Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

If you’re looking to find real "hate speech", you probably won’t find it on The Huffington Post. The website’s editor, Verashni Pillay, resigned on Saturday after the press ombudsman found that an opinion column carried by the Post, arguing that white men should be disenfranchised, amounted to "hate speech".

There’s no sugarcoating that it was a disaster. Pillay’s team published the blog post by an academic called Shelley Garland, which, it turns out, was a pseudonym for a white man named Marius Roodt. The facts in the story were wrong; the argument objectionable. But Roodt had written it to make the (rather obvious) point that fact-checking is scant in the modern SA media environment.

But hate speech? Media lawyer Dario Milo certainly doesn’t think so, as it doesn’t "incite people to cause harm".

If you’re really looking for hate speech, you might want to check out the platform that became a toxic echo chamber for those people demanding that Pillay resign: Twitter. The social media platform is a cesspit of anger, vitriol and unbridled animosity. Abuse and incorrect facts are the order of the day. Bristling with bullying and narcissism, Twitter is a digital manifestation of the worst of humanity.

If anyone should be held accountable for inciting hatred based on false facts, it’s that platform and its users.

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