Submission by the Freedom of Expression Institute on the Copyright Amendment Bill

The Freedom of Expression Institute made a written submission on the Copyright Amendment Bill 2015 to the Department of Trade and Industry. FXI’s comments were limited to the sections of the Bill that deal with freedom of expression and media freedom, in keeping with its core mission.

“The FXI believes that copyright law and free speech are fundamentally in conflict,” the submission reads in part. “It should come as no surprise, at all, that both governments and the private sector use copyright law to suppress speech and dissent. In a country like South Africa which is trying to expand access to education, knowledge should not be confined to an elitist domain which can afford to pay for it. Public interest demands that the law favour the previously disadvantaged – the ones who seek knowledge, but without the means to pay licence fees, royalties and the like.”

The submission can be read in full here. 

Regional journalists and activists discuss threats to media freedom

COSib-lU8AA6rYuThe Freedom of Expression Institute, in collaboration with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), Right 2 Know Campaign and the Wits Journalism School on Monday, 7 September held a public discussion on threats to media freedom in southern Africa. Of particular concern was the use of criminal defamation and other similar mechanisms to silence journalists.

The panelists at the discussion were journalists who have been targeted by powerful interests – most often with the involvement of their governments – and media freedom activists. The journalists were Rafael Marques de Morais from Angola, Tomas Vieira Mario from Mozambique, and Tom Nkosi from South Africa. SALC’s Caroline James, a freedom of expression lawyer, and Justin Pearce, a research fellow at the University of Cambridge and an expert on Angolan and Mozambican politics were the other panelists. Continue reading

Discussion on threats to media freedom in southern Africa: The use of criminal defamation and other mechanisms to silence journalists

Invitation to Defamation Seminar


Right 2 Know (R2K), the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), and the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), in collaboration with the Wits Journalism School, present a discussion on:

“Threats to media freedom in southern Africa: The use of criminal defamation and other mechanisms to silence journalists.”

7 September 2015, 10h30 – 12h30, Wits Journalism School Seminar Room.

The seminar will provide perspective on the experience of journalists and activists operating in repressive media environments in Lusophone Africa, and debate the parallels for other southern African countries, including South Africa.


Caroline James – freedom of expression lawyer at SALC

Justin Pearce – research fellow at the University of Cambridge

Rafael Marques de Morais – journalist and human rights activist from Angola

Tomás Vieira Mário – lawyer, journalist and social activist from Mozambique

Tom Nkosi – journalist and media activist from South Africa

Chair: Micah Reddy – media freedom and diversity organiser at R2K

Closing remarks: Sheniece Linderboom – head of the FXI Law Clinic

Refreshments will be served.

RSVP: Pamela Timburwa at

Directions: The Wits Journalism School Seminar Room is on the Twelfth floor of University Corner, corner Jorissen and Bertha Streets, Johannesburg. Please enter through the Wits Art Museum (WAM) and take the elevator to the Twelfth floor.

Department of Justice invites public comments on Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is inviting public comments on the draft Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill, which aims to create legislation combating cybercrime and structures dealing with cybersecurity. The deadline for commenting on the bill is 30 November 2015. Interested parties should submit written comments to the Department by emailing:, or sending a fax to: (012) 406 4632.

The draft Draft Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill_2015 and the Discussion-Document-2015 explaining the proposed amendments are available for download on this website (click on the preceding links).