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    South Africans debate controversial secrecy law

    Al Jazeera English

    by Al Jazeera English

    Activists and journalists in South Africa are protesting against a controversial new bill that provides for prison sentences of up to 25 years for anyone found in possession of classified government documents.

    The African National Congress, the country's ruling party, says the law is necessary to safeguard state secrets and national security.

    Opponents contend that the so-called secrecy law makes it difficult for citizens to hold their politicians accountable - as those accused of breaking it will not be able to defend themselves by saying that they were acting in the public interest.

    For many, the new law brings back memories of South Africa's restrictive laws on reporting that were overturned when the country became a democracy in 1994.

    Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Cape Town.