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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The State Security Act vs open society: does a democracy need secrets?
Author:Chanda, Alfred W.ISNI
Periodical:Zambia Law Journal
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:freedom of the press
national security
Abstract:An open society is one that upholds the values of democracy, transparency, accountability and good governance. These are only possible where there is freedom of expression and the right of the public to know is assured. In this light the author considers the salient provisions of Zambia's State Security Act, enacted on 23 October 1969. Although some of the provisions embodied in the Act serve legitimate security purposes, there are nevertheless other provisions which are incompatible with the requirements of an open society. Sections 4 and 5 of the Act, in particular, are unconstitutional and do not meet acceptable international standards. They go beyond protecting a legitimate national interest since their effect is to indiscriminately deny the public access to information in the hands of the State regardless of whether that information affects national security or not. The geopolitical situation in southern Africa, which prompted the government to enact this draconian legislation, has completely changed and Zambia is now at peace with all its neighbours. The State Security Act must be reformed and a Freedom of Information Act enacted in order to facilitate the creation of an open society. Notes, ref.