HRC clears Zapiro cartoon of Zuma
CARTOON: Lady Justice raped image ‘not hate speech’
JOHANNESBURG — The SA Human Rights Commission ( SAHRC) has found a Zapiro cartoon depicting President Jacob Zuma about to rape “Lady Justice” did not constitute hate speech, unfair discrimination or a violation of any human right enshrined in the Constitution, the Mail&Guardian reported yesterday.
The commission dismissed a complaint about the cartoon lodged by the Young Communist League and its national secretary Buti Manamela, that cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro had defamed Zuma or violated his right to dignity in the cartoon, published in the Sunday Times in September 2008.
It depicted Zuma undoing his trousers while alliance leaders hold down the woman.
“Although the SAHRC finds the cartoon and the words used in relation thereto probably offensive and distasteful, same falls short of and does not constitute hate speech, unfair discrimination under Promotion of Equality and the Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act or a violation of any fundamental human right contained in the Constitution,” the commission’s finding reads.
Manamela and the league found it depicted Zuma as a rapist, was distasteful, deplorable and bordered on defamation of character.
But, Zapiro believed Zumaandthe others depicted in the cartoon had threatened the justice system. In a written submission to the commission, Zapiro argued he was exercising his right to freedom of expression.
Manamela said the league welcomed the findings, but they still believed he could have expressed himself in a way less offensive to Zuma and other alliance leaders. — Sapa.