South Africa security minister defends information bill condemned by media, rights groups

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South Africa's security minister is defending a bill that rights groups say may threaten freedom.

Siyabonga Cwele said in parliament Friday there are "several clear and present dangers" that justify the law on national security grounds.

Cwele says he agrees with criticism that the bill is too broad in protecting information deemed important to national or business interests.

Free speech lawyer Alison Tilley says Cwele has "failed the freedom test" because he has not scrubbed the bill of its most restrictive clauses.

International and South African media and rights groups are lobbying against the bill and a proposal by the ruling party for a media tribunal that could discipline journalists.

Parliament has not scheduled a vote on the bill.