Activists: Withdraw info bill

2011-02-24 20:13

Cape Town - Freedom of expression activists the Right2Know Campaign on Thursday called on Parliament to withdraw the protection of information bill and submit it to a second round of public consultation.

"Parliamentarians can either continue to waste their time and the public's money to grapple with the disastrous bill, or they can read the writing on the wall: the secrecy (sic) bill must be withdrawn and resubmitted to a process of public consultation," it said.

The group was of the view that deputy speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo contravened the rules of the legislature when she extended the lifespan of the ad hoc committee drafting the bill at the end of January.

Opposition parties have formally challenged the decision and have refused to continue work on the bill, which would give state agencies wide powers to classify information.

They say that only the National Assembly has the power to extend the lifespan of the committee.

The ANC made two major concessions after the bill provoked a public outcry last year.

It agreed to remove the nebulous concept of national interest as cause for classification, as well as provisions allowing for the classification of commercial information.

But concerns remain about the number of State organs that would be given the right to file information as secret.

Idasa said in a recent submission that the count came to 1 001 and included entities like the Johannesburg Zoo.

The Right2Know Campaign said the bill, widely seen as an attempt to curb media freedom and criticism of government, needed a "line-by-line redraft".

"It is clearer than ever [that] the bill's problems are too big to be polished out," it said.

  • johan - 2011-02-25 00:50


  • Madelane - 2011-02-25 10:34

    The only way that the ANC will curb corruption, nepotism, maladministration and plain ineptitude is by muzzling the press.

      umlaut - 2011-05-24 15:12

      Are you actually joking -if you are it is well said but if you are not....???you may just as well close SA down today...if others other than the dangerous anc is also thinking like you. But you are joking hey???

      umlaut - 2011-05-24 15:29

      And Madelane do you realize that articles like these where you can comment and question things will also be controlled and may be removed because the news media cannot take the chance that you may or may not disclose secrets here.??? Do you want to join them on a retro journey and take your children's future away from them???

  • carjan - 2011-06-01 08:48

    Let the Constitutional Court deal with this . The corrupt Anc will proceed with this in order to hide their corruption and theft. No such enactment can become valid law in a country with a Constitution like ours. The Con Court wil scrap this

  • Mziros - 2011-06-01 09:56

    I still rubish this information bill thing!!! I'm glad my constituency is not reading this otherwise I would be expelled. Where's transparecy in this information bill, I still say any information, except Intelligence and State security information should be made public. Viva ANC!!! Down with Corrupt deployees who want to hide information from us.

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