Cwele to meet Sanef tomorrow

2010-11-11 14:52

State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele will meet the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) in Pretoria tomorrow to discuss the Protection of Information Bill, the ministry said.

The meeting is a follow-up to a two-day discussion between Sanef and government delegates, led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, in Magaliesburg last month on the bill and a ruling party proposal for a tribunal to regulate the media.

Recalling that meeting, the ministry said: “Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe expressed that government had no intention to undermine freedom of expression and the freedom of the media to function effectively.

“The deputy president also stressed that Parliament will not pass laws which go against the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.”

Sanef and other commentators had been critical of the bill and plans by the ANC to implement a statutory media appeals tribunal.

The parliamentary committee processing the bill has implemented a suggestion by Cwele to scrap clauses that would have enabled government to classify commercial information and enabled the state to use the vague notion of national interest as a rationale for keeping information under wraps.

But the ruling party has resisted calls to introduce a so-called public interest defence to protect journalists who publish classified information.

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