South Africa enacts regulations criminalizing ‘disinformation’ on coronavirus outbreak

News

Rupert family fund oversubscribed; applications temporarily suspended

Applications for the Rupert family’s R1 billion small business fund, The Sukuma Relief Programme, which opened on Friday, have temporarily been suspended.

EOH Exco chop salaries by 25%; ask staff to cut by 20%

Technology group EOH narrowed its first half loss per share from continuing operations, while group revenue fell 14 per cent and costs rose. EOH CFO, Megan Pydigadu joins CNBC Africa for more.

SA launches green fund to drive investment into SMMEs

R488 million – that’s how much the Green Outcomes Fund has set aside for fund managers to increase investment in green Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises. To discuss the fund - the first of its kind, CNBC Africa is joined by Tine Fisker Henriksen: Innovative Finance Lead, UCT GSB Bertha Centre and Mark van Wyk: Head of Unlisted Investments, Mergence Investment Managers.

Content provided by APO Group. CNBC Africa provides content from APO Group as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. CNBC Africa is not responsible for the content provided by APO Group.

The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern over newly passed regulations in South Africa that criminalize disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and could potentially prompt other countries to adopt more repressive rules and censorship against the press.

Yesterday, the South African government enacted new regulations, which CPJ reviewed, criminalizing statements intended to deceive any person about COVID-19 or the government's response to the pandemic. The regulations were published in the Government Gazette under the 2002 Disaster Management Act and carry penalties including fines, imprisonment, or both.

“The COVID-19 pandemic must be taken seriously, but passing laws that emphasize criminalizing disinformation over educating the public and encouraging fact-checking present a slippery slope and send the wrong message to other countries that may be less measured in drafting such laws,” CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said today. “South Africa’s post-apartheid commitment not to criminalize information has been a beacon for press freedom across Africa, but these new regulations have the potential to dim that light, opening up the possibility of abuse and limitations on vital information and facts.”

South African media lawyer Dario Milo told CPJ that while the new regulations allow for prosecution only of malicious falsehoods about COVID-19, criminalizing disinformation was generally undesirable. The regulation, however, would likely be legally defensible, Milo said.

In a joint statement on March 19, David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and his counterparts in the OSCE and IACHR, said they shared the concern that false information about the pandemic could lead to health concerns, panic, and disorder. However, they stated that it was essential that governments should first address disinformation by themselves providing reliable information.

Resorting to other measures, such as censorship, could result in limiting access to important information for public health and should only be undertaken where they met the standards of necessity and proportionality, they said. “Any attempts to criminalize information relating to the pandemic may create distrust in institutional information, delay access to reliable information and have a chilling effect on freedom of expression,” the statement said.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).Media filesDownload logo

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Featured

Rand hits record low, goes over 19 to dollar as Fitch downgrades SA further into junk status

Last Friday Moody’s, the last rating agency to rate South Africa investment grade, cut South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to junk in line with economists’ forecast. Today Fitch further downgraded the country sending the rand plunging over 19 rand to the dollar. Below it gives its reasons...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

Sarb guides banks to put dividends, bonuses on hold

South Africa’s Reserve Bank has guided banks to put dividends and executive bonuses on hold to help reduce stress on the banking sector from fighting Covid19. For more on this recommendation as well as other directives to ensure the health of the sector, CNBC Africa is joined by Unathi Kamlana, Head of Policy Statistics and Industry Support at the Prudential Authority.

Nigerian banking index gains but industrial goods sector declines

Investors are taking a keen interest in banking stocks today but the Industrial goods sector is facing a steep decline. Dare Fajimolu, Chief Research Officer at Blue Vertex joins CNBC Africa for a recap of today’s trade.

Nigeria to tap into its sovereign wealth fund to fight COVID-19 crisis

Nigeria plans to withdraw $150 million from its sovereign wealth fund as part of its fiscal stimulus measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Michael Ango, the Associate Director; Tax Advisory and Regulatory Services at Andersen Tax joins CNBC Africa to assess Nigeria's response to the pandemic.

South African COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund open for applications

In a bid to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on South Africa’s tourism sector, the Department of Tourism is urging eligible small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) to apply for a share of the R200 million Tourism Relief Fund.
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -