"Freedom of expression is never won; it is always a partial victory because there is always someone somewhere trying to censor, prevent information and maintain power." - Raymond Louw (January 1994).
The Anti-Censorship Programme (established July 2002) monitors the South African environment for freedom of expression violations and promotes the right to protest, association and assembly. In addition to direct interventions and support on the Regulation of Gatherings Act, the programme actively lobbies against censorship in its various forms, including instances in public broadcasting, commercial and community media, academia and art. The programme produces longer-term analysis of censorship trends in the country and initiates projects to identify and redress censorious legislation still obtaining or being introduced into the statute books.
Public education around the dangers of censorship is a vital component of articulating freedom of expression. The programme has set up campaigns with a view to increasing levels of awareness about the protection of free speech.
A brief history of the Anti-Censorship programme
Developed out of the Anti-Censorship Action Group (ACAG), the Anti-Censorship programme was the country's foremost anti-censorship lobby group. It created many campaigns for local and international public awareness to the extent and form of censorship in the old South Africa. It was particularly active in opposing the States of Emergency in the mid-1980s to counter attacks on the press by the-then National Party Government.
ACAG engaged in monitoring and campaigning against censorship in South Africa, including assassinations, the banning of marches and meetings, the detention and torture of people and other restrictions on free political activity. The ACAG resource centre, consisting of press clippings, magazines, books on censorship, and the Update publication is available to students, academics, lawyers and other researchers.