Party to petition Zuma over Information Bill

2011-08-31 14:57

The ACDP will petition President Jacob Zuma following the exclusion of a public interest defence in the Protection of Information Bill.

The party expressed “deep disappointment in the ANC’s decision” not to include such a defence.

“It is ludicrous to compel a journalist who is leaked classified information – which exposes state fraud or corruption, or even an imminent danger to public safety – to first surrender that document to the local police station before applying for declassification or approaching a court of law,” it said in a statement.

“The mere delivery of that classified document to the police will no doubt result in a police investigation into that journalist’s source. This will result in a chilling effect on press freedom in the country.”

Said Steve Swart, MP and member of the ad hoc committee on Information Bill: “The ACDP has vigorously argued for the inclusion of a public interest defence to protect journalists and members of the public who disclose classified information in the public interest, such as to expose fraud and corruption. In our view, no compelling argument was presented for not including such a defence.”

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