A crucial part of IPA's mission is to inform member associations and the wider global publishing community about breaking developments which will impact publishers. We do this through a number of channels. the IPA website, our monthly e-newsletter, press releases and the IPA's dedicated social media feeds.

President Zuma has withdrawn his claim for compensation and an apology against cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (“Zapiro”).

IPA welcomes the withdrawal of the case and calls on all similar defamation cases breaching freedom of expression to be dropped to send a signal that the authorities fully respect freedom of expression.

“Zapiro”, famous South African cartoonist, and his newspaper have been facing a lawsuit by South African President Zuma for the publication of a controversial political cartoon commenting on President Zuma’s handling of the Judiciary. In June 2012 at the IPA Congress in Cape Town “Zapiro” was awarded the IPA Freedom to Publish Prize for courage under difficult conditions. He has a statement for IPA and the world.

In 2008, Jacob Zuma, later to become South Africa’s President, had sued Avusa Media, the publisher of the Sunday Times, the ex-editor of the newspaper, and Jonathan Shapiro over a September 2008 political cartoon by “Zapiro” depicting President Zuma about to rape “Lady Justice”. As South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma was still pursuing this case, seeking R100,000 of compensation for defamation (down from R5 million initially 1), and an apology, until withdrawing his claim for damages late last week. The first court hearing, before Johannesburg’s High Court, was due to take place on 25 October 2012.

In commenting President Zuma’s decision, Jonathan Shapiro said: “Although I have said for four years that I am ready and willing to go to court, it was a relief to hear that the charges have been dropped with no strings attached and that President Zuma’s side is paying costs. It is a comprehensive victory for the Sunday Times, for our superb legal team, for me as a cartoonist and for freedom of expression. I stand by the cartoon I drew in 2008 which said metaphorically that Zuma was bullying the justice system to get corruption charges against him dropped so that he could become president. It is disingenuous of President Zuma and his spokesman Mac Maharaj that in their statement about why they dropped the charges, they claim it is a magnanimous gesture for the good of the nation and for freedom of expression. It’s clear from the delaying tactics they used to prevent the case coming to court before the ANC’s end of year national conference that they dropped the charges for their own ends. What they also say in their statement, and which we hope to hold them to, is that a sitting president should not be pursuing defamation cases such as this, no matter how offended he may be. I hope that in the light of this, President Zuma drops his other law suit against me (for R10 million) and all the other defamation cases he has pending against other media practitioners.”

Bjørn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee, said: “I hope that the South African Government will soon understand that critics are a small price to pay to be a true democracy.

We commend President Zuma’s move to withdraw his claim for compensation against Jonathan Shapiro in the “Lady Justice” case and urge him to withdraw similar defamation claims against Shapiro and others to send a signal that the authorities fully respect freedom of expression. In 2006, Mr Zuma sued Zapiro for R15 million over 3 cartoons done during Mr Zuma’s rape trial (Mr Zuma was acquitted). The amount demanded has been reduced, but the lawsuit has not been withdrawn.”

1 i.e. from USD 574,875 to USD 11,500.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn


Michiel Kolman
20 May 2020
Publishing industry
Educational Publishing
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity & Inclusion in the publishing industry is not only relevant for the workforce in our industry (see my previous blog on key surveys measuring exactly that), but also for what we publish. Important questions that arise are ...
Michiel Kolman
24 April 2020
Publishing industry
Diversity and Inclusion
It has been impressive to see how fast our industry has responded to the challenges presented by COVID-19. While many publishers are busy trying to keep their businesses running, it would be easy to dismiss diversity and inclusion (D&I) as just a...
Ben Steward
23 April 2020
Publishing industry
Two weeks into the COVID-19 (née coronavirus) pandemic and its attendant doldrums, I noticed some A-list singers were performing via Instagram from the discomfort of their homes. Chris Martin and John Legend were among the first to sign up to the&nbs...
Michiel Kolman
31 March 2020
Publishing industry
Diversity and Inclusion

Close scrutiny showed a more complex but also more positive answer for both the UK and US.

Michiel Kolman
30 January 2020
Publishing industry
Diversity and Inclusion
As we start a new decade, the subject of diversity remains firmly on the radar for most businesses and industries in 2020. This is also true for our own publishing industry as we continue to see how issues around diversity and inclusion, such as wome...
Michiel Kolman
18 December 2019
Publishing industry
Diversity and Inclusion

IPA D&I envoy, Michiel Kolman interviews Elsevier’s Simon Holt and Springer Nature’s Kirsty Bone about their experiences of having a disability and working in the publishing industry. This is a long but fascinating read.

Hugo Setzer
07 November 2019
Publishing industry

October and the first days of November were again very busy, with visits to four different countries and three book fairs in the course of three weeks.

James Taylor
25 October 2019
Publishing industry

SCCR 39 concluded this evening with an agreement found on how to keep the Exceptions and Limitations discussion moving forward and the other agenda items wrapped up and a possible new issue raised in the chamber.

Press Releases campaign 2020


Press Releases campaign 2019


Press Releases campaign 2018


Newsletters campaigns 2020


Newsletters campaigns 2019


Newsletters campaigns 2018


International Publishers Association

23, avenue de France
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
+41 22 704 18 20

Subscribe to our newsletter