freedom of expression

Uganda Criticised Over Free Expression Laws

IFEX members and four other organisations called on the Ugandan government to withdraw the proposed amendment and revise other existing laws related to free expression.

In a letter to the President, Yoweri Museveni, the organisations have expressed their ‘serious concerns’ about the proposed amendment to the Press and Journalist Act, which could be presented to that country’s Parliament in the near future.

NGOs ‘Friends of Court’ in Defamation Case

Two NGOs have been admitted as friends of the court in the defamation case involving three former schoolboys found to have defamed their deputy headmaster.

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) says the Supreme Court of Appeal’s judgment is likely to have an unjustified chilling effect on the right of children to critical, and particularly satirical, expression.

Authors Warn Against Information Bill

Renowned authors say jeopardising the freedom of writers will endanger the freedom of every reader in South Africa.

In a protest organised by acclaimed authors Andre Brink and Nadine Gordimer, against the Protection of Information Bill and the African National Congress’ proposed media tribunal, they say that writing presupposes an interaction with readers, adding that if the work and the freedom of the writer are in jeopardy, the freedom of every reader in South Africa is in danger.

Zuma: ANC Not Trying to Control the Media

President Jacob Zuma says the African National Congress (ANC) is not trying to control the media through the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal (MAT), adding that the reports of it doing so are misleading.

In a press statement, Zuma says the MAT is not personal, but it is aimed at advancing the freedoms that are enshrined in the Constitution.

He says the MAT is aimed at ensuring that those who do not have the money to go to lawyers can still obtain protection as they do from the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.

Proposed Laws Will Silence Critics – NGO

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says censorship legislation and media tribunals will be much more widely deployed to silence critics.

SAIRR chief executive, Kane-Berman, points out that the current attack on media freedom by the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), according to another editor, “Is consistent with the core values of neither party”.

Kane-Berman states that, “The antagonism of both the ANC and the SACP to critical newspapers is deeper. It is ideological.”

Bill Threat to Media Freedom – M&G Editor

Newspapers like the Mail & Guardian that expose corruption, mismanagement, hypocrisy and gross incompetence would not be able to do their work if the Protection of Information Bill came into force in its current form. This is according to its editor-in-chief, Nic Dawes.

Dawes has described the Bill as the biggest legislative threat yet to freedom of information in general and to the work of journalists in particular.

FXI Comments on the Rasool Saga

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has warned that former Western Cape premier, Ibrahim Rasool, saga could compromise media independence.

FXI executive director, Ayesha Kajee, is of the view that the allegations raise serious questions about journalistic integrity.

According to reports a former newspaper journalist has admitted that he and a senior colleague were paid to assist the former Western Cape Premier against political rivals.

FXI Appoints New Executive Director

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has appointed political analyst, Ayesha Kajee, as its new executive director.

In a press statement, Kajee points out that her appointment comes at a time when rapid advances in information and communication technology posed opportunities and threats.

Kajee says she is looking forward to ‘strategically expanding’ the FXI's project base and building its profile as a regional leader in championing and protecting freedom of expression and associated rights.

SANEF Criticises the New Secret Bill

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has warned that a new version of the Protection of Information Bill before Parliament is more restrictive in terms of handling of State information than the previous proposed law.

SANEF deputy chairperson, Henry Jeffreys, says that at the time of the withdrawal, it was pledged that ‘a large amount of work’ will be done to improve the bill, but that this is not reflected in the new draft.

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