The Ad Hoc Committee on the Protection of Information Bill has held public hearings in Cape Town today, and heard lawmakers warning that the Bill won't survive the Constitution Test.

In one comment, Webber Wentzel partner Dario Milo said "The clauses.. highlighted, are clearly unconstitutional and the Constitutional Court would strike them down,"

He was appearing on behalf of Print Media SA.

Its the second day of hearings which have led to massive interest as media take the view government is trying to reinstitute draconian legislation which appears to be motivated by a reasonable aim.

The ANC government claims the new Bill is to protect children from paedophiles, but also includes clauses allowing government to declare any issue "national Interest".

Investigative journalists could face up to 25 years in jail for publishing information of public interest.

The Bill goes further, by denying those accused of contravening it the right to raise the defence of having acted in the public interest.

Milo has argued that it sought to create a climate of secrecy by defining national interest and national security so widely that information could arbitrarily be classified.

The Print Media representation also states those who drafted the bill had also erred by placing the onus on journalists to justify why they should be granted access to information, rather than requiring the state to show why it should remain classified.

SAPA has quoted Raymond Louw, chairman of the SA National Editors' Forum, submitted that the bill gave the state excessive powers to shroud information in secrecy, and had been stripped of safeguards contained in earlier versions.

"This has tightened the state's grip on maintaining secrecy of information.

With SAPA