Info bill will compromise research - UJ

2011-09-20 11:38
Johannesburg - The senate of the University of Johannesburg has urged the legislature not to adopt the protection of state information bill in its present form.

UJ deputy vice chancellor Prof Adam Habib said on Tuesday the bill did not address the concerns of citizens and had a negative impact on academic research.

"The bill in its present form will not only enable the cover up of corruption and incompetence, but it will also compromise the research of many academics and the work of many journalists which is essential for ensuring the public scrutiny of decisions made in government and in state institutions," he said.

"Even more importantly the present bill proposes limits to freedom and will ultimately diminish the democratic character of our society."

Constitutional democracy

The senate called on the legislature and the ANC to return the bill to the drafting committee, and asked it to engage civil society institutions, including universities, with a view to redrafting it so that it is compatible and in tune with South Africa's constitutional democracy.

The ANC announced on Monday that it would not go ahead with the planned tabling of the bill on Tuesday.

This was to enable further consultation on the bill, but it would be passed by December.

The bill's intention is to protect certain state information from destruction or disclosure.

Civil society and media representatives have expressed concern over what they believe are the over-reaching powers of the bill to criminalise possession of certain information by a journalist or member of the public that would expose corruption or wrong doing by a government official.

Read more on:    uj  |  info bill  |  media  |  legislation

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