Info Bill: me­dia body con­cerned

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

THE NEW York-based Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists has voiced con­cerns about the Pro­tec­tion of State In­for­ma­tion Bill.

“We are here to stand in sol­i­dar­ity with our me­dia col­leagues... We share their deep con­cerns,” chair­woman San­dra Mims- Rowe said in Joburg.

At a meet­ing with ANC spokesman Jack­son Mthembu on Thurs­day, the CPJ had urged the govern­ment not to con­tinue with the bill in its cur­rent form, she said.

“There is no place for such a broadly worded bill in a democ­racy. South Africa is seen as a bea­con of free­dom through­out the world.”

The CPJ is an independent non- profit or­gan­i­sa­tion based in New York.

It seeks to pro­mote me­dia free­dom world­wide. The bill was passed on Novem­ber 22 in the National Assem­bly.

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.

Mims-rowe said the bill in its cur­rent form would crim­i­nalise whistle­blow­ing and put a chill on in­ves­tiga­tive reporting.

If passed, the CPJ hoped the Con­sti­tu­tional Court would over­turn it, she said.

“We can act as a mega­phone for your con­cerns.”

The CPJ was equally con­cerned about the ANC pro­posal for a me­dia ap­peals tri­bunal,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.