Hundreds protest hate speech at Media 24

July 30, 2008

JOHANNESBURG — The Joint Working Group (JWG) a network representing 24 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) organizations throughout South Africa was joined by members of the LGBTI community and other activists from a variety of social movements in protesting outside the offices of Media 24 in Johannesburg yesterday. Some 200 protesters made clear their deep anger at Jon Qwelane, the Sunday Sun and Media 24 for the writing and publication of the article "Call me names, but gay is not ok" which was printed in the Sunday Sun on 20 July 2008.

The article which constitutes blatant hate speech, infringes on the clearly stated regulations of the Press Code of South Africa and challenges the basic human rights of LGBTI people as enshrined in the constitution has been widely condemned.

At the march a memorandum was handed to Themba Khumalo the Executive Editor of the Sunday Sun. He accepted and signed for the document but indicated that he was unwilling to speak further on the issue at this time. Among other things the Memorandum calls for Media 24 to bring appropriate disciplinary action against Jon Qwelane, to print an apology and retraction for the piece and to make a statement across their publications indicating their commitment to not print articles that are homophobic or discriminate against people on any other basis.

The JWG was delighted by the number of people who came to protest both from within the organised sector and members of the public who were so angered by the publication of this article that they wanted to express that anger by hitting the streets. It is our sincere hope that these people will join us on 31st July 2008 at the Springs Magistrates Court when the alleged killers of Eudy Simelane appear in court and on 22 August 2008 in Khayeleitsha when the nine men accused on the murder of Zoliswa Nkonyana make their next appearance. It is incidents like the murders of these two lesbian women that are the tragic consequence of the very same kind of hate that Qwelane gives voice to in his writing. – Issued by JWG

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JWG outraged by hate speech against lesbians and gays



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