South African advertising industry faces Human Rights Commission inquiry

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has announced that it expects to convene an inquiry into allegations of racial discrimination within the advertising industry next year.

The inquiry is expected to sit during the last week of February 2022.

According to the SAHRC, the inquiry comes on the back of the fighting and publication of advertisements that have caused uproar from within the industry and society because of racist undertones.

“In order to avoid the publication of another tone-deaf racist or discriminatory advert, and to ensure… [the promotion] of respect for human rights, a culture of human rights, and protection, development and attainment of human rights, the Commission will undertake an investigation, into, amongst other aspects, the creation and publication of adverts and the people involved.”

The commission said following the inquiry, medium to long term interventions will be drafted for the industry.

“[These] will instil… a culture of human rights and produce mechanisms that promote equality and prevent unfair discrimination, and, in doing so, prevent the publication of… racist, sexist, tribalist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic or ableist… advertisements”.

The SAHRC has invited members of the public, advertising agencies, retailers, regulatory bodies, marketers, organisations, government departments and entities and interest groups to make written submissions to the Commission in this regard.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, 31 January 2022.

Written submissions may be submitted via email at [email protected], fax at 011 403 0668 or hand delivered to 1st Floor, 27 Stiemens Street, JD House, Braamfontein


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South African advertising industry faces Human Rights Commission inquiry