Zuma drops lawsuits against media

BY: Isaac Yeboah

President Jacob Zuma has withdrawn defamation cases against some media groups in the name of nation buildingPresident Jacob Zuma has withdrawn all defamation suites and legal claims against various media groups. The claims were based on articles or cartoons which President Zuma viewed as designed to bringing his name into disrepute.
In a press release, the Presidency says that many of the claims were instituted before he became President. It says that President Zuma took the decision in consultation with his legal team.

Last year, Zuma moved to withdraw a defamation case against satirist, Johanthan Shapiro, popularly known as Zapiro. Zuma says the decision to withdraw all claims was informed by the broader agenda of reconciliation and nation- building.

The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has welcomed news of the withdrawal of the defamation lawsuits. Sanef chairperson, Nic Dawes, says the decision to withdraw the claims is a step in the right direction.

"President Zuma's many defamation suits have been hanging over a number of news organisations for years now and it is a very welcome move that he has decided to withdraw them in the interests of the country," says Dawes.

He says that certainly Sanef hopes that this will set a precedent for other political leaders in South Africa not to use defamation law as an instrument to try to limit robust political speech and dialogue.

Source: SABC