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Secrecy bill: 'Don't sign, Mr President'

The SA Press Council has called on Jacob Zuma not to make the secrecy bill law.

Black Tuesday protester

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Press Council used World Press Freedom Day on Friday to again urge President Jacob Zuma not to sign the Protection of State Information Bill into law.

The council's Raymond Louw said the public had the right to freedom of information.

The National Assembly passed the so-called Secrecy Bill just over a week ago.

The bill will become law once Zuma signs it. If this happens critics of the bill are expected to approach the Constitutional Court to have it changed.

Concerns have been raised that whistleblowers and journalists could be jailed if they are in position of classified information while trying to expose corruption or any wrongdoing.

Louw said in general the media was working in the interests of the public.

"Whatever the press is doing, and this is very important, whatever complaints it has, whatever it publishes, is all done for the benefit of the public and for the public interest."

The council said on Friday it was worried about the state of the media in the country.

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