Over the earlier part of the year I reported about Nadine Gordimer’s and David Goldblatt’s stances on the Secrecy Bill. They are not alone in their outspoken misgivings about the Bill. Now it seems that even the President who so desperately wants it is nervous about this bill. This is a good thing – or is it? The Daily Maverick (Pierre de Vos) is questioning the motives of the President for doing this. I am hoping that that the stance of The Mail & Guardian is closer to the real picture.
The Mail & Guardian reports that President Jacob Zuma has referred the highly controversial Protection of State Information Bill passed in April 2013 back to Parliament for further consideration. All the opposition parties objected to this bill and have threatened to sue the state in the Constitutional Court if the President signed it into law.
The Right2Know Campaign welcomed Zuma’s announcement, once again speaking out about its unconstitutional sections, particularly Section 42 of the Bill which criminalises the abuse of the classification of information to conceal breaches of the law and Section 45 which deals with the authority of the national director of public prosecutions when it comes to instituting criminal proceedings.
If the Mail & Guardian is correct, this is a huge win for freedom of the press and the right of citizens to be informed about happenings in the country. If the Daily Maverick is correct, we should be looking out for tricks right now. I’m going along with the more conservative, more positive approach for the moment. For the country’s sake I hope I’m right.