press freedom

De Klerk Foundation: Media Freedom is Threatened

The FW De Klerk Foundation expresses concern about possible threats to media freedom in South Africa on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2014, under the theme which reflects the media’s importance in development, the safety of journalists and the rule of law as well as the sustainability and integrity of journalism.

The Foundation’s spokesperson, Jacques du Preez announces that while media freedom was protected by the Constitution when weighed against the theme for this year’s Press Freedom Day, South Africa did not appear to entirely measure up.

Civil Society Criticises the SABC

Civil society groups have joined the list of political parties criticising the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) recently by protesting outside its Auckland Park head offices.

Right2Know, Save Our SABC, the Independent Producers’ Organisation, the Democratic Left Front and members of the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (NUMSA) accuse the public broadcaster of favouring the ruling African National Congress (ANC), intimidating its journalists and failing to air quality, local content.

Swaziland Releases Detained Editor, Lawyer

A Swaziland editor and a rights lawyer who were arrested over an article said to be in contempt of court were freed on Sunday after a judge nullified their arrest.

Judge Mumcy Dlamini rejected a warrant of arrest for Bheki Makhubu, the editor of the Nation magazine, and lawyer Thulani Maseko, who is a columnist at the magazine, saying it is not in line with the law.

NGO Urges Zuma Not to Sign Info Bill

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) has urged President Jacob Zuma not to sign the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) into law in its current form.
 
In a press statement, SANEF states that it is concerned with the “…provisions that allow for broad classification of information, including that which has nothing to do with security of the state,” as well as delegating authority to ambiguous state officials to classify information.
 

​Call to Protect Independent Free Media

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has urged governments, politicians, businesses and citizens of the world must commit to nurturing and protecting an independent free media.
 
In a speech to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day, the UN chief pointed out that, “Without this fundamental right, people are less free and less empowered. With it, we can work together for a world of dignity and opportunity for all.”
 

Unconstitutional to Bar Journos in Nkandla

The South Africa National Editor's Forum (SANEF) says it was unconstitutional to bar journalists from other areas of the President Jacob Zuma’ private residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
 
SANEF points out that government finally opened the doors to the journalists in order to "help them report from an informed position on the security upgrades".
 
It says members of the media were allowed to visit the clinic, police barracks, kraal, chicken run, firepool, garages, police control room and the amphitheatre.
 

SANEF Shocked by Sefara’s Resignation

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) expressed shock at the resignation of the Star's editor Makhudu Sefara, but says it respects the wishes of Independent Newspapers and Sefara.

In a press statement, the organisation points out that it is not privy to the details of the issues that brought this sudden resignation by Sefara and can only respect the wishes of the two parties in the matter.

Swazi Media Faces Restrictions

Swaziland’s Chief Justice, Michael Ramodibedi, threatens the managing editor of a major daily newspaper with immediate arrest if his paper continues to comment on the trial of another top newspaperman.
 
In addition, young activists were arrested and charged with treason at the trial of Makhubu and Maseko last month for showing solidarity and wearing T-shirts of the banned Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).
 

More Time Required to Fix Secrecy Bill

The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) says that Parliament's plans to review the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) in two days makes a mockery of its duty to correct the contentious draft law.
 
The lobby group says that President Jacob Zuma had rightly referred the official Secrecy Bill back to the National Assembly on advice that it is unconstitutional, but that the problems are too severe to be fixed by the deadline.
 

Call for Secrecy Bill to be Scrapped

The Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory has called for the Protection of State Information Bill to be withdrawn and redrafted.

Verne Harris, the director of the centre's archive, says the Bill remains unconstitutional despite amendments made at the last minute before it was passed by Parliament in April.

He says one of its fundamental flaws is that it sought to set up a regime of dealing with state information that ran parallel to that envisaged in the Constitution and the progressive Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

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