The judge said the media was not protected under the Equality Act, as journalism was a chosen career path.
Pretoria – The Equality Court sitting at the high court in Pretoria on Thursday turned down the application by the SA National Editors’ Forum and five journalists to interdict EFF leader Julius Malema and his supporters from intimidating journalists on public and social media platforms.
Judge Daisy Molefe said the media was not protected under the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination (the Equality) Act, as journalism was a chosen career path. It is unlike race or gender, for which one does not have a choice.
She also said that unpopular, offensive or controversial views do not necessarily constitute hate speech.
The judgement comes after Sanef and journalists Barry Bateman from Eyewitness News, Pauli van Wyk of the Daily Maverick, Adriaan Basson
from News24, veteran journalist Max du Preez as well as Ranjeni Munusamy, claim Malema was engaging in hate speech.
The forum also wanted the court to order the EFF to publicly apologise to journalists listed as complainants in the case.
It was earlier argued by Sanef that the EFF and Malema have created an environment that is hostile towards journalists.
Judge Molefe said in her judgment that the purpose of the Equality Act is clear “The Act seeks to protect people from being adversely disadvantaged for conditions that they are subjected to, but which fall outside their ability to change or control. Occupation is not such a characteristic.”
While she dismissed Sanef’s application, she made no order as to costs.