Friday, August 13, 2010

Lets stand against the proposed media tribunal and the Protection of Information Act

Many of you may be aware of the proposed Media Tribunal and the Protection of Information Act. Under the Act, the state/departments have the power to classify information (for the sake of National Security) they see fit which means Journalists/reporters will not be able to get hold such information. If they do while they are still classified, they can be sent to jail for a maximum period of 25 years including their accomplices.

This clampdown on the media is something that one saw happening in Apartheid South Africa and we know what happened. With regard to the Media Tribunal, it will be empowered to oversee complaints laid by the public against the press and make judgement on them. Stories about politicians getting tenders to build shoddy roads may not be published so are stories about mismanagement of state entities. If this bill pass, newspapers/TV/Radio entities will be clapped to report about stories to inform you about the state of our national roads (if the Department of Transport sees it fit of course).

Experts and newspaper editors are not happy about this and they are calling for the bill to be re-drafted as they see the bill and tribunal going to undermine media freedom. But the ANC says they will not budge and the Editors of the major newspapers are not happy about it and have made a declaration to oppose the bill (see below). As a believer of media freedom, I too support the editors and the experts. Who knows which media is going to be a target next? Social media? Bloggers? I say No to this proposal that is supported by ANC politicians (frankly most of them are corrupt) and I call on you my fellow readers to say NO! Lets stand against the proposed media tribunal and the bill by adding our names to those of the editors.

The Auckland Park Declaration

We, the title editors of South Africa's major publications and members of the South African National Editors' Forum, are deeply concerned about attempts to curtail freedom of expression and the free flow of information in our country.

Free speech and access to information are the lifeblood of our democracy and were at the very heart of the struggle for freedom. Human dignity is indivisible from freedom of speech.

We vigorously oppose the restrictive clauses in the Protection of Information Bill and the proposed media appeals tribunal.

We appeal to the South African government and the ruling ANC to abide by the founding principles of our democracy, and to abandon these proposed measures.

We commit ourselves to join hands with all South Africans who value their freedom to defend these basic rights which are enshrined in, and are indeed the cornerstone of, our constitution.

1 Ainsley Moos, Volksblad
2 Alan Dunn, Daily News
3 Alide Dasnois, Cape Times
4 Andrew Koopman, Son & Sondag Son
5 Andrew Trench, Daily Dispatch
6 Angela Quintal, The Mercury
7 Barney Mthombothi, Financial Mail
8 Bongani Keswa, Sowetan
9 Bun Booyens, Die Burger
10 Charles Mogale, Sunday World
11 Chiara Carter, Weekend Argus
12 Chris Whitfield, Editor-in-Chief,
Independent Newspapers Cape
13 Clyde Bawden, The Independent on Saturday
14 Dirk Lotriet, Sondag
15 Ferial Haffajee, City Press
16 Fikile Ntsikelelo Moya, The Witness
17 Jeremy McCabe, Weekend Post
18 Gasant Abarder, Cape Argus
19 Heather Robertson, The Herald
20 Jovial Rantao, The Star
21 Liza Albrecht, Rapport
22 Makhudu Sefara, The Sunday Independent
23 Martin Williams, The Citizen
24 Moegsien Williams, The Star
25 Mondli Makhanya, Editor-in-Chief, Avusa
26 Nic Dawes, Mail & Guardian
27 Peet Kruger, Editor-in-Chief, Media24
28 Peter Bruce, Business Day
29 Philani Mgwaba, Sunday Tribune
3. Phylicia Oppelt, The Times
31 Ray Hartley, Sunday Times
32 Thabo Leshilo, Avusa Public Editor
33 Themba Khumalo, Daily Sun
34 Tim du Plessis, Beeld
35 Thulani Mbatha, Isolezwe
36 Zingisa Mkhuma, Pretoria News
37 Brijlall Ramguthee, The Post
38 Erick "googlingsa" Mulaudzi,


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