Has the battle been lost as the “Secrecy Bill” (Protection of State Information Bill) is being tabled in the National Assembly today? Protesters gathered outside parliament from 1pm in protest against the latest developments which threaten to fast-track the possible implementation of this controversial bill.
Righ2Know (R2K), a nation-wide coalition of people and organisations opposed to the Protection of Information Bill led the protest outside parliament today. The coalition expressed justifiably strong feelings that South Africans should be “outraged” at the ANC’s move to bring the bill back to the National Assembly without debate as was promised by the ANC’s Chief Whip’s office last month.
After the bill is tabled in parliament today, it could be referred to a parliamentary ad hoc committee or passed and sent to the National Council of Provinces for deliberation. What this means is that the state is a step closer to being able to silence the media for good. And media being silenced is a sure sign that we are no longer a democracy 🙁
Although the ANC announced on Sunday 13 November that a “consultation process” is being planned and that the they are considering adding a clause allowing for public interest debate, parties opposed to the Secrecy Bill are criticizing the government’s implementation of the Secrecy Bill as unconstitutional not only in principle but also in terms of the implementation process – deliberately lacking in consultation.
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