Info bill not targeting media - Cwele

2011-11-16 20:33

Cape Town - The media is not the target of a controversial new secrecy bill that critics fear could prevent exposure of official wrongdoing, the state security minister said on Wednesday.

"This bill is not about regulating the media. There is no single mention of the media in this bill," Siyabonga Cwele told Parliament.

"Neither is this bill about covering up corruption," he added.

Media groups, watchdogs and opposition lawmakers have condemned the protection of information bill saying it could silence whistleblowing and investigative reporting.

The bill, of passed, would make it illegal to hold or disclose sensitive information, with jail terms of up to 25 years.

Changes to the bill after a public outcry had been "a correct response to the concerns," Cwele said.

The legislation was intended to overhaul outdated apartheid law and address threats of espionage, he added.

But Cwele ruled out a public interest defence that would protect disclosure of classified information if a court deemed it to be in society's best interest.

"The fact is that the 'secrecy bill' amounts to a full-scale legislative assault on the freedom of the press and other media in South Africa," said DA MP David Maynier.

The bill criminalises the possession and disclosure of classified material even if the documents expose wrongdoing and if exposure would serve the public interest, he said.

"So the question is not whether journalists will go to jail, but which journalist will go to jail first," he added.

The bill is expected to be put to the vote next week after the ruling ANC held back in September, saying more time was needed for input.

However the Right 2 Know campaign, which opposes the bill, said this week that "no public consultations have been conducted" and that promises by the ANC chief whip had been "utterly empty".

Read more on:    siyabonga cwele  |  david maynier  |  media  |  info bill
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

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
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
5 crucial questions to ask before you take that job 2014-10-30 08:00

You choose your employer just as much as they choose you. Here are 5 of the most important things you should find out about a company before you sign up.

/News
 

LOL! Best outdoor girl fails

It’s not only guys who have FAIL moments! Here are some of the funniest outdoor fails where girls are the victims!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

90-year-old's incredible travels
10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Halloween night run
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

It's Flash Sale Friday – one day only!

Buy 3 & get the cheapest 1 FREE: On selected DVDs, Blu-rays, series and music. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be doing the work and playing the game, but your innovative mind is on a far away planet planning the next big thing....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.