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'Draconian' law is slammed

By unknown | Jul 24, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

South African editors have accused Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula of proposing a new draft law that is unconstitutional and will stifle media freedom.

Jovial Rantao, the chairman of the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef), said yesterday that the updated version of the "draconian" National Key Points Act has "no place in the new democratic South Africa".

Spokesman for Nqakula, pictured, Trevor Bloem, told Sowetan yesterday the ministry would not issue a draft law it believed was unconstitutional.

It was first published in April for public comment. He said Sanef had made its comment after the deadline but that all its input would be taken into account before the draft became law.

Sanef's main concern is the increase in penalties to a fine of R1million and/or 20 years' imprisonment.

Rantao agreed with Cosatu that it would also affect holding demonstrations outside key point buildings.

"The Key Points Act was introduced by the National Party government to protect strategic installations and important buildings against revolutionary activists. Its main purpose was to prevent news gathering.

"Now, without notifying the media, a new draft law has been introduced. With a minor change for the minister to consult an advisory committee before declaring a key point, the rest of the unacceptable provisions remain, maintaining a ban on gathering information."


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