‘Scrap the Secrecy Bill’ rally


All media, supportive organisations and individuals are invited to join South Africa’s Right2Know Campaign, at a ‘Raise Your Voice! Scrap the Secrecy Bill’ rally and march on Saturday, 13 August.

TIME:    10h30 for 11:00:  Rally in WITS Great Hall
12:00 – 12:30:  March from WITS to Constitutional Court
12:30-13:00:  2nd part of Rally at Constitutional Hill
VENUE:                The WITS Great Hall is on the East Campus in Senate House.
Enter through the Yale Road entrance (from either Empire Road or Jorrisen

.               Ronnie Kasrils  (Former Minister of Intelligence)
.               Pregs Govender (Deputy Chair – SA Human Rights Commission)
.               Sidumo Dlamini (President of COSATU)
.               Nic Dawes (Editor of Mail & Guardian)
.               Prof Franz Kruger (WITS Radio School)

For almost a year now, the R2K Campaign has been at the forefront of a growing movement across our country in opposition to the Protection of Information Bill (the Secrecy Bill). Community, media and religious organisations, social movements, journalists, NGOs and tens of thousands of ordinary citizens have joined together against a Bill that has been fatally flawed from its inception. This is the case precisely because the Bill attacks the very heart of our constitutional and human rights of access to information and freedom on expression.

Despite this concerted opposition, months of hearings in the parliamentary ad hoc committee responsible for the Bill and meetings with government the core demands of the Right2Know Campaign (see below) have yet to be met. Even though limited concessions have been made and the parliamentary hearings continue, as it stands, the Bill remains a direct threat to our democracy.

The ANC, as the ruling party, continues to refuse the inclusion of a public interest defence, and is offering only the narrowest protection for whistleblowers. Ordinary citizens will have no protection from prosecution under the Secrecy Bill. Further, the ANC has worryingly broadened the definition of ‘national security’ and also reneged on prior promises that ‘commercial information’ would not be classified. As a result, the veil of secrecy over the state’s security apparatus and the overall activities of those in government has now been thickened.

It is now time to raise our collective voices to a new level.  The future of our democracy rests on an active and informed citizenry, willing and able to hold the elected government accountable to those in whose name it governs.

The message must be loud and clear: SCRAP THE SECRECY BILL in its entirety and start the process anew with full and proper public participation.

.               Limit secrecy to strictly defined national security matters and no more.
.               Officials must give reasons for making information secret.
.               Do not exempt the intelligence agencies from public scrutiny
.               Exclude commercial information from the Bill
.               Do not apply penalties for unauthorised disclosure to society at
large, only those responsible for keeping secrets
.               An independent body appointed by Parliament, and not the Minister of
State Security, should be the arbiter of decisions about what may be made secret
.               Do not criminalise the legitimate disclosure of secrets in the
public interest

For further information www.r2k.org.za (sign our statement)


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