New Bill curbs access to information

12 August 2010 | Story by Newsroom

Professor Hugh Corder

Even a cursory study of its contents suggests that the chorus of scepticism and opposition that has greeted the Protection of Information Bill 6 of 2010 is well founded. So hinted Professor Hugh Corder of UCT's Department of Public Law when speaking at a lunchtime meeting of the Black Law Students' Forum on 5 August.

While the Bill pays frequent lip service to the openness of government and freedom of expression, said Corder, it boasts countless invasions on such Constitutional values.

Among these are its broad and open-ended definition of the 'national interest' that underpins it, the subjective process of classification and declassification of information, a lack of transparent and independent review, greater workloads on an already thinly stretched civil service, no protection for whistle blowers, and some frighteningly harsh minimum penalties for transgressors (likely to further discourage potential whistle blowers.) Said Corder: "What this Bill does is put cheek by jowl wonderful, ringing language about democracy and openness, and arbitrary mechanisms to close those down."

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.