Info Bill: media body concerned
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,