09 June 2010

New submission on the Protection of Information Bill

SAHA and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have prepared a joint submission to be tabled before Parliament on the new Protection of Information Bill. In spite of previously having submitted an opinion on this Bill jointly, both organisations still have broad general concerns about the Bill and its practical implementation and relationship to access to information laws.

The Bill is largely tasked to deal with the protection of ‘certain' information from destruction, loss or unlawful disclosure and to repeal the previous Protection of Information Act, 1982. It does this by creating classifications of government documents and then outlining how each of these classifications is required to be handled. It also creates criminal offences for persons that contravene the Bill in particular ways.

It is hoped that SAHA will further be able to contribute to the path of the Bill through the National Coordinating Committee of Deputy Information Officers' Forum, as Gabriella Razzano of the Freedom of Information Programme is a member of that Committee. The Committee is also taking the time to consider the Bill and decide any potential contribution it could make.