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.

  • eric.vanvuuren - 2011-12-09 09:38

    The bill is illegal and that it. Something that is so influential to the public should be voted on by the public. There is no such thing that we are not allowed to find out what’s being done in our name. They are "public officials" elected by the "public". Therefore, accountable to the public. If such a thing should ever be voted in by the public, it should have an expiry date.

  • Msholozi - 2011-12-09 09:42

    our leaders are being undermined and this bill will stop criminals from fabricating stories for profit

      Flowingriver - 2011-12-09 10:05

      We know all to well how these people enjoy criticizing our leaders every step of the least now they can get on with their jobs and concentrate better on what to do instead of explaining all the time!

      eric.vanvuuren - 2011-12-09 10:24

      At least it’s you and your parents that will suffer most if this is past. There is no end to your type of madness in this country. Come-on, piss on freedom. And when you do suffer for it you will blame it on the” all mighty” - and just because I say that this person is an Id!ot. Does in no way mean I'm attacking the black race - White man. But don’t worry I'm sure there will be an Idiot ready to save you and drown you later hey.

      eric.vanvuuren - 2011-12-09 11:58

      @Msholozi/Flowingriver - By the way my under developed friend, these mongrels are my leaders to so don’t presume to tell me I can't complain at the way they cause mostly you and your kind to suffer. At the end of the day when the feeling where’s off, the tax payer gets footed to feed your bottomless pit. Otherwise let’s split the country not by colour, but choice of life style. You and people like you on one side in a never ending loop of idiotic madness. With the rest of us working to secure our own futures for a safer cheaper and more stable society. Then let all those idiots who want to get involved with the like of you go there.

  • Mashudu - 2011-12-09 10:25

    There's still lots of things which need to be ironed out regarding this Bill Especial when it comes to Media.

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