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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Committee to Protect Journalists.]

The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern over newly passed regulations in South Africa that criminalize disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and could potentially prompt other countries to adopt more repressive rules and censorship against the press.

Yesterday, the South African government enacted new regulations, which CPJ reviewed, criminalizing statements intended to deceive any person about COVID-19 or the government’s response to the pandemic. The regulations were published in the Government Gazette under the 2002 Disaster Management Act and carry penalties including fines, imprisonment, or both.

“The COVID-19 pandemic must be taken seriously, but passing laws that emphasize criminalizing disinformation over educating the public and encouraging fact-checking present a slippery slope and send the wrong message to other countries that may be less measured in drafting such laws,” CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said today.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
4.6% y/y in February 2020 (CPI) & +4.5 y/y in February 2020 (PPI)
-1.4% q/q (4th quarter of 2019)
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