Proposed South Africa legislation step backward in media freedom

Many thanks to Freedom House for raising this alarm.
New Press Legislation in South Africa Raises Alarm about Media Freedom

“This law, if passed, is certain to have a chilling effect on press freedom as well as violating the right of its citizens to access information,” said Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy at Freedom House. “It is concerning when a democratic government moves for less transparency, not more, and it would be regrettable if the South African parliament allows this to happen.”

The legislation, according to Freedom House is a revised version of a proposed law submitted two years ago. At that time it was rejected because of concerns it could lead to excessive official secrecy.

The new legislation continues to have an “overly broad definition of ‘national interest'” according to FH.

Freedom House downgraded South Africa from Free to Partly Free in its 2010 Freedom of the Press report. The move came largely because of increased rhetoric against the media from government officials and new laws that limited the independence of broadcasters.

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