The editor of Gayspeak and also attorney for Joburg Gay Pride Festival Inc. (known as Joburg Pride), Coenie Kukkuk says “I am definitely unhappy (with the ruling). We will NOT back off.”
The Sunday Sun recently published the article “Call me names, but gay is NOT okay”, by Qwelane. It caused an uproar and some 1,000 complaints were lodged with the Press Ombudsman, Joe Thloloe.R
Thloloe later ruled that the article did not amount to hate speech and the Sunday Sun was ordered to apologise.
Within days of the finding, several individual appeals were lodged against the ruling and the case was handed over to Judge Ralph Zulman, chairman of the Press Appeals Panel.
On August 13, Zulman denied Joburg Pride and other parties leave to appeal.
Zulman motivated his ruling by referring to the Constitution of the Press Council of South Africa, which reads: “If the chairperson is of the view that the South African Press Appeals Panel (SAPAP) may come to a decision different to that of the ombudsman …he or she grants leave to appeal.”
Zulman says in the ruling.”I am satisfied that there is no reasonable prospect that the SAPAP may come to a decision different to that of the ombudsman. Accordingly the applicant is informed that leave to appeal is refused.”
Kukkuk says he is awaiting instruction from the Joburg Pride board, which is considering its options. “But our legal options are limited.
“The next legal step would be to bring an application to the High Court for a review of the decision (Judge Zulman’s denial of leave to appeal) “
He adds: “Seen in the current climate of a spate of hate crimes against lesbians in the townships, to say gay is not okay, is an enticement to violence by default and thus actually does boil down to hate speech”.
!_LT_LIThis article has been updated. !_LT_/LI!_LT_/UL