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Released on: April 8, 2024

Criminal defamation is no more!

On April 3, 2024, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the repeal of the common law relating to criminal defamation — a significant win for media freedom in South Africa. The law of criminal defamation, which threatens prison for those who commit defamation, has been historically used to restrict free speech and in particular to silence journalists and rights defenders. The new law states, “The common law relating to the crime of defamation is hereby repealed” (section 34 (1)).

Civil law on defamation stands, a more appropriate tool to address defamation.
You can find the announcement here.

Thokozani Mbwana
Project Manager
Campaign for Free Expression
thokozani@freeexpression.org.za

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