Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The beginning of Apartheid?

Today the struggle movement fell flat on it's face. In it's wisdom (some might say vanity and others might call it plain windgatness) the ANC has voted for the Protection of State Information Bill, the vote was 229 in favour, 107 against with two votes abstaining. While it still has to go to the National Council of Provinces, in all likelihood this will be a formality only until it replaces Apartheid era legislation.

Way back when, when this country was controlled by white supremecists hellbent on eradicating black people off the face of their pristine white country, the freedom of the press was greatly curtailed. Then that freedom was fought for and won. Today it was lost again, lost or stomped on by the very people who fought for the right to vote, the right to live as everyone else has. The right to live as a human being and not an animal.

Alongside those same people who fought against Apartheid, the media of the day stood up and showed the world what was going on here. Showed the world images like the Sharepville Massacre, Hector Pietersen's body after he was shot by security police during the Soweto Uprising. Hector was 12 when he died. Without the press and press photographers taking these photos, the world would never have known of the brutal regime that was running this country, killing off it's own citizens.

Under the Apartheid government, the press was treated abominably. After the end of Apartheid, for the year 2010, we are ranked 38th out of 178 countries on the Press Freedom list by Reporters without Borders. After today's vote, I wonder what ranking we will obtain for this year?

Effectively, what this means is that government is protected and isolated from giving an accounting of practices like corruption and scandal. Media corporations will no longer be able to print stories (true stories mind you, not made up Heat Magazine rubbish) even if they have the information to do so.

Which effectively means, South Africa, that our country now stands on the brink of a media blackout blanket that not even the Apartheid era had us all covered in.

How then will the truth ever prevail? How then do we hold our country's leaders accountable for their gross misconduct, their corrpuption? How?

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