The first day of public hearings on the Protection of State Information Bill by a National Council of Province committee was lively, chairman Raseriti Tau said on Tuesday.

“The major highlight of today's meeting was the lively participation of both the youth and the senior citizens of the community.”.

The committee said it had noted concerns raised by the community and would place “special emphasis” on several issues that had come up strongly from the public.

These issues included the role of the classification review panel and its accessibility.

Another was the prosecution of local journalists if found to have reported on classified information as opposed to their international counterparts, who would escape prosecution.

As the committee will be moving from province to province, it is urging citizens to familiarise themselves with what is contained in the bill.

This would help the committee obtain an accurate view of what South African citizens wanted out of the legislation. - Sapa