2009-09-01: 'Flawed' media bill becomes law

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2009-09-01: 'Flawed' media bill becomes law

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2009-09-07 07:10

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 827C181979

'Flawed' media bill becomes law

September 01 2009 at 12:11AM

The Films and Publications Amendment Bill, described by critics as
deeply flawed and unconstitutional, has been signed into law.

The measure was promulgated in the Government Gazette last week.

When it was introduced in 2006, the media industry protested that it
paved the way for pre-publication censorship and criminalised free

Although a version was approved by Parliament, then-president Kgalema
Motlanthe in January this year decided not to sign it into law, and
referred it back to the legislature.

Raymond Louw, deputy chair of the South Africa chapter of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa, said on Monday that Parliament had not
made any substantive changes to that version.

"We deplore the fact that the bill has been signed into law, because
it will bring a range of problems for the media generally," he said.

Head of the media freedom committee at the South African National
Editors' Forum Thabo Leshilo said he had not seen a gazetted version
of the act.

"We need to look at the published act, thereafter we will give a
considered response," he said.

The department of home affairs introduced the bill partly in a bid to
combat child pornography.

Critics said however it paved the way for pre-publication censorship,
and that an exemption for newspapers who fell under the press
ombudsman left more than 500 other newspapers and publications out in
the cold.

Critics also expressed concerns at clauses aimed at limiting
publication of propaganda for war, incitement to violence, and the
depiction of sexual conduct.

The incitement to violence clause, they said, could be used to curtail
reporting on service delivery protests. - Sapa
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