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South Africa Passes Secrecy Bill, Makes Whistleblowing a Dangerous Act 118

New submitter Hermanas writes with the story that South Africa's parliament has passed a Protection of Information Bill which could land whistle blowers and journalists who print classified information in jail for up to 25 years. From the Telegraph: "On the morning of the vote, a joint editorial in the country's largest newspapers heralded [a South African] 'day of reckoning for democracy.' 'The spreading culture of self-enrichment, either corrupt, or merely inappropriate, makes scrutiny fuelled by whistle blowers who have the public interest at heart more essential than ever since 1994,' the front page editorial said. As MPs voted on the bill in Cape Town's parliament, protesters dressed all in black gathered at the gates of the historic building where they were addressed by editors and freedom of information activists."
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South Africa Passes Secrecy Bill, Makes Whistleblowing a Dangerous Act

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  • Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @01:38PM (#38138048)
    I would have expected this here in the U.S. or China, not South Africa. We're having a bad influence on the rest of the world, I think...
  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr1911 ( 1942298 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:16PM (#38138744)
    Expect an even worse version to be submitted in the US in the near future. It will almost certainly be presented as a way to 1) save the children, or 2) protect us from terrorists.
  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:16PM (#38138758)

    The 1% are in power and want to stay that way. The truth is not their friend.

  • Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler ( 239527 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:22PM (#38138856)

    Now I understand COMPLETELY, the decision by the then-white-minority government in South Africa, to relinquish their nuclear weapons and put their nuclear programme under international safeguards.

    And this does not make Jacob ('Bring Me My Machine Gun') Zuma and his cronies look too good.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chicago_scott ( 458445 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:28PM (#38138964) Journal

    You didn't expect something like this in a country that had apartheid until 1990 and imprisoned people who spoke out in favor or equal rights? Really?

  • by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:29PM (#38138974)

    There is nothing to see here, move along..

    Welcome back to apartheid, only under black rule instead of white rule..

    This country (I am an expat) is intent on destroying itself. They have been trying to change history by renaming, or removing all monuments, good or bad, to historical figures and events.

    I'm glad I left.. as have most of my friends. SA while a beautiful country from a landscape aspect, is an absolute shithole from a people aspect, black, white, indian, makes not difference, the few good ones left should get the fuck out while the getting is good.

  • Re:Nukes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:35PM (#38139106)

    > And this does not make Jacob ('Bring Me My Machine Gun') Zuma and his cronies look too good.

    True, but when you have the machine gun (or/and all the money) you don't care what anyone thinks of you.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:42PM (#38139220) Journal
    The naive-optimist theory of human nature is that a good, hard, dose of oppression and brutality makes people see the evil of it.

    In a few, noble, cases(e.g. Mr. Mandela), it does. In less uplifting characters(e.g. his former wife, it renders them brutal: see "necklacing; support of"). In the case of cynical opportunists(like much of the present ANC leadership) it merely awakens them to an understanding of how terribly convenient power can be...

    (While the almost complete failure of this naive-optimist theory has applied time and again to post-colonial African governance, it is by no means exclusive to the continent. My very own New England was founded by religious refugees from Old England who sought a new land where, safe from their persecutors, they could safely persecute the shit out of people they didn't like... It is very lucky indeed that the foundation of the present day US occurred well after the initial round of assholes had died down a touch.)
  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:02PM (#38139474)

    uhm the regime changed, the irony is the ones backing the bill are those who are still flying the ANC flag and have their whole identity invested in the so called "struggle". Hopefully 50 years from now young black "revolutionaries" will not still be blaming everything on apartheid. It's been over 25 years, surely all the shortcomings of the last 10 years at least can no longer be attributed to the previous regime? we have come a long way, but as long as the government squanders billions on corrupt deals and we have millions of uneducated, ignorant, disgruntled young men being drummed up by hate mongering "revolutionaries"(who live lavish lives of excess), history is going to repeat itself.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @03:42PM (#38140000)

    If you look at his past in today's context, he would be labeled a terrorist, and rightly so.

    He was labelled a terrorist back then. In fact, up until 2008, Mandela needed special waivers to travel to the US from the Secretary of State as a result of it.

    That said, for his part, he always did try to prevent people from getting hurt. He was going after buildings symbolic to the Apartheid government. The rest of his group didn't always adhere to that, and they got pretty violent, but it's hard to control people who have been oppressed for so long.

    People say that it's difficult to differentiate a terrorist from a freedom fighter. Here's my attempt: if you actually lay down arms and move towards reconciliation once you've ended the oppression, instead of trying to become the oppressor, then you're a freedom fighter. That's what Mandela did, and I have to call that noble, from the start. Because fighting for your freedom is a noble thing to do.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @04:55PM (#38140808)

    The NYT didn't leak the stories, Bradley Manning did. Hence, Bradley Manning is in jail and not the NYT.

    This isn't difficult to understand.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain