press freedom

Kassrils Warns Against Rushing Information Bill

Former Intelligence Minister, Ronnie Kassrils, says the rush to complete the Protection of Information Bill by the parliamentary committee is worrying and will lead to huge problems and unnecessary tensions in the future.

Kasrils warns that the Bill will undermine the public trust in the intelligence and security services at a time when confidence needs to be built.

Information Bill is Anti-Democratic - NGOs

The Treatment Action Campaign and the Section 27, say that transparent governance, free expression and a free press are essential components of democracy.

The two organisations argue that transparent governance, free expression and a free press are the means by which all people in the country, especially the vulnerable and poor, can hold our government to account.

They state: “Our effectiveness at getting the state to implement HIV treatment and prevention programmes has been dependent on the Constitution being upheld, especially the Bill of Rights."

Information Bill Will Lead to ‘Super Ministry’

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) says that the protection of information bill will make the state security ministry a ‘super ministry’ with the power to overlord all other organs of state.

In a press statement, HSF argues that if the Bill is to become law, State Security Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, would be able to lord over the normal functioning of the economy and its participants.

NGO Warns Over Hostility Towards the Media

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) has demanded drastic disciplinary action against an African National Congress (ANC) Eastern Cape regional chairperson who called for burning down a local newspaper office.

In a press statement, SANEF points out that it is deeply shocked and concerned at the reported attempt by ANC’s Nceba Faku to incite the party supporters to attack and burn down the offices of the Herald newspaper in the city.

SANEF Meets Govt Over Hammerl’s Death

The death of South African photo-journalist Anton Hammerl was the subject of a meeting between the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF).
 
In a press statement, SANEF chairperson, Mondli Makhanya, points out that, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Austrian Ambassador, Otto Ditz, briefed the SANEF delegation on efforts made to establish the whereabouts of Hammerl and to secure his release.
 

Call for Libya to Release Hammerl’s Body

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Committee to Protect Journalists have called on Libya to release the body of slain South African photographer, Anton Hammerl, and investigate the role the armed forces played in his death.
 
HRW emergencies director, Peter Bouckaert, points out that, “Libyan government forces killed Anton Hammerl six weeks ago and then lied about what happened."
 
Bouckaert further says that they had his passport and they knew he was dead, adding that now they should at least release his body and provide some truthful answers about his fate.

What Has Gender Got to Do With Media Freedom?

This 3 May marked 20 years of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media, which was endorsed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the United Nations General Assembly in 1991. This endorsement ultimately led to the creation of 3 May as ‘World Press Freedom Day’.

RSF Criticises Mauritius Over Independent Media

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has criticised the Mauritian Prime Minister, Navin Ramgoolam’s ‘aggressive comments’ about the independent media.

In a press statement, RSF says Ramgoolam accused the daily L'Express and the weekly Week-End of defending the interests of opposition leader, Paul Bérenger, of the Mauritian Militant Movement.

In the same vein, L'Express editor, Raj Meetarbhan, pointed out that, "The virus of repression is there, the signs are evident and I fear that the independent media in Mauritius will have a sombre future."

27 000 Thousands Sign Hammerl Petition

Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling on Libya to release South African photographer, Anton Hammerl, and three other foreign journalists being detained in that country 21 days ago.

In a joint press statement, Hammerl’s family and the Free Anton Hammerl Campaign, points out that the petition hit the 27 000 mark by midday on 25 April 2011.

HRW Criticises Zuma Over Hammerl

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Libyan authorities should immediately provide information on the whereabouts of nine foreign and six Libyan journalists detained or missing in Libya.

HRW emergencies director, Peter Bouckaert, points out that, “It’s shocking if President [Jacob] Zuma didn’t mention a South African citizen who is missing.”

Bouckaert argues that a direct appeal could have made a difference in finding the missing photographer, adding that, “There is no excuse for Zuma to ignore the matter.”

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