Mogoeng Mogoeng: ‘Freedom of expression has gone out the window’

Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng reckons the concept of freedom of expression is lost in South Africans as more people continue being shunned for expressing controversial views.

In an explosive interview on eNCA‘s Power to Truth, Mogoeng, who retired from the Constitutional Court in October 2021, essentially speaks about cancel culture and its consequences.

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Probably speaking from experience, Mogoeng found himself at the centre of controversy in 2020 when he expressed pro-Israel sentiments during a webinar hosted by The Jerusalem Post and was recently forced to apologise. The former CJ had lamented South Africa’s current stance on the Israel-Palestine matter and called for a more balanced approach, to enable greater change in the debate.

He tells eNCA that there needs to be more diverse voices, especially on particular issues, to avoid the assumption that a particular narrative is being advanced. He even called out the media and urged the industry to open up the pool of commentators who contribute to stories.

“I think freedom of expression has gone out of the window… There is a lot of harassment of people who dare to express themselves freely, as long as what they say does not accord with a preferred narrative. I think we must correct that”

Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng

BACKGROUND ON MOGOENG’S PRO-ISRAEL DRAMA: During the webinar, the former CJ had said, “The forgiveness that was demonstrated, the understanding and big heart displayed by President Nelson Mandela and we, the people of South Africa, is an asset we must use around the world to bring peace when there is no peace and to mediate effectively based on rich experience.”

The remark was met with backlash and he was reported to the Judicial Conduct Committee, which found him guilty and ordered him to apologise. He challenged the ruling with the Judicial Conduct Appeals Committee – which ruled against him – finding that he breached the Judicial Code of Conduct by involving himself in matters that caused political controversy.

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