Health newsHealth & Medical News › We stand against the Secrecy Bill

Story Photo: We stand against the Secrecy Bill
We stand against the Secrecy Bill

In its current form, the Secrecy Bill recommends excessive penalties for those who are “in possession” of documents that the state security cluster have determined to contain “state secrets”. The definition of such secrets is wide and imprecise.

The Bill offers no possibility that journalists or anyone caught with such “secret documents” can offer a “public interest” defence. In other words, even if the secret documents reveal, for example, an abuse of public funds, the person caught with them will not be able to defend themselves by saying that it is in the public interest that such information gets published. Many countries throughout the world have state security laws, but allow whistle-blowers to claim public interest as their defence.

The Bill “will severely limit civil society and the media’s ability to expose corruption and mismanagement in government and elsewhere”, according to a range of civil society organisations.

While government has the right to protect its citizens and keep us safe, citizens also have the right to know that the tax money we pay to our government is being spent wisely and for the good of all and that the security forces are not abusing their powers.

Negotiations between the ANC government and media organisations on the Secrecy Bill have exposed extraordinary paranoia within the government’s security apparatus with Minister of State Security, Siyabonga Cwele, claiming that those against the Bill were in the pay of "foreign spies".

We come from a dark past during which the interests of the security forces dominated the apartheid government.

Under apartheid, journalists’ homes were constantly raided, we were frequently arrested and interrogated about stories that the security police believed undermined “state security”. Many of us were charged with the possession of “banned literature” and faced long, ridiculous court cases. This is not an era we want to go back to – ever.
Kerry Cullinan, Managing Editor.

Source: Health-e News , By Kerry Cullinan

Link this story to your website:

Copy the above code and paste it into your webpage, blog or forum

Comments On We stand against the Secrecy Bill

Be the first one to comment on this news

Your Comment
Your Name
Your Email

Your Email will not be shown with your comment

Secret Number

Please type the numbers shown above into the Secret Number box.