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Thread: Government to Hide Corruption

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    Exclamation Government To Hide Information?

    This report is an example of news not being published in English media but covered by the Afrikaans media:

    The government will be able to use a bill that makes provision for the protection of sensitive information to hide corruption and other scandals. The bill will also be able to prevent investigative journalism from taking place.

    The bill could be used to hide tender information regarding the recent soccer world cup. It could also be used to hide government contracts that were awarded to senior politicians.

    This is the concerns voiced in written presentations from various organizations that insist that the Bill be revoked and rewritten. The union Cosatu described it as "a step backwards for our democracy".

    Other organizations described it as being "draconian" and reminded them of "apartheid style"- legislation.

    Public hearings will probably be the cause of fireworks when a parliamentary ad hoc-committee will meet next Wednesday to hear verbal objections.

    This law will enable the government to classify information of national and governmental importance for 20 years.

    "Thus documents connected to governmental tenders could be withheld from the public," Mr. Dave Steward from the F.W. de Klerk-foundation told yesterday.

    The South African Humanrights commission is of opinion that the bill could be abused to cover up corruption, irregularities in tender procedures as well as other illegal actions.

    Source: Die Burger

    Link: http://www.nuus24.com/Suid-Afrika/Nu...eer-20100715-2

    Kaapstad – Die staat sal ’n wetsontwerp wat voorsiening maak vir die beskerming van sensitiewe inligting kan inspan om korrupsie en skandes toe te smeer en ondersoekende joernalistiek te dwarsboom.

    Die Wetsontwerp op die Beskerming van Inligting kan dus meebring dat inligting oor tenders wat met die afgelope Wêreldbeker-sokkertoernooi verbind word, geheim gehou word. Dit sal gebruik kan word om staatskontrakte met senior politici toe te smeer.

    Dié voorbehoude is vervat in geskrewe voorleggings van verskeie belangegroepe wat daarop aandring dat die wetsontwerp onttrek en herskryf word. Ook die vakverbond Cosatu meen dit is ’n “tree terug vir ons demokrasie”.

    Ander organisasies meen die wetsontwerp is “drakonies” en herinner aan “apartheidstyl”- wetgewing.

    Openbare verhore sal waarskynlik vir vuurwerk sorg wanneer ’n parlementêre ad hoc-komitee volgende Woensdag vergader om mondelinge betoë aan te hoor.

    Die wet sal die staat magtig om inligting in nasionale belang of in die belang van staatsveiligheid te klassifiseer en dit vir tot 20 jaar geheim te hou.

    “Dus kan dokumente wat verband hou met staatstenders van die publiek weerhou word,” het mnr. Dave Steward van die F.W. de Klerk-stigting gister gesê.

    Die Suid-Afrikaanse Menseregtekommissie meen die wet kan misbruik word om korrupsie, onreëlmatige tenderprosedures en onwettige optrede te verdoesel.

    Bron: Die Burger

    Skakel: http://www.nuus24.com/Suid-Afrika/Nu...eer-20100715-2
    Last edited by Hamrammr; Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Added link

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    Info Bill 'like apartheid secrecy'

    A new report on this matter:

    Cape Town - Sections of the government's proposed protection of information legislation are reminiscent of apartheid-era secrecy laws, according to an intelligence expert.

    They also displayed a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution, Dr Laurie Nathan said in a submission to Parliament's ad hoc committee on the Protection of Information Bill. Nathan was a member of the Ministerial Review Commission on Intelligence, which ran from 2006 to 2008.

    The parliamentary committee is holding public hearings this week on the bill.

    Nathan said that while there were legitimate grounds for protecting certain information, this should be the exception and not routine.

    "The government cannot seek to avoid all possible harm that might arise from the disclosure of sensitive information," he said.

    "Some risk of harm has to be tolerated in a democracy because the dangers posed by secrecy - lack of accountability, abuse of power, infringements of human rights and a culture of impunity - can imperil the democratic order itself."

    Apartheid-era secrecy

    Nathan said sections 11 and 15 of the bill, which provided for classification of sensitive material and defined "the national interest" very broadly, were its most problematic.

    "They provide so general and sweeping a basis for non-disclosure of information that they are reminiscent of apartheid-era secrecy legislation... and in conflict with the constitutional right of access to information," he said.

    They also clashed with the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

    Nathan said the definitions would be extremely difficult to apply in practise.

    Officials in all organs of State would have to decide whether disclosure of particular information might harm "any matter relating to the advancement of the public good" or the "pursuit of justice, democracy, economic growth, free trade, a stable monetary system and sound international relations".

    These phrases were capable of many interpretations and there would inevitably be significant inconsistencies between the classifications made by different officials.

    National interest

    Because the definitions of "national interest" and "national security" were so broad, they were likely to lead to a "chronic over-classification of State information", reminiscent of the apartheid era.

    The two sections flowed from the belief set out in the bill that "secrecy exists to protect the national interest".

    "This line of thinking is constitutionally unsound," Nathan said.

    "Since the 'national interest' includes the pursuit of justice and democracy, as stated in section 11, it is not secrecy but rather transparency and access to information that protect the national interest."

    He said the bill suggested that the Constitution's provisions on openness and access to information were "subject to the security of the republic, in that the national security of the republic may not be compromised".

    "This is also a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution, whose approach to security requires openness and access to information," he said.

    Secrecy should instead be motivated with reference to "specified and significant" harm that might arise from the disclosure of particular information.
    Link: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Ne...crecy-20100719

    Source: News24

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