Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa: This appeal was filed before a 5-Judge Bench of Dambuza, JA., Lewis, Wallis and Zondi, JJA. and Matojane AJA against the order of Equality Court where statements made by appellant were considered to be amounting to hate speech.

Appellant assailed the erroneous reasoning of Equality Court which stated that since due to the statements made by appellant the people who would be most likely feel offended were Jews shows that the statements were directed towards Jewish Religion or ethnicity. He contended that the statements he made were directed towards supporters of the State of Israel from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, rather than to Jewish students. It was submitted that Section 16(2)(c) of the Constitution which delimits the freedom of expression, advocacy of hatred is excluded from protection where such hatred is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion and constitutes incitement to cause harm.

High Court was of the view that nothing that appellant wrote or said transgressed the boundaries set under Section 16(2)(c), however hurtful or distasteful it was to some members of the Jewish and wider community. Many may feel offended by such statement, but that does not deprive them of constitutional protection of freedom of speech. Therefore, this appeal was upheld and order of equality court was set aside. [Bongani Masuku v. SAHRC, 2018 SCC OnLine ZACAC 6, dated 04-12-2018]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of Canada: Determining some vital questions related to election advertising like whether, individuals or organizations who wish to “sponsor election advertising” are required by Election Act RSBC, 1996 to register with Chief Electoral Officer; the meaning of “sponsor” and “election advertising”; and whether individuals engaged in political self-expression come within definition of “sponsor” and need to register, the 7 Judge Bench of the Court headed by McLachlin, C.J., rejected the appeal against the provision of the Election Act RSBC, 1996, which requires people to register before sponsoring political advertising during a provincial election. The Court clarified that Act’s registration requirement does not apply to individuals doing things like wearing political T-shirts or displaying signs on windows.

As per the facts, the British Columbia’s Election Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 106, requires individuals or organizations who wish to “sponsor election advertising” to register with the province’s Chief Electoral Officer. This registration requirement applies to all sponsors of election advertising. In the words of the Bench it was observed that, “Sections 228, 229 and 239 of the Act, read in their grammatical and ordinary sense and harmoniously with the statutory scheme, the object of the Act, and the intention of the legislature, indicate that a ‘sponsor’ required to register is an individual or organization who receives an advertising service from another individual or organization, whether in exchange for payment or without charge. The Court further observed that the individuals who neither pay others for advertising services nor receive advertising services from others without charge are not “sponsors” within the meaning of the Act. [B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association v. British Columbia, 2017 SCC OnLine Can SC 1 : 2017 SCC 6, decided on 26.01.2017]