Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective.

Tag: Secrecy Bill

Secrecy: the drug you slowly become addicted to

ARTICLE: The Protection of State Information Bill, perhaps now better known as ‘the secrecy bill’, has put transparency front and centre in our public discourse. I have, in the article below, tried to explain in abstract why the principle of transparency is important to a democracy and, at the other end of the spectrum, why secrecy is a danger to it. Of the many reasons, perhaps the most subtle is secrecy’s insidious effect. Once given a foothold, it gradually tightens its grip, until, before you know it, it has squeezed the very life out of a democratic order.

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‘Proper accountability’

SERIES: Weasel Words: “Words of convenient ambiguity, or a statement from which the meaning has been sucked or retracted,” [Brewer’s Concise Dictionary of Phrase and Fable]. A great deal of what is said – particularly those contentious statements made in response to sensitive issues – obscure meaning with vagueness and ambiguity. And Weasel words – empty clichés and jargon – often the mechanisms by which this is achieved. Weasel Word Watch is series dedicated to highlighting this kind of misdirection, with a view to cutting through the obfuscation.

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