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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:10 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Stark wrote:
This is the kind of discussion I love to see on this forum. Well articulated differences of opinion, respectfully expressed. Nice job, all. :thumbs_up:

Sometimes the freedom of speech and expression, as guaranteed in many progressive constitutions including the SA Constitution, covers some less than life threatening areas. :)

For example, on this forum we are allowed to 1) discuss where to buy food outside of KNP, even though this is a valuable service that is offered in KNP and such advice from forumites can take away money from being spent in the park, but not allowed to 2) discuss where to stay outside of KNP, even in JoBerg, as this is also a valuable service that is offered within KNP. Yet, we can discuss the positives and negatives of various accommodations within KNP on the open forum.

What gives the government of SA, in the form of SANParks, the constitutional right to say that it is okay to advocate on the open forum competing services outside of the park in some cases, but suppress the expression of opinion on others? No laws are being broken. Why isn't this protected speech and expression?



Stark, my understanding is simply that the forum has a marketing, as well as an educational function. It would be like inviting anther dog to go and lift his leg against your tree.

In my running years, I remember how we were banned from wearing any branded clothing from companies other than the company sponsoring the race. I actually witnessed people pulled off the road on a couple of occasions. On races that are televised, it could mean disqualification. I have never seen that particular rule as a hindrance.

It is possible to pm information, which I think is fair.

You are right though. There are many grey areas. The fact that Sanparks took note of people's unhappiness with restaurant services demonstrates that pertinent criticism is not only tolerated, but also acted on.

I do think that there could be a better use made of the forum as a way to gauge public sentiment, but I have seen that this improves every year. Even the accessibility of internet services has posed certain logistical problems.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies when it comes to using the forum to express dissatisfaction. The tone of expression can be at times disrespectful, and that is never helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:42 am 
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Stark wrote:
What gives the government of SA, in the form of SANParks, the constitutional right to say that it is okay to advocate on the open forum competing services outside of the park in some cases, but suppress the expression of opinion on others? No laws are being broken. Why isn't this protected speech and expression?

Hi Stark

SANParks did explain the reasoning behind this when you put the question in another topic, it can be found on this link.

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:53 am 
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I have not been able to read what I shall refer to as the offending post. What is under discussion here is our Constitutional right of freedom of speech.
The Constitutional Court discussed the content of this right in two landmark judgments. In the case of the State vs Mamabolo 2001 ( 3 ) S A 409 ( CC ). Judge Kriegler ( the Judge who supervised our first democratic election in 1994 ) dealt with the right to criticise Judges and the courts. He said " However such vocal public scrutiny performs another important Constitutional function. It constitutes a democratic check on the judiciary. The judiciary exercises a public power and it is right that there be an appropriate check on such power ."
In the case of South African National Defence Union vs Minister of Defence and Another 1999 ( 4 ) S A 469 ( CC ) the following was said in regard to the right of free speech " The rights implicitly recognise the importance , both for a democratic society and for individuals personally, of the ability to form and express opinions ---- even when those views are controversial " and " freedom of expression lies at the heart of a democracy. It is valuable for many reasons including its instrumental function as a guarantor of democracy."
I hope this will shed some light on the topic and also that moderators will uphold the principles enunciated in these judgments.


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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:05 pm 
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I have read this topic with great interest.

Let me start off by making something clear: I have previously criticized Sanparks and I am in no way here to "protect" them. I have not done much for conservation other than to pay my conservation fees when entering the parks. I am not as active in various projects as many mites are.

However, it is my respectful opinion that many mites are missing the concept of freedom of speech. Firstly, all rights contained in Chapter 2 of the Constitution (The human rights) are limited in terms of Section 36.

Secondly, and more importantly, this forum is a privately hosted forum. When we signed on we accepted the terms and conditions. As such, Sanparks do in actual fact have the right to limit what is written here.

I will come back to the above, but as an example, consider this scenario. Your mistress writes on YOUR private Facebook page that you are a lousy Son of a you-know-what and that you are less than adequately equipped t perform in certain areas. It is her opinion. It might even be true. HOWEVER, you have the choice whether to leave that post on your FB wall or not as it is yours (well technically it belongs to FB but you know what I mean). YOU have the choice to delete such comments, whether true or not. She might argue that it is her right to voice her freedom of speech. Your response would be: "Sure you have, BUT NOT ON MY FB PAGE" Same principle applies here.

You will obviously also have the recourse of a claim for defamation, but that is something else. The fact is that you are within your right to delete such a post without infringing any of her rights. In the same manner Sanparks, the owner of this forum, is ALLOWED to delete or block any comments should they wish to do so.

WHICH BRINGS US TO THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION:

WHY ARE THEY BLOCKING IT AND SHOULD THEY? Their response is that it might harm relation with donors etc. I have not seen the original posts in order to comment on that. I do believe that it will be sad if all posts are deleted that do not paint Sanparks in a good light (not that this is always done, the example of the restaurants is a good one).

