Hierdie is die LitNet-argief (2006–2012)
Besoek die aktiewe LitNet-platform by www.litnet.co.za

This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za


 
Menings | Opinion > SeminaarKamer | Seminar Room > Nuusbrief: Vrye Woord

Die ANC se aanslag op skrif – 15/10/2010: Kampvegter vir spraakvryheid bekroon


2010-10-15

Kampvegter vir spraakvryheid bekroon

Die redakteursbrief op LitNet berig soos volg oor ’n lid van Vrye Woord se nuusbriefredaksie:

Etienne van Heerden is gisteraand bekroon met die Hertzogprys vir sy roman Dertig nagte in Amsterdam. Van Heerden het in sy aanvaardingstoespraak vandag se politieke atmosfeer rondom sensuur en mediavryheid vergelyk met dié in 1989 toe die Hertzogprys aan hom toegeken is vir sy roman Toorberg. Hy het dit beklemtoon dat die pen magtiger as die swaard is en dat vrye spraak sterker is as enige muilband. Van Heerden het gevra dat elkeen hom-/haarself moet uitspreek teen die voorgestelde wetgewing wat spraakvryheid kan inperk.

Vrye Woord wens ’n vaandeldraer uit eie geledere hartlik geluk. Tydens sy onderhoud op RSG oor die oorhandiging het hy ook by herhaling beklemtoon hoe belangrik die beskerming van "die vrye woord" is.

Die herhaalde toekenning van die grootste prestigeprys in Afrikaans juis na die eerste in 1989 is besonder gepas vir die stryd om spraakvryheid. Dit was die jaar van ons beraad in Julie by die Victoria-waterval met die destyds verbode ANC. Naas my en Etienne was daar twee ander ander redaksielede van Vrye Woord se nuusbrief, Breyten Breytenbach en John Miles, onder die dertig Afrikaanse skrywers wat ANC-leiers ontmoet het. By ons terugkeer was die skrywers baie positief oor die vooruitsigte vir ’n demokratiese en vrye bedeling wat die ANC aan ons voorgehou het. Politici, slinkse jakkalse, kan enige mooi geluide en beloftes laat hoor. Ek weet nie van een van die dertig skrywers wat nie vandag ontnugter is oor die manier waarop die ANC (nie in die eerste plek die regering of staat nie) ons op hulle ideologiese pad na beperkings op die vrye woord dwing nie.

Ons vier kom as “oudstryders” ‘n lang pad sedert die sensuurdwingelandy onder die NP tot met bevrydende demokratisering en daarna. Etienne het aspekte daarvan byvoorbeeld in Casspirs en campari’s beskryf. Die toenemende vervreemding en ontnugtering van die skrywer/akademikus is onlangs miskien die beste in Asbesmiddag opgeteken.

Waarvoor Vrye Woord hom tans die meeste eer, is dat hy onmiddellik met die ANC se aanslag op spraakvryheid al LitNet se baie invloedryke vermoëns ingespan het om in die voorste linie te gaan veg. Vir ons wat verryp het, is die grootste bate van toenemende ouderdom nie wysheid nie, maar ervaring. Ons weet wie skuil agter die duiwel se grynsende mombakkies.

Etienne het aangebied om aan Vrye Woord en die nuusbrief ’n vaste tuiste te bied. Ons sê nie slegs geluk nie, maar baie dankie. Etienne, mag jy met nog vele meesterwerke die vrye woord laat triomfeer.

Foto: Naomi Bruwer


Avaaz petition supported by 32 000 

In September Vrye Woord reported on the petition by Avaaz. This is a follow-up letter with a renewed call to sign the petition, which we strongly support.

The pressure is working! The public outcry against the ANC’s unconstitutional media and secrecy measures - and our 32 000 strong petition - has already helped force the government to "tone down" and "rethink" their approach!

But South Africa’s democracy is at risk – the devil is in the detail and Parliament is still debating the Secrecy Bill that would block the media from exposing corruption and abuse of power, and allow government and security agencies to operate without public accountability.

Next week South Africa celebrates Media Freedom Day, and Parliament will reopen discussions. Let’s double our numbers and deliver a tidal wave of public support for democratic values. Click to sign the urgent petition, then forward this message to everyone – next week it will be delivered directly to MPs before the Committee debate. The public pressure is working; let’s ramp it up.

43% of South Africans survive on no more than R16 a day and half of our youth are unemployed, while Transparency International claims "corruption is increasing at an enormous rate and it impacts severely on the poor. Revenue destined for the poor is misappropriated." These new proposals would obstruct the media’s bold efforts to expose bribery, corruption and fraud, and would lead this proud democracy towards autocratic control.

The Protection of Information Bill would allow any national or local government department or agency to classify and make secret any information that they consider against the “national interest” and would punish whistle blowers or journalists with up to 25 years in jail if they leak or publish information that was classified, even if it was in the public interest. This violates Section 32 of the Constitution, which protects the citizens’ right of access to any information held by the State. After the public outcry Minister Cwele said “national interest” would be replaced with “issues that have an effect on national security” and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee said public submissions would still be considered. But nothing will change without a growing national uproar.

The Media Appeals Tribunal was endorsed by the ANC at the National General Council last month and would replace the Press Ombudsman with a state agency accountable only to the ruling party, tightly regulating reporting, and imposing penalties on journalists who publish unapproved content.

On October 19, 1977, three newspapers were banned, along with 18 organisations, and journalists were arrested. Today the day is marked as Media Freedom Day to remember and appreciate those South Africans who bravely dared to write about the injustices under apartheid and struggled for free speech and the rights and responsibilities of a free press.

But this year there is little to celebrate – these secrecy and media gag proposals flout these freedoms. Together we have built a massive citizens campaign to ensure that legitimate disclosure of public-interest information is not criminalised and our media is free. We’ve seen it start to work already; now let’s change the course of these repressive policies and build the pressure to protect democracy. Sign the urgent petition and forward this message to everyone.

Many fought, and died, for these freedoms. Now, if citizens stand up together to protect South Africa’s democracy, our outcry will be too loud to ignore – and we will beat those who want to protect their power and privilege by curbing constitutional liberties.

With hope and determination:

Alice, Paul, Ricken, Benjamin, Emma, Giulia, Pascal, Iain, Paula and the whole Avaaz team


More information

Avaaz.org was launched in January 2007 with a simple democratic mission: work with citizens everywhere to help close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want. In three years, Avaaz has grown to over 5,8 million members from every country on earth, becoming the largest global web movement in history.­ Avaaz’s largest membership is in Brazil and France, and Mexico and India are two of Avaaz’s fastest growing memberships this year. This campaign is being launched with the nearly 60 000 Avaaz members across South Africa.


Sources


SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) Chairman says Avaaz public pressure is forcing change

Avaaz campaign reported in the press:
http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article680767.ece/Thousands-against-media-t
http://www.weekendpost.co.za/article.aspx?id=610725
http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/466/52503.html
http://www.dispatch.co.za/article.aspx?id=437192

"SA journalists fight proposed media laws", Mail&Guardian

"It’s your right to know, public reminded", Iol/Cape Times

Protection of Information Bill

"Media Appeals Tribunal" proposal in the ANC Discussion paper on "Media Diversity and Ownership"

South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign: Combining Law and Social Mobilization to Realize the Right to Health, Mark Heywood
 

CM


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