Today's Big Stories

Virgin Active vs freedom of expression

Muhammed Desai, a member of the South African chapter of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions lobby against Israel, is alleged to have been forcibly removed from the Old Eds branch of Virgin Active. Desai says that the shirt he wore had the words 'In solidarity with Palestinians against Israeli apartheid'.

(See related article of Redi's interview with complaining member of the Old Eds gym)

Stephen speaks to Professor Jane Duncan of the Freedom of Expression Institute about whether or not there are limits to freedom of speech.

Prof Duncan says that there are limits to the right to Freedom of Expression, which are are not protected by constitution. She says that hate speech, incitement of violence and propaganda for war are not protected by the constitution. Desai's t-shirt doesn't fall under any of these categories.

In order for Virgin Active to be within their rights to to ban certain t-shirts, it would need to prove that the speech constitutes advocacy of hatred (on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender or religion) or incitement to cause harm.

If we are going to be serious about maintaining constitutional values, we can't expect a private entity, like Virgin Active, to require people to leave constitutional values at the front door. They seem to think that, as a private entity, they can contract themselves out of the right to freedom of expression and unfortunately they can't.

Professor Jane Duncan, Freedom of Expression Institute

Listen to Professor Duncan below:

Meanwhile, Virgin Active has issued this statement on their website:

This is a situation we have never encountered before and we have learned valuable lessons. We need to make it clear that no legal item of clothing is banned from Virgin Active clubs but we would hope that members would understand the need for both tolerance and respect in this space.

We do not believe our clubs should be forums for contentious political activity. Mr Desai has not been banned and is welcome to return to train as a member as long as he respects the conditions of membership.

We have sought an urgent personal meeting with Mr Desai to discuss our position. Any member who made provable threats on our premises of physical violence against Mr Desai, or any member on any occasion, will have their membership reviewed and possibly terminated.

Virgin Active statement after t-shirt incident

Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Veterans and ANC not on same page about terms of consultative conference

Veterans and ANC not on same page about terms of consultative conference

ANC vets want civil society groups present at the consultative conference, which they want held separately from another meeting.

Top SABC journos applauded for brave testimony

Top SABC journos applauded for brave testimony

EWN's Gaye Davis summarises the evidence of the SABC journalists who appeared before the ad hoc committee in Parliament.

If you're gona be a hero (and smash a car window), make sure you can prove harm

If you're gona be a hero (and smash a car window), make sure you can prove harm

A criminal lawyer explains what leg citizens can stand on if they witness a child or pet locked in a vehicle in risky conditions.

SABC 'in contempt of court' if Motsoeneng reports for duty, says DA

SABC 'in contempt of court' if Motsoeneng reports for duty, says DA

The DA's James Selfe says it is not clear whether SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng will be either fired or suspended pending an inquiry.

Tweeps throw shade as court shows Motsoeneng the door

Tweeps throw shade as court shows Motsoeneng the door

A judge has ruled that Hlaudi Motsoeneng should not hold any position at the SABC and Twitter has wasted no time reacting.

Why family traditions matter

Why family traditions matter

Whether it's breaking bread or celebrating through song and dance, family rituals and traditions can create a sense of belonging.

Popular articles
5 highlights from Pravin Gordhan’s state-owned company clean-up

5 highlights from Pravin Gordhan’s state-owned company clean-up

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Corruption Watch Executive Director David Lewis.

ANC Tshwane says the City's mayor knew of the looted R12 billion

ANC Tshwane says the City's mayor knew of the looted R12 billion

ANC Tshwane spokesperson Bafuze Yabo gives details of their planned action against the City of Tshwane.

Jacques Pauw: We need more evidence on the 'The Lost Boys of Bird Island' book

Jacques Pauw: We need more evidence on the 'The Lost Boys of Bird Island' book

Investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw shares his thoughts on 'The Lost Boys of Bird Island' book.

[WATCH] Kid goes from 'be a fart machine at work' to 'I love you dad'

[WATCH] Kid goes from 'be a fart machine at work' to 'I love you dad'

Khabazela shares tweets & videos that have gone viral including a parrot that told firefighters the F-word during its rescue.

How to effortlessly trade rands for Bitcoin and Ethereum

How to effortlessly trade rands for Bitcoin and Ethereum

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Luno Country Manager Marius Reitz.

'Black Tax'... working hard, earning well, but struggling financially

'Black Tax'... working hard, earning well, but struggling financially

Young(ish) South Africans tell stories of the mixed emotions they feel when supporting family members, and tips from an advisor.