So, bottom line, the argument should not be if Sanparks CAN delete certain posts, but rather if they SHOULD and if they do, WHY are they doing it? There i thus no freedom of speech on a privately hosted forum as the host has the last say on what goes and what not.

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:47 pm 
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I know that the right to freedom of speech is not an absolute right without limitations. The right is limited inter alia because of the law relating to defamation. Sanparks is however a public institution ( an organ of state ) and as such it is legally permissible to scrutinize its performance in terms of its mandate critically on this forum.


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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:50 pm 
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Quote:
Sanparks is however a public institution ( an organ of state ) and as such it is legally permissible to scrutinize its performance in terms of its mandate critically


Agree 100%. It is our obligation as nature lovers to do so.


Quote:
on this forum


This is where the problem lies, they have no obligation to allow it. (But perhaps they should allow it?)

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:18 pm 
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Troupant1 wrote:
Sanparks is however a public institution ( an organ of state ) and as such it is legally permissible to scrutinize its performance in terms of its mandate critically on this forum.

Which is permitted.

A few random links, there are many more across the forums:-

THE "WILD” IS WILD NO LONGER: An Open Letter to Management

A Spa planned for Skukuza

Retail chains in our Parks?

Is this what visitors to our National Parks really want?

The 'Hotel' topic

Adventure activities survey for national parks

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:41 pm 
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I saw the reasoning given, DB, but I did t ask for that in this thread. I asked for what gives them the right to limit expression and speech, not their intentions for doing so.

Some folks are mixing up what a company or private entity can do vs what a government that must abide free speech and expression can do. Others are mixing up illegal speech (e.g. Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater) that breaks the law with legal speech, sometime hard to hear, that breaks no law. M

This forum is managed and paid for as a service by SANParks, and not a private Facebook page or a company website. I think? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:19 am 
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Troupant1 wrote:
I know that the right to freedom of speech is not an absolute right without limitations. The right is limited inter alia because of the law relating to defamation. Sanparks is however a public institution ( an organ of state ) and as such it is legally permissible to scrutinize its performance in terms of its mandate critically on this forum.


The function of the forum is linked to Sanparks and conservation as a whole. It is run on rules of principle and respect. When people are disciplined, it is not because of not towing the Sanparks line, it is because of infringing on those rules.

I have said many times before, that the mods are not here to police the forum, but to follow guidelines laid down in the rules. When we sign onto the forum, we agree to abide by those rules. Most forums have these conditions. It is our signature, not the mods, that binds us to certain behavior.

When anyone is ''taken to court'', the infringed rule is pertinently pointed out. The person is most likely to have been reported by a fellow forumite who has found certain words/attitudes/tones unacceptable.

Anyone who looks through the rules will notice that they are based on fundamental principles ''to do no harm''. I have witnessed slander, racism, generalisations, accusations.. every kind of disrespectful behavior that infringes on the rights of fellow forum members. That does not promote freedom at any level.

Freedom can only function in an environment that encourages mutual respect. By all means have your say, but do it in a way that does not leave bleeding and bodies.

We have a duty to ''do unto others as we would be done unto ourselves''. That is not about not being open, but it is about being mindful.

People are expelled from schools because of bad behavior. They are given reasons why and nobody would question a decision if it was bringing the school into disrepute. Schools too, are state institutions. The forum is no different.

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:20 am 
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Stark wrote:
I saw the reasoning given, DB, but I did t ask for that in this thread. I asked for what gives them the right to limit expression and speech, not their intentions for doing so.

Some folks are mixing up what a company or private entity can do vs what a government that must abide free speech and expression can do. Others are mixing up illegal speech (e.g. Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater) that breaks the law with legal speech, sometime hard to hear, that breaks no law. M

This forum is managed and paid for as a service by SANParks, and not a private Facebook page or a company website. I think? :)


Stark, spot on.

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:28 am 
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Scipio wrote:
Thank you very much, I do have screenprints that will be forwarded withing the next day, and now I shall return to the conservation side of things. :whistle:

Hi Scipio,

No evidence has been received so far.

You owe the Mods an apology.

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:33 am 
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I will forward it withing the next 10 minutes, so no apology forthcoming. Just clarify the mail addy for me please.


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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:35 am 
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Ps, I am trying to do this the correct way, so you previous pos on open forum is a bit over the top dont you think, or must I also post it here on the open forum?

Just asking.


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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:55 am 
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Hi Scipio,

Because we need screenshots, it might be easier for you to email.

However, if you prefer to post here - and embed the pics - that's fine too.

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 Post subject: Re: Freedom of speech comes with responsibility
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:17 pm 
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Thanks, mail has been sent and I dont think screenshots here will be in the interest of this forum thanks.


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