While going through the Sunday papers it became clear to me that the media are under immense pressure to stay within the bounds of South African law. Not only is a Protection of State Information Bill on its way but the National Prosecuting Authority Act and even the case law prohibiting the naming of litigants in matters of divorce make publishing somewhat treacherous these days.
This, to my mind, must be read against the general ignorance of the masses, many of whom have been fed a diet of lies which seeks to convince them that this is their government sticking up for them against foreign spies, colonialists, imperialists and those who wish to perpetuate the legacy of apartheid.
In fact, simplified, the POIB will make it nigh on impossible to stop government departments stealing billions of rands of taxpayers’ moneys. Any journalist seeking to prove corruption would have to be seriously suicidal to obtain evidence thereof. In the main they won’t even try because the risks are too great. Those billions will now be lost to service delivery meaning that the masses standing behind the government on the POIB are like the victims of a genocide transporting the weapons of death to assist the murderers.
It really is as simple as that.
How do you know that? Because if the POIB was really about security alone it would not provide the ludicrous mechanisms to ensure that the government can close down media reporting on areas outside national security. The Bill’s proponents would not resist the public interest defence which in part, and only that, hives off those matters which don’t relate to national security and offers journalists a defence of justification at trial.
As I indicated previously the defence does not offer bail pending trial and any negotiator who is serious about reducing the impact of the Bill needs to ensure that in instances which do not relate to actual matters of state security bail must be available to accused being tried where a public interest defence is cited. Genuine foreign spies, for example, could never claim that their conduct was in the public interest.
With the nonsense being offered as the basis for this Bill, perhaps it is time for the media to become mental and start publishing “dumb” with articles like this: NB This really is a fictitious example and I’m just using Mac Maharaj as an example because readers can measure it against something they are currently reading about.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN IN HOT WATER?
A South African presidency spokesman [Mac Maharaj’s name has been withheld upon request … an extremely threatening letter from his attorneys is closer] is currently embroiled in a career-ending battle with the media over claims that he lied to an inquiry.
(NB READERS SHOULD NOT CLICK ON THE LINKS WHICH ARE CLASSIFIED UNDER THE NPA ACT AND POIB ACT. IF YOU DO THEN YOU HAVE BREACHED THE ACTS AND GET WHAT YOU DESERVE)
We have subsequently learned — after the bits about the NPA and POIB Acts — that the spokesman is undergoing a divorce. Readers are instructed to immediately Tippex out the name in the first line of this article on your computer or smartphone.
In the sequence that we reported it this should not present a problem.
If we had heard about the divorce first we’d have been fucked.
NB: This is not a factual article and Mac is not getting a divorce