Journalists and members of civil society conduct a march to Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg on National Media Freedom Day, as part of a protest against the draft Protection of Information Bill they see as a threat to South Africa's democracy.
Journalists and members of civil society conduct a march to Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg on National Media Freedom Day, as part of a protest against the draft Protection of Information Bill they see as a threat to South Africa's democracy.

‘Stop the return to Apartheid-era secrecy’

By Time of article published Oct 19, 2010

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About two hundred people with masking tape over their mouths started marching from Senate House in Johannesburg on Tuesday, as a silent protest against the proposed Protection of Information Bill.

“The bill is unconstitutional... Marching to the Constitutional court is therefore important,” Right2Know spokesperson Siphiwe Segodi said to reporters.

Most marchers did not get the memo about a silent protest and sang struggle songs loudly while carrying their banners down Jorissen street.

Many carried the banners, “Ignorance is no bliss” and “Stop the return to Apartheid-era secrecy”.

“We hope that through this march, consideration will be made to radically revise the bill,” Segodi said.

Earlier, the organisation's spokesperson Mark Weinberg said in a statement: “The Right2Know campaign aims to raise awareness about the threat that the Protection of Information Bill - the secrecy bill - poses to our democracy,”

“(We want to) mobilise South Africans to demand that the Bill be scrapped in its current form.”

Marchers were expected to meet at noon on Tuesday outside Wits University's Senate House entrance in Jorissen Street and start marching towards Constitution Hill.

“We will start off with the singing of the national anthem and then listen to a poem written by one of our partners. We will then have a member of the SA history archives talk about the info bill,” the campaign's Gauteng convener Ayesha Kajee said.

“Lastly, a member of the anti-privatisation forum will talk about the potential impact of the bill on communities at grassroots level.”

Pickets were also expected to take place in Durban and Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, with a comedy evening ending the campaign's first day in Cape Town.

Supporters of the campaign included the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Media Monitoring Africa, the Professional Journalists Association, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and writer Nadine Gordimer.

Campaign activities would take place until October 27. -

Sapa

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