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Monday, 14 May 2012

READERS ATTACK ‘TIMES’ FOR GAY HATE


The Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, angered its readers after allowing one of its regular columnists to write hate speech against homosexuals. 

Readers called on the editor of the paper to account for why he allowed the article to be published.

Qalakaliboli Dlamini, who writes for the paper each week, proudly proclaimed himself to be ‘homophobic’, as he declared, ‘I hate homosexuality with every fibre of hair or flesh in my body.’ He said homosexuals performed ‘satanic deeds’ and were an ‘abomination’.

Dlamini wrote 1,500 words in his column attacking homosexuals as a reaction to the recently-published Behavioral Surveillance Survey of Swaziland which reported the views of 324 gay men in the kingdom.

Dlamini’s article breaks the rules of Times of Swaziland group of newspapers, of which the Times Sunday is a member. Rules for contributors to the Times’ website state, ‘Comments that contain racist, sexist or homophobic remarks—or that may be interpreted as such—won’t be’ published.’

Readers who contacted the Times via its website condemned Dlamini’s article.

One reader wrote, ‘The editor must answer to his readers as to why he allowed this article to be published. In fact he should question why Mr Dlamini’s badly researched, ill thought out and poorly written articles continue to be published at all. He is an embarrassment to a proper newspaper.’

Another reader called the article ‘utter bigotry’ and ‘shameful’.

Yet another reader called Dlamini ‘shallow minded’ and ‘pathetic’.

Another called it an ‘appalling article’.

Dlamini’s article breaks the Swaziland National Association of Journalists (SNAJ) code of ethical conduct on hate speech, which states, ‘Journalists shall avoid by all means the publication of speech that might promote hatred, spite and conflict amongst the Swazi or any other nation.’

Hate speech is a type of speech or writing which can do any of the following: deliberately offend, degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against someone based on their race, ethnicity, profession, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. It can be aimed at an individual; or racial, ethnic, religious or other group. Such speech generally seeks to condemn or dehumanize the individual or group; or express anger, hatred, violence or contempt toward them.

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