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. 

Media and the Law: A handbook for community journalists



06 AUGUST 2015

The FXI has just published an updated handbook – targeted to the needs of community media organisations – breaking down the law as it applies to the media.

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has charted a trend of increasing censorship of the media and individual journalists over the past few years. This censorship is not only directly applied through laws and lawsuits, but also indirectly, through, for example, self-censorship and withdrawal of advertising.

While big media organisations are usually well equipped to deal with these dangers, small community media often lack the knowledge, skills and resources to fend off these threats to their freedom to publish or their very existence.

This handbook is intended to be a desk reference for small, independent and community media organizations, equipping them with the following tools:

  • information on laws that affect journalists’ ability to report,
  • information about the current state of media law,
  • awareness of media rights and how to protect and enforce them,
  • enable informed decisions about whether items can be published legally,
  • what to do if published items do attract threats of legal action,
  • create a working knowledge of media freedom issues at paralegal and advice office level, so that legal capacity is built to support grassroots media.

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