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Annel Malan

Biting Black

2011-11-22 12:46
Today, everyone in the office is dressed in black. Well, except the guys from Wheels24. But, I guess, if you write about cars the protection of state information bill doesn’t affect your job too much.
You know who else is probably not wearing any black clothes today? Mac Maharaj and Julius Malema. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I bumped into them on the street and they were wearing all white.

This morning Gareth Cliff joked on 5FM that he’s sure PW Botha would have applauded the new bill, Bob Mugabe will most definitely support it and Adolf Hitler would have said, "It’s a step in the right direction". Yes, as with most things Gareth Cliff says, it’s funny because it’s true.

What’s not so funny is losing our freedom. Sure, I’m an entertainment journalist and I won’t be censored to the same degree as my friends at the newspapers but it is a slippery slope. If this bill is passed it won’t be long before state information extends to all information that doesn’t fit with government’s plans and PR.

Yes, gossip junkies, even you might lose your fix of local celeb gossip eventually if they keep tightening the noose.

But for now, if this bill is passed it will highly restrict whistle-blowing and investigative journalism. In the end it is not the media that stands to lose the most, even if it is us, making the biggest noise at the moment. It is you, the public that will lose.

You will lose your right to know and you’re right to information but most of all you will lose your power. This new law will muffle your voice and your influence on government decisions.

Good luck to us all on this Black Tuesday, may the gods of journalism and freedom smile on us this afternoon.

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