22/08/2017 10:50 SAST | Updated 22/08/2017 10:55 SAST

Former HuffPost SA Editor-in-Chief Wins Appeal Over Hate Speech Ruling

She announced on Twitter that she won the hate speech ruling.


Verashni Pillay, the former Editor-in-chief of HuffPost SA, announced on Tuesday that she won her appeal in the hate speech ruling around a blog calling for the disenfranchisement of white men. The appeals committee reportedly set it aside.

The Appeals Panel of the Press Council ruled that the blog did not amount to hate speech.

Judge Bernard Ngoepe and his panel overturned an earlier decision of the Press Ombudsman, Johan Retief, about a blog titled "Could it be time to deny white men the franchise?" published by HuffPost SA in April.

Pillay resigned and appealed the ruling. She also apologised for the published blog after it was discovered that the blogger was fake.

Pillay on Tuesday tweeted that the appeal was successful and thanked her lawyer Ben Winks for taking on the case pro-bono.

She suggested the Press Ombudsman needed to be held accountable for the original judgment.

Ngoepe and his panel found the blog, written by a fake blogger called "Shirley Garland", did not denigrate white men and did not advocate hatred or incite harm. There must be room for "robust debate" in South Africa.

"It could well be that the piece irritated or annoyed some people, but to classify it as a hate speech would be too huge a jump," the panel ruled.