Media Tribunal and POI Bill are not the same

Idasa points out that the Protection of Information Bill and the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal are not one and the same, as their interchangeable use in the media has led many to believe. PIMS manager Judith February says: “The Protection of Information Bill will, if passed in its current form, have serious consequences for all ordinary citizens, not only journalists.”
Read more below.


20 August 2010

Idasa notes with concern the ongoing confusion within both print and electronic media as regards the Protection of Information Bill and the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal. The Protection of Information Bill currently before Parliament proposes to set up a system of classification of information. We are of the view that this Bill will lead to over-classification of information by the state with grave consequences for citizens wishing to obtain information from the state in order to exercise their Constitutional rights. The Bill, we believe, will be a step backwards in the fight for open democracy.

It would seem that the Protection of Information Bill and the Media Appeals Tribunal are being used interchangeably in our public discourse. The Bill is a separate instrument to the proposed tribunal, which is a proposal within a discussion document to be presented at the ANC’s National General Council meeting next month. It is suggested that the tribunal deal with malicious reporting by journalists and such matters. Many are concerned, rightly, about its impact on press freedom. The Protection of Information Bill is not, however, the enabling legislation for the Media Appeals Tribunal. The Bill might have the unintended consequences of having a chilling impact on investigative journalism but it is not to be equated with the Media Appeals Tribunal.

Similarly, the Protection of Information Bill is not what is being referred to as a ‘Media Bill’.

Confusing the tribunal and the Bill has the further consequence of blurring the debate and speaking at crosspurposes.

The Protection of Information Bill will, if passed in its current form, have serious consequences for all ordinary citizens, not only journalists.

For more information, contact Judith February, Manager: Idasa’s Political Information and Monitoring Service, 083 4539817.


10 tactics for turning information into action

Please join Tactical Tech, Idasa and Wingseed Media for the screening of 10 tactics for turning information into action.

A 50-minute documentary film, by Tactical Tech, about rights advocacy in the digital age. ’10 tactics’ tells 25 compelling stories of innovative rights activist around the world who’ve successfully used information and digital technology for social change.

On: 17 March, 6:15pm
At: Idasa, 6 Spin St, Cape Town 8001
RSVP: Faith at Tactical Tech

On March 18, 9-12am, Idasa will host a follow-up workshop on digital technology for advocay. There are 25 spaces available for rights advocates and independetn media. Please indicate with your RSVP if you are attending one or both events.

Media for Advocacy trainees talk about their work

Leo and Raynor

Listen to Leo from ISODEC (Ghana) and Raynor from Elimu Yetu (Kenya) on the work they are doing on education rights in Africa.  Both were participants at a training workshop on using “Media for Advocacy” in Tanzania in February 2010, for partners and colleagues around the continent, working in education.

Also see the pictures from the workshop here.

Models of Hope in Ghana

The Community of Practice for African media practitioners working on HIV/AIDS was recently launched in Livingstone, Zambia by Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme.  Two of the participants speak in this video clip, about an initiative in Ghana called “Models of Hope” which provides positive role models for people living with HIV.  See more here.

Media and HIV – getting together

It was hot, humid and sweaty and the airline had lost my luggage.  After filling out a few bureaucratic forms with a smiling Zambian face, I joined the bus of strangers – new recruits to Idasa’s Community of Practice for African communications practitioners who write about HIV/AIDS.  We were to spend two days together, at the start of a 4 year relationship.  The bus journey to the hotel was peppered with polite, get-to-know-you conversations…

Two days later, many hours of sharing stories and exploring how to build citizen action through media and communication work, we were no longer strangers.  The group sessions promoted discussion and deliberation about the role of citizens, and the role of journalists – and how these two overlapped for people in the room.  Questions shot around the room about how to wear two different hats, how to manage conflicts of interest, how to avoid being used for personal agendas, and make sure your journalistic skills are not exploited.

The discussions were thought provoking and relationships formed in a way that will encourage deeper engagement over the next four years.  The workshop included a session on how we should keep talking to each other, especially in between meetings, and for the duration of the 4 years.  Following their suggestions, a social networking hub was set up for participants to keep talking – and a googlemap was also used to plot participants work and partnerships across the continent.  See some of the interviews on video here.


– Samantha Fleming was an Idasa participant at the launch of Idasa’s Community of Practice –

Tuning in to citizen’s conversations about HIV/AIDS

More public and less experts: how do we re-connect the work of journalists with the work of citizens?

– by Marietjie Myburg –

For the last 10 years I have been working in the field of HIV and AIDS Communication. During this time, I have watched in frustration what should have been a conversation between citizens and people with power to change things (policy makers, planners), but was actually a conversation between the well-intentioned funders and (often opportunistic) politicians and bureaucrats.

I have watched how, instead of challenging the course of this conversation, journalists become the channels for UNAIDS, USAID and Bill and Melinda Gates to talk to and on behalf of citizens to Departments of Health and AIDS Councils and Presidents and celebrities with an attitude which Donaldo Macedo aptly describes in his foreword to Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of Freedom: “There is no need to hear your voice when I can talk about you better than you can speak about yourself (Freire, 2001:xxvi)”.

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Afrobarometer – Democracy in Africa

Read the latest releases from Afrobarometer on the following topics:

The Evolution of African Political Regimes in the last 10 years; Poverty Reduction, Economic Growth and Democratisation in Southern Africa; African Media and Telecommunications; and Citizens and Democratisation.

See these releases here.