Secrecy Bill a threat to freedom, says Nadine Gordimer

Nobel prize winning author Nadine Gordimer has condemned the Protection of State Information Bill, calling it a threat to freedom in South Africa.

In an article published on the website of the New York Review of Books she compared it to apartheid laws.

Her article, “South Africa: The New Threat to Freedom”, dated May 24, was one of the website’s top stories on Thursday morning.

“The right to know must continue to accompany the right to vote,” she wrote.

The Bill “has been and continues to be seen as an obvious means of concealing the corruption that has become a way of South African life for many”.

The Bill was passed by Parliament last year, but has not yet been made law.

It prescribes prison sentences for whistle-blowers who expose corruption. Under the Bill, possession of information that directly or indirectly benefits a foreign state will be criminalised.

Gordimer accused President Jacob Zuma of using “manipulative tactics” to ensure the Bill gained legal acceptance. He intended to seek changes to the Constitution, and to review the powers of the Constitutional Court, she said.

“The Constitutional Court is the last line of defence to preserve press freedom, indeed all our freedoms.” - Sapa

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