freedom of expression

NGO Slams ‘Secrecy Bill’ Hearings

The Right2Know Campaign has slammed this week’s public hearings on the controversial Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill).

The Campaign’s national coordinator, Murray Hunter, argues that the hearings in Gauteng were ‘deeply flawed and a highly partisan ‘public consultation’ process’.

Hunter rebuked African National Congress (ANC) chief whip in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Nosipho Ntwanambi, who chaired the Sharpeville hearings, saying she had been ‘biased and bullying’.

Madonsela, Tlakula Support Media Self-Regulation

Public protector, Thuli Madonsela, and Adv Pansy Tlakula, have told the Press Freedom Commission hearings on media regulation that there is no other effective way to ensure freedom of the press and expression.

Madonsela and Tlakula, however, were unequivocal in their support for a free, self-regulated press, stating that, "The need for a free and independent but accountable and responsible media, is not negotiable."

ANC Denies Spying on Media

The African National Congress (ANC) denies that its analysis of news media and reporters is a mechanism to keep tabs on journalists.

ANC spokesperson, Keith Khosa, points out that, “The analysis is not a measure that will be used to stifle journalism in South Africa but to assist with effective communication.”

CPJ to Brief the Media on Secrecy Bill

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is expected to brief the media on its meeting with the African National Congress on the Protection of State Information Bill.

CPJ chairperson, Sandra Mims-Rowe, says that she will also discuss current media freedom issues’.

The ANC met with the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) and Media Monitoring Africa this week to discuss the Bill.

Tau to Chair NCOP Info Bill Committee

The African National Congress MP Raseriti Tau, has been elected to chair the National Council of Provinces' ad hoc committee on the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill).

Tau, also house chair of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), was elected unopposed by the 15-member committee that will steer the contentious state secrecy bill through Parliament's second house.

Protests Against Secrecy Bill

A group of people dressed in black have protested against the controversial Protection of State Information Bill (POIB) outside the headquarters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Johannesburg this morning.

The protestors lined the streets outside Luthuli House, quietly holding placards, which read “We have the right to know”, “Stop secrecy bill” and “Let the truth be told”.

23 November Declared ‘Black Wednesday’

The National Press Club (NPC) has called on South Africans to wear black on 23 November 2011, in protest against the controversial Protection of [State] Information Bill (Secrecy Bill).

The club chairperson, Yusuf Abramjee, points out that the Bill poses serious threat to South Africa’s 17-year democracy, adds that, “...we are again facing censorship.

Abramjee, who argues that the Bill threatens freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the media, further calls on all South Africans to stand up now and raise their voice.

Kasrils Backs SANEF Over Secrecy Bill

Former Intelligence Minister, Ronnie Kasrils, has come out in support of the South African National Editor's Forum (SANEF) after the organisation has threatened legal action if a public interest defence clause is left out of the Protection of State Information Bill.

In a press statement, Kasrils, points out that, "I also fully endorse SANEF’s protest regarding the Security Minister's and other ANC [African National Congress] MPs, disgraceful assertion that members of civil society protesting against the bill are agents of foreign spies."

NGO Threatens Legal Action Over Info Bill

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) has again threatened legal action if a public interest defence clause is left out of the Protection of State Information Bill.

In a press statement, SANEF expressed concern over the State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele's refusal to allow such a defence in the Bill.

The organisation further states that, "Such a clause would enable a journalist, whistle-blower, or citizen who disclosed classified information, if charged, to enter a defence plea of publication in the public interest."

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