Tag Archives: protection of information bill

FT.com: British press stays silent on South African press freedom threat

The FT’s chief foreign affairs commentator criticises the British press for its lack of coverage of a proposed law in South Africa that would pose a substantial threat to press freedom.

The proposed law is a major threat to South African democracy. Yet, I have been struck by the almost total silence of the British press on this subject. Papers that devoted acres of space to the success of the World Cup cannot be bothered to follow up with a report of what’s going on in South Africa now.

Full post on FT.com at this link…

Sipho Ngcobo charts a ‘frightening’ week for South African journalism

Following the arrest of Mzilikazi wa Afrika, Sipho Ngcobo, Sunday Times investigative journalist and former deputy editor of Business Report, reflects on what he says was a “frightening” week for journalists in South Africa.

South African media are currently battling the Protection of Information Bill, which according to Ngcobo is fuelling fears the government will be able to “clampdown and muzzle media”.

There is virtually no real clarity as what Mzilikazi wa Afrika was arrested for. But we worry, I worry about him. I worry about the profession and the business of media. I am worried sick about the future of the industry.

But, he adds, the growth in poor quality journalism does warrant improved regulation of the media, or else reporters should prepare for the “death” of the industry.

I cannot say I am totally surprised by the proposed Bill. There has been a lot of shoddy journalism taking place. Some of it has been outright criminal, extremely libellous, demeaning to individuals and families and even contemptuous to the courts. It has been so bad that I have often wondered what the future holds.

See his full post on MoneyWeb here…

New legislation threatens to restrict press freedom in South Africa

Concern is growing in South Africa over the passing of a piece of legislation that could, if passed into law, restrict freedom of the press in the country and jeopardise government transparency.

According to Iqbal Jassat for the Media Monitors Network, the African National Congress (ANC) is in the process of passing the Protection of Information Bill, which would allow “classification of information associated with commercial contracts entered into by government, state-owned enterprise and state entities”.

At the heart of the current debate are two significant developments: a new piece of legislature before parliament titled the Protection of Information Bill; and the disclosure by the ANC that a media tribunal, a system of state regulation is back on the agenda.

While the purpose of the bill is to replace apartheid-era secrets act with a democratic framework of information protection, a range of submissions warning of its draconian nature has raised serious concerns.

Full story at this link…

The Protection of Information Bill can be downloaded from: www.info.gov.za