The bill was passed. Now to fight it in the Constitutional Court. As my friend and fellow bloggess Tarryn Harbour said,
Cry the Beloved Country.
And, of course, Nando’s responded immediately with a clever ad:
Black Tuesday is indeed a dark day in South Africa’s history, as the Protection of State Information Bill – a set of laws that place many restrictions on publications and make investigative journalism essentially illegal – is being sent to Parliament. Journalists and citizens are wearing black today as an reference to a similar protestation against censorship (Black Wednesday) during the apartheid era.
As the Times writes in their editor’s plea against the secrecy bill:
“The African National Congress has protested against comparisons between this vote and Black Wednesday, the banning on October 19 1977, of The World and the detention of its editor, Percy Qoboza, and staff including Aggrey Klaaste. But this vote comes amid escalating attacks by the ANC on reporters, newspapers and the freedom of the press.”
Facebook is awash with people’s ire at the government trying to repress our ability to know the truth as to what is happening in the highest echelons of power.
Here are some brilliant articles on the topic:
“Without a triumph of personal integrity over political expediency in the National Assembly this afternoon, this day will mark the beginning of the end of the freedom of information we cherish as a pillar of the constitution that guards our future.” – Times’ Editor’s plea
“South Africans will be donning black and marching to several locations around the country to protest the Bill with its draconian clauses that would effectively put an end to investigative journalism and its embarrassing consequences for corrupt politicians.
“There is a sense of standing on the edge of something large and frightening. But also that familiar feeling of solidarity. The idea that, despite our constant and petty bickering, South Africans are pretty darn good at pulling together in a way that sometimes borders on magical.” – Verashni Pillay, ‘The Right Side of Hope’
I sit in black in my office and can only hope that this truly appalling attack on our basic liberties and freedoms is not rubber-stamped through Parliament today, on Black Tuesday.
So go to Parliament and Luthuli House and show the government that we will not stand for this!
To South Africa, my land.