15 August 2011

Hundreds attend Right2Know rally and march

On Saturday 13 August 2011 approximately 700 people attended a rally at the Wits Great Hall. Organised by the Right2Know campaign, the event provided an opportunity for community members and civil society organisations to express their opposition to the Protection of Information Bill.

A number of prominent South African's spoke at the event; Nadine Gordimer (winner of the Nobel Prize for literature), Ronnie Kasrils (former Minister of Intelligence), Sidumo Dlamini (President, COSATU) and Nic Dawes (Editor, Mail & Guardian). All expressed similar fears about the breadth of the Bill and the capacity for it to be used to limit the constitutional rights of access to information and freedom of expression.

After hearing from those speakers the event continued with a march to Constitutional Hill.

At Constitutional Hill Mashao Chauke, a community leader from Jourbert Park, addressed the crowd about the importance of access to information as a fundamental human right central to empowering communities to access other human rights such as housing and water. Mr Chauke explained that the central nature of access to information to the rights of the people means that the Bill poses a threat to all South Africans, not only members of the media.

Gauteng Right2Know spokesperson, Dale McKinley, urged members of civil society to join the campaign in placing pressure on government to scrap the Bill in order to undertake a full public participation process.

The ad hoc committee responsible for considering the Bill will continue to sit this month, considering the Bill clause by clause.

To sign up to the Right2Know campaign visit the website or SMS ‘TRUTH' and your name to 31332. You can also follow the campaign on twitter (@r2kcampaign) and facebook.