HRC clears Zapiro car­toon of Zuma

CAR­TOON: Lady Jus­tice raped im­age ‘not hate speech’

Weekend Witness - - Front Page -

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.

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