style=”MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0cm”What does worry him, is the state of media freedom, he said at a discussion in Johannesburg about where cartoonists should “draw the line”.
At the panel discussion at Wits last Tuesday (15 April) Zapiro said “warning lights (are) flashing” for media freedom in South Africa. “I am concerned… there are strange things happening.”
He referred to the proposed amendments to the Films and Publications Act, which would introduce pre-publication censorship “under the guise of preventing child pornography”, and the ANC’s proposed Media Appeals Tribunal, which he said was an “appalling idea”.
He said about Zuma: “He acts in ways to curb the press and he acts like he is the victim of the rampant press that is opposing his rights.”
Zuma lodged claims against Zapiro totalling R15-million, “the highest in South African cartoon history”, according to Zapiro.
The ANC president has since dropped the defamation component of his claims against the media instituted before the ANC’s Polokwane conference in December. Zuma is still claiming for injuria. The sizes of the claims against Zapiro have as a result been reduced.
“I’m not worried about the lawsuit,” Zapiro said.
Responding to a question during the discussion, Zapiro said he would not put himself in the same category as axed Sunday Times columnist David Bullard. “I completely disassociate myself of him.”
Ã¢Â–Â !_LT_FONT face=”Arial, sans-serif”Liesl GÃƒÂ¶ttert, Zuma’s spokesperson on media defamation matters, told TheMediaOnline on Tuesday (22 April) they were still awaiting court dates in the Zapiro case. She said the claims against him (and others, including !_LT_EMThe Star!_LT_/EM) were related to three cartoons published in the daily in April and May 2006: !_LT_/FONT
style=”MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0cm”Ã¢Â€Âœ!_LT_FONT face=”Arial, sans-serif”My credibility is intactÃ¢Â€Â in which Zuma is portrayed leaving the High Court as a pig with a sperm-shooting gun and a shower-head protruding from his head;!_LT_/FONT
style=”MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0cm”Ã¢Â€Âœ!_LT_FONT face=”Arial, sans-serif”Crossed fingersÃ¢Â€Â in which Zuma is shown taking an oath in court with his fingers crossed behind his back; and!_LT_/FONT
style=”MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0cm”!_LT_FONT face=”Arial, sans-serif”A cartoon featuring Zuma’s Ã¢Â€Âœmoral degeneration handbookÃ¢Â€Â.!_LT_/FONT
style=”MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0cm”She could not say to what amount the claims against Zapiro had been reduced, but said it would roughly be 20% of the original amount (R15-million).
style=”MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0cm”Ã¢Â–Â This is an updated version of the story first published on TheMediaOnline on 16 April. !_LT_FONT face=ArialGÃƒÂ¶ttert’s comments were added.!_LT_/FONT