Information bill meeting delayed

2010-08-12 14:04
Cape Town - State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele has asked for more time to consider submissions made on the protection of information bill.

This has led to a postponement, of several weeks, of Cwele's scheduled briefing to a special parliamentary committee dealing with the bill.

In a statement on Thursday, the ministry said it had been following the process of the public hearings on the bill "with a keen interest".

Various submissions and presentations were made to the ad hoc committee on the bill by members of society, the media and interested organisations.

Cwele viewed these submissions seriously and required sufficient time to consider them comprehensively.

"This has necessitated a request for postponement of the interaction with the ad hoc committee, originally scheduled for Friday 13 August 2010.

"The minister looks forward to a deeper level of discourse on this very important piece of legislation by all sections of our society," the statement read.

In a letter to committee members on Thursday, committee chairperson Cecil Burgess said a postponement of "two to three weeks" had been requested, to which he had agreed.

Concerns

Cwele was set to hear MPs' concerns on Friday after a series of public hearings on the draft law. There had been calls from his predecessor for the State to redraft it to safeguard media freedom.

The bill has been decried as unconstitutional and an attempt to return to apartheid-era repression, because of the wide discretion it gives government officials to classify information, and the harsh penalties it imposes on the press for publishing such information.

One of the main concerns is the absence of any provision that would allow journalists to argue that they acted in the public interest by publishing classified information.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils said he was "appalled" by a suggestion from Burgess that South Africa was becoming "obsessed with openness" and urged the committee to listen to criticism and rework the bill.

"Let's hear critique of the bill and let's improve it," he said.

Also on Tuesday, Burgess, who in previous sessions staunchly defended the bill and gave short shrift to opposition interjections, admitted the bill had "good qualities and bad qualities".

He also indicated that the deadline of September for the committee to finalise the bill may be extended.

"We are at a very early stage and we cannot say what this bill is going to look like. If we are not finished we will extend it again," he said.
- SAPA
Read more on:    siyabonga cwele  |  media  |  legislation
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

Petrol generators from R1399, save up to R350. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Pampers!

Save 30% when you buy 3 or more selected pampers products. While stocks last. Shop now!

This week only - 30% off books!

Get 30% off when you buy 2 or more books. Many titles to choose from. While stocks last. Shop now!

New range of Samsung smartphones!

Samsung Galaxy A3, A5 and Alpha now available at kalahari.com. while stocks last. Shop now!

Buy 3 eBooks & only pay for 2!

The cheapest of the 3 titles will be free. Many more titles to choose from. While stocks last. Shop now!

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a reactive and wilful undercurrent that flavours things today. There is a tendency to take things too personally and then...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.