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MRN calls on ANC to Scrap41Bill

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Media Review Network (MRN) welcomes the decision by the ANC to rewrite a clause in the draft Protection of Information Bill.

This follows recommendation from parliamentary law adviser Nthuthuzelo Vanara to narrow clause 42 of the bill.

This problematic clause makes it a crime punishable with up to 20 years in prison for revealing state secrets in the reasonable knowledge that it can further hostile activities.

We share the concerns expressed by many groups, including media practitioners, that clause 42 which also contains an unqualified broad-based addition “or prejudice the republic” is open to abuse.

While this development is the latest in a series of redrafts, we reiterate our conviction that unless the bill is entirely scrapped, threats to media freedom and freedom of information will be severely curtailed. We therefore call on the ANC to review its dogmatic position on the bill.

We strongly urge the ANC to accept that despite various attempts to refine it, the bill may not stand constitutional muster and therefore not in the interest of press freedom to pursue it!

Issued By:

Aayesha J Soni – 073 570 9944

Zaakir Ahmed Mayet – 072 582 0885

Members: Media Review Network Media Unit