The sad truth is that we have a govt that seems intent on turning corruption into a national sport...
November 22, 2011 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Today the South African parliament, dominated by the ANC, passed by a large majority a media law which will restrict and constrain independent journalism in that country. Indeed, the law seems designed to squeeze, chill or eliminate independent reporting. The state is going to be accountable to the state. [George Brock]

It's Black Tuesday in South Africa. Under the guise of guarding national interests, the Protection of Information Bill allows "the government to classify any information, including police investigations, as confidential in the name of "national interest" – a vague, all-encompassing designation that could severely limit the media and thus the public's access to information." [WAN-IFRA]. Transgressors face 25 years of jail time if convicted under the law.

The Nelson Mandela Center of Memory doesn't like it. Journalists are demonstrating. Celebrities are tweeting:
The sad truth is that we have a govt that seems intent on turning corruption into a national sport...
... And a press that for the most part seems more intent on selling newspapers than being a watch dog.
[@RobVanVuuren]
Last month, On The Media reported on State-Owned Media In South Africa.
posted by not_the_water (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
20 years from optimism and one of the most liberal consitutions in Africa to this.

Disappoint.
posted by jaduncan at 11:54 AM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hope that people can fight back enough to roll this back. It's just that one party states (and SA is effectively that, in terms of real politicial power) rarely go well. It's heartbreaking and enraging in this case in particular, as I'm sure Mandela himself hates it. He's 93, he's not got long to go, and I hope he speaks out about this rather than dying knowing he stood aside as this is what his movement became.
posted by jaduncan at 12:03 PM on November 22, 2011


The rich, ruling class has taken off the gloves, hasn't it, the world over.
posted by maxwelton at 12:03 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's Black Tuesday in South Africa.

Racist.
posted by gyc at 12:17 PM on November 22, 2011


The invisible hand forming a fist.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:27 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Had this bill been enacted a few years earlier by Mbeki, Zuma would probably not be in power as it was a leaked telephone call between Mbeki and NPA chief Leonard McCarthy discussing the proposed prosecution against Zuma that forced Mbeki to resign.

Zuma's newly appointed Presidential Legal Adviser (and ex personal lawyer) Michael Hulley, who released the tapes would also be occupying a cell instead of an office in the Union Buildings.
posted by PenDevil at 12:33 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is so disappointing. It makes me want to be back in the country of my birth. South Africa needs a new revolution now.
posted by New England Cultist at 12:35 PM on November 22, 2011


The rich, ruling class has taken off the gloves, hasn't it, the world over.

Sadder still to see another "liberation" movement seduced by tyrannical temptation...
posted by BobbyVan at 12:55 PM on November 22, 2011


gyc: Racist.

I can't tell if you're joking or not, but the name is a reference to Black Wednesday:
On October 19, 1977, South Africa's government banned The World newspaper, along with Weekend World, the paper's weekly magazine, and Pro Veritate, a Christian publication. Authorities also detained scores of activists and outlawed 17 anti-apartheid groups during the one-day crackdown, which came to be known as Black Wednesday.

When apartheid ended in 1994, the date was recast as an annual holiday: South Africa's National Day of Media Freedom.
posted by Kattullus at 1:02 PM on November 22, 2011


The invisible hand forming a fist.

This has nothing to do with the invisible hand, quite the opposite. It's protecting lapdog media by restricting competition from independent media.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:58 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


“Information is power and power corrupts, so in the interest of a better South Africa we have chosen to regulate the information that we make available.

“We can’t afford to have too much corruption or there won’t be enough of the good stuff to go around,” he said.
via Hayibo, the South African version of the humble onion
posted by infini at 2:12 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps Zuma envies the security Robert Mugabe's presidency has?
posted by acb at 2:32 PM on November 22, 2011


Perhaps Zuma envies the security Robert Mugabe's presidency has?

Hardly. Mugabe is a missed Army salary payment away from the business end of a noose and a street lamp.
posted by PenDevil at 2:46 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The invisible hand forming a fist.

Oh? Did Goldman Sachs just ban independent media? You twits? Did Milton Friedman build another jail for newspapermen?

The rich, ruling class has taken off the gloves, hasn't it, the world over.

In Europe and America, blame a transnational financial elite. In South Africa, blame a native political elite. I don't see what you achieve by running them together.
posted by grobstein at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Given that South Africa was recently invited to join the BRIC nations to form the ever popular BRICS, and its considered a (rolls eyes) CIVETS in the UK right now, not to mention "the gateway to Africa" by Walmart and suchlike, I'd be curious to know if your above mentioned native political elite weren't somehow connected to the transnational financial elite.
posted by infini at 3:58 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


FFS not everything is about the frickin banks. Governments can be bad on their on initiative, and can be motivated for their own political or otherwise survival. Really it's starting to feel like a first year pol sci course up in here; people just discovering what capitalism means and - my god! It's everywhere!

Yes, there is money involved in governments, and often many different forms of banking. Terrifying I submit, but I, too, have a bank - yet neither do I take covert orders from them, or find their dictates on my life too intense.

This is a story about government corruption, freedom of press and information, and democracy at heart; let's not get too craycray with the OWS soundbites...
posted by smoke at 6:42 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I'd be curious to know if your above mentioned native political elite weren't somehow connected to the transnational financial elite."

This is covered to some degree in "The Shock Doctrine."
posted by marienbad at 2:17 AM on November 23, 2011


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