Freedom of Expression

SALC’s Freedom of Expression work is integrated within its other programmatic areas and focuses on the following objectives:

  • To conduct advocacy and litigation around the decriminalisation of expression, with a focus on challenging criminal defamation, sedition, and terrorism legislation which infringes on freedom of expression.
  • To support litigation which challenges infringements of the right form associations and to protest.
  • To support the criminal defence of journalists and human rights defenders who are persecuted for their views.
  • To litigate and advocate for the removal of offences which hinder movement building and the ability of marginalised groups to form associations, assemble and advocate for their rights.

On-going cases:

Swaziland: Case challenging the constitutionality of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act.
Swaziland: Case challenging the constitutionality of the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
Botswana: Case challenging refusal to provide access to information.
Botswana: Amicus curiae application of MISA Botswana to challenge a provision in corruption legislation which criminalises publication of information.
Malawi: Protecting right to freedom of expression for woman human rights defenders

Precedent cases:

Lesotho: Case challenging the offence of criminal defamation.
Zimbabwe: Support amicus curiae in case confirming that criminal defamation no longer an offence in Zimbabwe.
Botswana: Case challenging the refusal to register an LGBT organisation.
Swaziland: Supporting lawyer and editor charged with contempt of court.
Zambia: Support activist’s right to freedom of expression.
Zimbabwe: Case challenging the refusal to allow sex workers to march.

18 Jun 2019 Staff Writer
SALC IN THE NEWS: Is speaking truth to Swazi royal power bringing slow change?...

THe IPP Media Little news emerges from Eswatini, the tiny monarchy landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique, except lurid stories about the latest shenanigans of King Mswati III and his many wives. So it's hardly surprising that few outsiders-and not…

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24 May 2019 Staff Writer
Statement: SALC condemns the arrest and ongoing detention of four human rights d...

SALC condemns the arrests of Tatenda Mombeyara, Gamuchirai Mukura, George Makoni and Nyasha Mpahlo by Zimbabwean authorities on Monday, 20 May 2019. The four NGO leaders were abducted by the police from Robert Mugabe International Airport upon their return to…

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23 May 2019 Staff Writer
News Release: SALC concerned about judicial persecution of human rights lawyers ...

SALC is concerned about the criminal charges laid against human rights lawyer Doug Coltart who was summoned to the Harare Central Police Station on the 28th April 2019 and was charged with ‘participating in gathering with intent to promote public…

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21 May 2019 Staff Writer
Malawi: The Internet Should Stay On to Help Ensure a Free and Fair Election in M...

Over the weekend, Director General of the Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA), Godfrey Itaye, called a meeting in Blantyre to take place at 17h30 on Saturday, 18 May 2019.  The meeting’s pressing action item: discussing the government’s attempt to shutdown…

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20 May 2019 Staff Writer
The Internet Shutdowns Cast Doubt on Election Integrity: Malawi and Mozambique S...

By: Tyler Walton (SALC Fellow) On Sunday 28 April, starting at around midnight, people in Benin were unable to access social media sites and apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, and Viber.  The partial shutdown was followed by a…

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11 Mar 2019 Staff Writer
SALC Research Report: Alignment of Eswatini’s Domestic Laws with Recommend...

It is more than seventy years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted yet the struggle to achieve full realisation of human rights remains a pressing reality. One of the challenges hampering the enjoyment of human rights…

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08 Mar 2019 Staff Writer
The Gender Gap in Southern African Politics: The gap between the law and reality...

Participation in the political process is at the heart of democratic values.  Democratic election of leaders is a civic exercise of selecting leaders that can best represent the interest of the voter.  Public offices across Southern Africa have had consistently…

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28 Jan 2019 Staff Writer
News Release: Stolen election in the DRC does not bode well for peace and securi...

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) is deeply concerned for ongoing peace and stability in the DRC following massive election fraud and a questionable decision from the Constitutional Court. Despite the 2018 elections being the first to lead to a…

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25 Jan 2019 Staff Writer
News Release: International Crimes being committed in Zimbabwe...

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) is concerned with reports of serious human rights violations and commission of atrocities by the police forces, government armed forces and ZANU PF members in Zimbabwe since Monday 14 January. Following country wide protests…

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23 Jan 2019 Staff Writer
Media Advisory: Malawi High court to hear case on Freedom of Expression...

Lilongwe, Malawi – On Monday 28 January 2019, the Malawi High Court will hear the case of a female Human Rights Defender who was arrested and detained by the Police for holding a poster deemed to be offensive whilst attending a…

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23 Jan 2019 Tambudzai Gonese
Protecting right to freedom of expression for Woman Human Rights Defenders...

SALC is supporting the Women Lawyers Association (WLA) of Malawi to challenge the arbitrary arrest and detention of a Woman Human Rights Defender(WHRD) on a charge of "Insulting the Modesty of a Woman" in contravention of section 137(3) of the…

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10 Dec 2018 Anneke Meerkotter
Reflection on the Closing of Civic Spaces in Southern Africa...

From 14 to 16 November 2018, 100 human rights defenders from across Southern Africa met to discuss the closing of civic spaces in the region. The Summit noted points for activism to ensure that human rights defenders are able to…

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