s history calls for particular sensitivity by cartoonists and commentators.

Nevertheless they fear Zuma’s latest outburst could indicate a tougher official line curbing free expression of opinion.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.