Activists vow to challenge info bill

2012-11-28 21:01
Info bill (Picture: Sapa)

Info bill (Picture: Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The Right2Know Campaign on Wednesday warned it will launch a constitutional challenge to the protection of state information bill if it is signed into law without further amendments.

"The secrecy bill remains a threat to our democracy and we will continue our campaign to stop the secrecy bill," the movement, born in opposition to the official secrets draft law, said in a statement.

"If Parliament fails to introduce the necessary amendments and President [Jacob] Zuma signs it into law, the Right2Know will take the fight to the Constitutional Court."

ANC MPs on the National Council of Provinces ad hoc committee handling the bill on Tuesday approved a report adopting the legislation, while opposition MPs walked out in protest.

It is scheduled to be debated in the council on Thursday and is likely to be passed, thanks to the ruling party's majority.

The bill will then be sent back to the National Assembly for approval before the president can sign it.

Right2Know said despite last-minute amendments, the bill still clashed with the constitutional rights to freedom of information and expression and was likely to lead to over-classification.

It criminalised mere possession of secret documents, as well as publishing classified information even already in the public domain.

And, the group added, lawmakers had failed to narrow down the definition of national security as the rationale for classification sufficiently, leaving room for security officials to suppress disclosures in the public interest.

"The secrecy bill still carries the fingerprints of the securocrats who have remained the 'hidden hand' behind this process from the start."

MPs should vote with their conscience and reject the bill, it said.

The SA National Editor's Forum also said the bill remained a threat to democracy and urged NCOP members to reject it and force a redraft.

"We call on members to take this final opportunity to reject it outright, by voting against the bill.

The SA Chapter of Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa-SA) appealed to NCOP members to vote against the bill.

"If this is done media freedom - which is no more than the peoples’ freedom - will be protected and the government’s ability to throw a cloak of secrecy over activities that the public should know about will be curtailed," Misa-SA chairman, Raymond Louw, said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

One of the bill's contested features was the power it gave the state security minister, Louw said.

"Misa-SA calls on members of the NCOP to show their determination not to be dictated to by a Cabinet minister and go the whole hog by voting against the bill.

"This will mean the bill will have to be redrafted from scratch so that it meets the demands that official secrets should be clearly and narrowly defined...

"By doing so, they can send a clear message that the protection of state information bill must be thoroughly redrafted to ensure that state secrecy is narrowly defined, the powers of bureaucrats and security officials limited, and basic constitutional principles respected."

- SAPA

Read more on:    anc  |  sanef  |  right2know  |  media  |  info bill
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
17 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Numsa prepares for life after Cosatu

Numsa has not only reiterated its call for President Jacob Zuma to resign but it is also preparing for life outside of Cosatu, a report states.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...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.