Press freedom for parents?
How changes to the law could affect you and your children.
You’re just a mom or a dad, right? Your most important job is to make sure your children grow up safely and that they are able to make the most of the opportunities around them. Well, that’s exactly why it’s important for you to know about press freedom.

In South Africa, government will vote today on the Protection of State Information Bill, PSIB, a law which will compromise the ability of the media to report on government-related activity. It’s also known as “the Secrecy Bill”.

South Africa has had a relatively free media- on the Press Freedom index, South Africa came fifth across Africa in 2010, a status threatened by the PSIB.
In other African countries at the beginning of 2011, a wave of popular revolutions took place which were designed to overthrow corrupt leadership. Central to the success of these campaigns was the way in which social media was used to mobilise support.

Blogs, Facebook and Twitter were the weapons of choice for a disgruntled youth. In some countries, social media sites were blocked as a result.
Even in Zimbabwe, a group of people who used Facebook to organise a meeting were arrested and charged with treason.

What about us?
Well, it’s imperative that we have transparency in government. Our democracy is still relatively new. Our current generation is enjoying the fruits of the efforts of our elders. Much like we want our kids to enjoy their freedom.

Although many of us choose to use social media and blogs to write about personal things, we obviously want to avoid becoming a society where we could be arrested for our opinions.

What can we do?
Well, you can write about it. Speak out in whatever format suits you. You have a voice, and you are fortunate enough to have the freedom to express yourself.

It’s not always about discipline, manners and teaching your child the “hows” of life; sometimes, being a parent means being an active participant in society, too.

Today has been dubbed “Black Tuesday” by the media community- everyone is encouraged to wear black in protest.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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