South Africa: Police Probe Social Media Posts Accusing Men of Rape, After Threats Made

13 September 2019

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Brooklyn, Pretoria is investigating social media accounts which have tweeted rape allegations against men. In some cases, threats have been made against the men.

In a statement released on Friday, police spokesperson Captain Colette Weilbach has cautioned users against posting names of alleged rapists on social media.

Weilbach said a number of cases were opened at the police station for defamation of character.

"The young men opened cases for defamation of character and are fearing for their safety based on these unfounded allegations. No case dockets were opened against them for the alleged offences," said Weilbach.

News24 earlier reported that Twitter accounts have surfaced in reaction to the #AmINext hashtag to "expose" alleged rapists. Accounts such as @AmINext_sa, @HSurvivers3 and @helpsurvivers have received messages from women outing their abusers.

On Thursday, News24 reported that Twitter had suspended the @helpsurvivors account.

These accounts then "expose" the men, posting their names and pictures. Weilbach said threats were made against the alleged rapists.

In the statement, "criminal defamation" is described as "the unlawful intentional publication of matter concerning another which tends seriously to injure his or her good name or reputation".

"The allegation that someone is a rapist is unquestionably defamatory in law. Posts like these can have serious and lasting consequences."

Weilbach said the social media user who initiated the post and those who shared or retweeted it were potentially liable and if found guilty, they could be held liable for "all probable consequences of the statement, including those flowing from republication by third parties".

Source: News24

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: News24Wire

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.