SA's press freedom threatened - Sanef

2012-05-03 08:57

Johannesburg - South Africa's status as a "beacon" for press freedom is being threatened by increased state involvement, the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) said on Thursday

"On World Press Freedom Day we celebrate the role of the news media around the world in sustaining democracy, fighting tyranny and enriching public life," it said in a statement.

"South Africa remains a beacon of press freedom on the African continent, but that status has come under real threat from new legislative proposals, from hostile political rhetoric, and from the conduct of some senior state officials."

Public interest

It said journalists, civil society groups, and trades unions were united in their opposition to aspects of the protection of state information bill.

"Without the insertion of a clause protecting from prosecution those who publish such secrets in the public interest ... the bill is a danger not just to press freedom, but to democracy," Sanef said.

It said it was pleased to be able to point to a growing body of jurisprudence that not only protected media freedom, but also secured it against pre-publication censorship and acknowledged the need to protect sources.

"Of course press freedom requires more than good laws. It can only flourish in an environment where openness is cherished, where journalists work free from harassment, and diverse voices are able to be heard," it said.

"Press freedom and the quality of democracy are intricately linked, and we celebrate and guard our own not in isolation from the rest of the continent, but in solidarity with a cause that crosses all its borders," Sanef said.

  • Herman - 2012-05-03 09:01

    SA must wake up quickly, the anc is becomming worse than the NP in its hey days. We must stand together against the secrecy bill, before we the people are trampled into the ground by the thieving and incompetent anc.

      Glyn - 2012-05-03 09:11

      We did it for the e-Tolling, we can do it for the Secrecy Bills! Get rid of the anc oligarchs!

      Lerato - 2012-05-03 13:49

      So much has been said about this “Secrecy bill” in the media. However not so many people have bothered to read the document; I am not trying to attack anyone but I am merely suggesting that all interested S Africans must first study the document before passing comments or judgements. I attended a discussion on this document and was shocked by some comments that were being made by members of the public, just because of ignorance, please just read the document and not just rely on hearsay. It might not be a perfect document but there are some arrears I really agree with. At the end of the day each and every industry has to be regulated otherwise it will be prone to abuse for satisfying individuals’ narrow selfish interests. Look what happened in the US and Europe, financial entities were paying the credit rating regulators i.e Standard and Poor etc and naturally to please their paymasters they gave them good ratings, like AIG was a AAA the day it collapsed. So please people read and understand the document and make positive criticism

      Gert - 2012-05-03 14:45

      Lerato the law as it is is good enough to deal with individuals's narrow selfish interests. If you are offended you take the journalists to court. This law is only there to satisfy the narrow minded selfish interests of the anc and they will bend this law in practice to make things go there selfish way. Why are they scared of the truth out there. If they are open and law abiding then they will cherish the truth. (pity about their reputation.) Do they want to hide arm sales to Iran again (sensitive information) etc,?? In principle this law should not exist, doesn't matter what the contents is. Doesn't it make you feel uneasy--say they don't like you and they can frame you and send you to jail and later you are a political prisoner because of creative 'sensitive information'. Why are they steam rolling this??? hey?? for the good of SA---no ways.... ..exactly like the toll gate principle it should not have existed--and now how to get rid of this ball and chain.?

      Lerato - 2012-05-03 15:53

      @Gert, if I may ask have you bothered to read the draft; if so which sections do you think must be revised or alienated as a whole?

  • Glyn - 2012-05-03 09:09

    Get rid of the rot! The rot is the anc! Viva Democracy! Viva Freedom!

  • elkita.robbertse - 2012-05-03 09:21

    The only way to stop them is taking them to court.We all did it for e-toll and we can do it againWe are on a roll.Let is fight them on the info bill too.

  • Smile - 2012-05-03 10:00

    I can’t believe not many people have commented on this. This whole press freedom debacle is the most important thing to happen to SA since apartheid ended. If this bill is passed we will become easy prey for genocide, murder, rape, corruption. You think it is bad now? Wait when this bill is passed, we won’t have any freedom left. It's an outrage!!!

      Genet - 2012-05-03 10:23

      @Smile, I agree with you completeley. It is not only an outrage, but very, very scary as well.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-03 10:08

    Anc must dissapear,not voted out,dissapear.

      Eva - 2012-05-03 10:40

      Agree. Not even as a minority party would they serve any purpose.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-05-03 11:27

    Unfortunately white culture and brainwashing has left the white community without the b*lls to oppose government, not to mention the number of British passport carrying whites who will simply run for the airport instead of fighting as they so blatantly proved in the run up to the first free elections. The weight of this will once again fall on the small group of intelligent and educated blacks to lead the way in this fight against the ANC.

  • sean.looney - 2012-05-03 12:35

    how ironic that we are talking about press freedom here and my comment that was basically asking people to be more positive about our country got deleted? unreal. i read racist comments on this site on a daily basis and my comment asking people to be more positive gets pulled?? you should be ashamed.

  • Loo - 2012-05-03 12:47

    OLD NEWS .. let me post this while Im still allowed

  • Gert - 2012-05-03 14:54

    If the politicians are so arrogant now with our 70% democracy in place, imagine what it will be like where they are the law. If something that is suppose to be in the open and democratic then they simply find a reason to declare it sensitive information. This secrets bill is a obvious recipe for a dictatorship and if we don't fight it now we shall have to do so in future and then the law is on their side all the time and you will be killed and removed and it will be classified information. This is a way to find their way round the constitution and its limitations. As Zuma said that the anc should be above the law as to deliver 'things' to the masses and the current laws are hampering them.

  • ivan.matshaba1 - 2012-05-11 21:40

    The ANC has not been all bad, so excuse me but I beg to differ. The ANC will be loose their power when a better party comes along and that better party wont be the DA.

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