A publication of the World Editors Forum


Tue - 27.01.2015


Labelled the "Secrecy Act" by its critics, the controversial Bill seeks to "provide for the protection of certain state information from alteration, loss, destruction or unlawful disclosure" – in other words, it poses an ugly threat to the investigations of whistle blowers and their fundamental right to access and disseminate information of public interest.

Right2Know campaigners, who before the vote, warned on their website that, "if passed the Bill would add to the generalised trend towards secrecy, fear and intimidation that is growing in South Africa today," held a silent vigil in parliament in Cape Town, alongside a picket outside the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, but to no avail.

The Bill was passed 189 votes to 74 with one abtension, meaning that the matter now lies in the hands of President Jacob Zuma, who has the option to get it passed into law. Significant improvements have already been made to the Bill after consultation by the National Council of Provinces, but according to Lindiwe Mazibuko, parliamentary leader of the Democratic Alliance party, the Bill nevertheless remains "flawed" and "does not pass constitutional muster."


Emily Moore


2013-04-29 16:20

The House of Lords voted on Tuesday 23 April by a majority of 78 in favour of passing the Bill, and consideration of the Lords amendments took place in the House of Commons yesterday, Wednesday 24 April. The Bill has hereby cleared its last Parliamentary obstacle, and now awaits the final stage of Royal Assent which will statutorily enact the Bill as an official Act of Parliament. According to the UK parliament's website, "the aim of the Bill is to reform the law of defamation to ensure that a fair balance is struck between the right to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation."


Emily Moore


2013-04-25 17:11

From China to Iran, government Internet censorship has become increasingly more prevalent, posing numerous concerns to advocates of cyber freedom. As we previously reported, there are now 40 governments that censor the Internet, up from only four in 2002. Yet one of the biggest promoters of Internet freedom—the United States—may in fact be enabling these restrictive governments in censoring and monitoring their citizens, according to Foreign Policy magazine.

Censorship and surveillance require extensive software and hardware, many of which are actually created by US and other Western companies and sold to countries with restrictive internet policies, Foreign Policy said.

According to The Atlantic, such technologies can easily be used against citizen journalists in countries with little press freedom, preventing the dissemination of valuable data.


Gianna Walton's picture

Gianna Walton


2012-04-05 18:04

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