Sara Gon on the latest threat to free expression in South Africa

For nearly 90 years, the Institute of Race Relations has stood for classical liberalism, which encompasses eight fundamental tenets. One of these is ‘Free thought and speech’, of which we argue:

There should be no limits on what you are allowed to say or think except where such ideas threaten physical harm against another person.

It is dangerous that South Africa has imported from Europe and America a culture that seeks to protect people from things they dont like to hear through creating ‘safe spacesand savaging any person who holds an opinion that is not seen as politically correct.

Political correctness is strangling our society and risks a tyranny of the minority where a small group of politicians, activists and journalists get to decide what you are allowed to say or think.

We advocate against all threats to freedom of speech and all attempts to force group-thinkin business, academia, the media, civil society, and politics.”

The recent emphasis has been on the erosion of freedoms by the state – expropriation without compensation and the National Health Insurance Bill are but two examples. In the IRR’s view, these measures will harm South Africa while not guaranteeing positive results for those they purport to help.

The creeping loss of freedom is growing as a result of the conduct of non-state actors, too, and art reflects it graphically. The test of a free and democratic society is the freedom artists have to express themselves. Read more