06 October 2020, IOL, Bongani Nkosi

This is the view of the Joburg-based Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) organisation, which has been admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case.

An unofficial media watchdog, MMA urged the SCA in its heads of argument to make a ruling that takes a position against disinformation on social media.

MMA said social media in South Africa carried benefits for freedom of expression and access to information, but “it also carries significant risks” in that it was a platform to spread disinformation “on an enormous and unprecedented scale and pace”.

“MMA therefore submits that in deciding this matter and in considering the defences concerned in a social media context, this court ought to do so in a manner that is likely to prevent, rather than encourage, disinformation,” said the organisation’s papers signed by its counsel, Steven Budlender SC.

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