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Menings | Opinion > SeminaarKamer | Seminar Room > English > Mini-seminars

We object


Jan Andries Schaafsma - 2010-08-30

To whom it may concern

Protection of Information Bill/Proposed Media Tribunal

George Orwell's Animal Farm should be compulsory reading for every politician or would-be politician in the world. It is the clearest exposition of the process almost every so-called revolution in history has followed. South Africa, which was given the chance to make a fresh start in 1990, has squandered its opportunity to avoid the fate depicted in Animal Farm, and unfortunately we are now hovering on the brink of the last sentence of that book: "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

Indeed.

Having lived through the determined assault on the media launched by a previous government in the 1970s, one can only say that the present ANC government has learnt the lessons of history well. There is absolutely no difference between the tactics then and the tactics now. The intended end result, too, is the same, namely to protect a government which is clearly on the wrong path from legitimate criticism from outside its ranks. Who believes that the intended measures are designed for the good of the ordinary citizens of the country? Nobody! They are meant solely to protect those in power from any exposure of their often nefarious misdeeds.

The strongest possible objection must be voiced against the Protection of Information Bill and the proposed Media Tribunal. If not, South Africa will, inevitably, sooner rather than later, slide into the final stages of every failed state which has wrongly believed that hiding in the dark is preferable to standing, with clean hands, in the light of truth.

Jan Andries Schaafsma

 

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