JOHANNESBURG (Feb. 3)
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies today issued a statement explaining its attitude toward a censorship bill currently before Parliament. The statement declared that a claim made by a member of Parliament, during the debate on the measure, saying that one clause in the bill was written at the request of the Board, was “misleading.”
According to the Board, it had been invited by the Government to submit its view on the measure to a select committee. The Jewish representative body said it had criticized the bill’s provisions as “too wide,” holding its definitions were “too vague, ” and criticizing the idea of applying censorship administratively. The Board said it also criticized the introduction of pre-publication censorship-a clause subsequently withdrawn from the bill.
Expressing the opinion that “any curtailment of freedom of speech is undesirable, except in circumstances which make such curtailment essential for the public welfare,” the Jewish Board of Deputies said it felt there should be legislation to ban publication of material inciting to racial or religious hostility.