mardi, 21 novembre 2017
 

Afrique du Sud : SABC does not have to apologise - Israel can be called an "apartheid" state

In a bold ruling defending the right to freedom of expression and political speech, the South African media watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), unequivocally dismissed all complaints relating to a radio advert on 5fm that called for the boycott of Israel and compared Israel to Apartheid South Africa.

In February this year, during the South African tour of the international dance band, Faithless, a radio message featuring Dave Randall (lead guitarist of Faithless) was broadcast on the popular SABC radio station, 5fm. The advert was in support of a local group, the South African Artists Against Apartheid collective. In the advert Randall says :

"Hi, I’m Dave Randall from Faithless. Twenty years ago I would not have played in apartheid South Africa ; today I refuse to play in Israel. Be on the right side of history. Don’t entertain apartheid. Join the international boycott of Israel. I support southafricanartistsagainstapartheid.com."

In an official complaint to the ASA, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) attacked the radio advert and alleged that the view expressed that Israel is an Apartheid State is "untrue, not supported by any evidence… and contains a lie which amounts to false propaganda”.

The SAJBD sought an order requesting the SABC to apologise for broadcasting the radio advert.

Today the ASA dismissed each and every complaint made by the SAJBD against the advert and instead ruled in favor of the submissions made by SA Artists Against Apartheid, who were represented by Webber Wentzel Attorneys. The ASA also refused to provide any sanctions in favor of the SAJBD.

Reggae DJ, "The Admiral”, and member of the SA Artists Against Apartheid collective, welcomed today’s decision :

“The ASA decision is significant due to our own history of Apartheid. The decision sends a clear message to the Zionist lobby that the time has come for an end to the baseless accusations of “discrimination” and “hate speech” whenever criticism of Israel is voiced. Calling Israel an Apartheid state is legitimate because Israel practices Apartheid. The boycott of such an oppressive regime should be supported as it was in our own Anti-Apartheid freedom struggle.”

South African Palestine solidarity groups have celebrated the ASA ruling claiming it as a “legal victory” for the boycott of Israel movement. Fatima Vally from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Working Group said in a press release :

“This is the second major boycott of Israel decision coming from South Africa in less than six months. The first being the historic decision by the University of Johannesburg to sever its Israeli ties. The boycott of Israel campaign is the new Anti-Apartheid Movement, and its growing rapidly.”

The SA Artists Against Apartheid collective welcomes this positive decision, an adverse ruling could have had detrimental consequences for freedom of expression in general, and Palestine solidarity in particular.

 
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