Writers protest against media 'muzzle'

2010-08-21 13:00

Johannesburg - Jeopardising the freedom of writers will endanger the freedom of every reader in South Africa, renowned authors said on Friday in protest against proposed controls over the South African media.

"Writing presupposes an interaction with readers. And so, if the work and the freedom of the writer are in jeopardy, the freedom of every reader in South Africa is in danger.

"Consequently our protest is an action undertaken by South Africans for all South Africans, committing ourselves to a demand for our free country: freedom of thought expressed, freedom of dialogue, freedom from fear of the truth about ourselves, all South Africans," said a statement.

The protest, organised by acclaimed authors Andre Brink and Nadine Gordimer, is opposing government's draft Protection of Information Bill and the ANC's proposed media tribunal.

Wide support

It is being supported by fellow writers Zakes Mda, Abraham H de Vries, Chris Barnard, Breyten Breytenbach, Marlene van Niekerk, Zo Wicomb, Damon Galgut, Mandla Langa, Etienne van Heerden, Hermann Giliomee, Fred Khumalo and Justice Malala.

"Denial of freedom of expression makes a mockery of the profession of journalism - the print press and the media in general.

"As writers - whether novelists, poets, playwrights, essayists, historians, biographers or others - we too are threatened by denial of freedom of the word."

Many of the writers supporting the protest were banned under the apartheid regime.

"We are threatened again, now with a gag over the word processor if we penetrate the 'transparency' promised in the new South Africa, which a media tribunal will replace with the descent of a shutter over the dialogue of the arts."

The bill and the tribunal have led to debate over media freedom. The ANC has argued that current media watchdog, the Press Ombudsman, is not sufficient and an alternative to self-regulation was needed.

The Protection of Information Bill seeks to regulate the classification of information and makes publishing top secret documents a crime punishable with up to 25 years in prison.

- SAPA
Read more on:    andre brink  |  nadine gordimer  |  media
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are a master at juggling and seeing the bigger picture, but when the focus is on you in a one on one situation things can...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.