South African president Jacob Zuma asks $700,000 for defamation

Jacob Zuma has been charged of rape in 2008 and it seems this is still following him nowadays. Right after the accusation, Times newspaper created a cartoon with the president preparing to rape a woman that symbolized justice and now South African president is asking for justice – he has filled a defamation suit in which he asks for $700,000.

A lawyer of the Sunday Times said until now Mr. Jacob Zuma has not threatened with a sue and this is quite unexpected while it was launched in the same time with the discussions regarding media freedom. Zuma’s party has secretly proposed a low that gives the freedom of imprisoning reporters for sharing classified information. Moreover, according to the law proposed by African National Congress party, they would like to create a media tribunal, ruled by politicians with unlimited powers for punishing journalists.

On the other hand, Jonathan Shapiro, the cartoonist that created this scandal and also one of the best South African political cartoonists said this sue will only create more buzz about what happened in 2008 and the one that will suffer will be Zuma as well while the rumors said he tried to intimidate authorities 2 years ago when the accusation was released. It seems that the African National Congress party was involved in a massive protest for the charges to be dropped and the prosecutors somehow dropped them.

A formal complaint was filed back in 2008 but the commission decided that the cartoon stays under the radar and does complain to Zuma’s constitutional rights to dignity, though i twas offensive and distasteful, according to journalists.

Jacob Zuma is asking for $570,000 for humiliation and degradation and $140,000 for damage to his reputation. In the same time, Jonathan Shapiro says the case is almost a victory, both for him and for freedom of speech.