ANC, editors meet over info bill

2011-12-06 08:49
Johannesburg - A delegation of ANC MPs will meet with media editors in Sandton on Tuesday to discuss the protection of state information bill, the party said.

"The meeting is part of the ANC's ongoing engagement drive on the draft legislation," said African National Congress chief whip Mathole Motshekga.

The delegation, led by Motshekga, would meet the editors at Balalaika Hotel in Sandton at 09:00.

On Friday, Motshekga said his party had never sought to impose the controversial legislation on its members and society broadly.

He also claimed that the ANC's detractors had sought to use the process leading to the passage of the bill by the National Assembly to entrench their perception that the ANC was divided.

Two weeks ago the National Assembly passed the bill, also known as the secrecy bill.

Resistance

Last week the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), SA National Editors Forum and the Right 2 Know Campaign announced a seven-point plan of resistance against the legislation.

The absence of a public interest defence clause in the bill was a major point of contention, as those who report corruption could 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.

- SAPA

Read more on:    anc  |  sanef  |  mathole motshekga  |  johannesburg  |  legislation  |  info bill  |  politics  |  media
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