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HRC has criminalised black people - FBJ

By unknown | Apr 09, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

The Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ) is upset with the Human Rights Commission's (HRC) finding that excluding colleagues on the basis of colour is unconstitutional.

HRC chairman Jody Kollapen yesterday ruled that the Constitution did not allow the forum to exclude white journalists on the basis of their race. But FBJ chairman Abbey Makoe shot back that the HRC's decision amounted to "its first banning order to a black initiative".

"We appeal to South Africa's broad spectrum of journalists and the progressive world to consider the circumstances that led to the HRC issuing what amounts to a banning order. We are confident that any reasonable person who witnessed the sham hearing last month would be astounded at its temerity, that a step like a banning order could even be considered, let alone issued."

Makoe said the HRC decision amounted to "a judicial ambush".

"By its ruling the HRC has found us guilty of being black; it has criminalised black people. The HRC's understanding of racism is dubious, since the primary focus of its concern is the absence of white journalists in the black organisation that we are."

Radio 702 and Highveld Radio's news editor Katy Katopodis lodged a complaint with the HRC after white journalists were barred from attending an off-the-record briefing with ANC president Jacob Zuma.

Katopodis said yesterday that she was pleased the HRC had ruled that the blanket exclusion of white journalists from a news event organised by the forum was unjustified.

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