South Africa | Freedom House – Yes, YOU can express an opinion and follow-up on reports for general benefit and information!

Freedoms of expression and of the press are protected in the constitution and generally respected in practice, and South Africa has vibrant journalists’ and press freedom advocacy organizations. However, several apartheid-era laws and a 2004 Law on Antiterrorism permit authorities to restrict reporting on the security forces, prisons, and mental institutions. Moreover, recent legislation could further restrict the scope of permissible reporting in South Africa. In 2009, the controversial Film and Publications Amendment Act was signed into law to protect against child pornography and hate speech. The legislation—which requires any publisher not recognized by the press ombudsman to submit a wide range of potentially “pornographic” or “violence-inciting” materials to a government board for approval—was widely criticized by press freedom advocates as a means of prepublication censorship.

In November 2011, the Constitutional Court accepted a multiparty legal challenge to the law.Also in November, the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, passed the controversial Protection of Information Bill, despite vociferous opposition from private media outlets, most opposition parties, and a raft of civil society and freedom of expression organizations. Just two months earlier, the ruling African National Congress ANC party had withdrawn the bill for possible amendment, though no significant changes were made. The bill allows state agencies and government officials to classify a wide range of information—including “all matters relating to the advancement of the public good” and “the survival and security of the state”—as in the “national interest” and thus subject to significant restrictions on publication and disclosure. It mandates prison terms of 3 to 25 years for violations and does not allow a “public interest” defense. To become law, the bill must also be approved by the National Council of Provinces, the upper house, before being signed into law by the president.

via South Africa | Freedom House.

One Response to “South Africa | Freedom House – Yes, YOU can express an opinion and follow-up on reports for general benefit and information!”

  1. Reblogged this on The New South Africa ~ Rainbow Nation and commented:

    Freedoms of expression and of the press are protected in the constitution and generally respected in practice, and South Africa has vibrant journalists’ and press freedom advocacy organizations.

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