Media briefing on info bill meeting

2011-12-09 08:49
Johannesburg - The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) will brief the media on Friday on its meeting with the ANC on the protection of state information bill.

CPJ chair Sandra Mims-Rowe said she would also discuss current "media freedom issues".

The ANC met with the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef), and Media Monitoring Africa on Tuesday to discuss the bill.

ANC parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the meeting had allowed parties to listen to each other "beyond the noise that has been created in the media where we were speaking past each other".

The draft was passed on November 22 in the National Assembly by 229 votes to 107 with two abstentions.

Several newspapers ran front page editorials saying the bill would criminalise the use of classified information to expose government corruption.

Plan of resistance


Last week, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, Sanef and the Right2Know Campaign announced a seven-point plan of resistance to the legislation.

The absence of a public interest defence clause in the bill is a major point of contention, as those who report corruption can face criminal charges.

Broad definitions of terms in the bill - such as what constitutes a matter of national interest - have also been criticised as being potentially detrimental to transparency and government accountability.

The legislation was also viewed as conflicting with constitutionally enshrined rights including access to information, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Proponents of the bill argue that it is essential to establish a legal framework for the handling of sensitive state information.

The National Council of Provinces has yet to debate the legislation, which is necessary before it can be signed into law by President Jacob Zuma.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  sanef  |  cpj  |  media  |  info bill

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