Willem de Klerk Attorneys, who are representing Jacques Pauw and NB Publishers, have responded to a cease and desist letter by the State Security Agency.
The agency had called for Pauw and NB Publishers to withdraw the book The President's Keepers from stores and to retract parts of the book.
The State Security Agency argues the claims in the book violate the Intelligence Services Act.
Responding to the agency's letter, Willem de Klerk Attorneys says that Pauw and EB Publishers will oppose any application the State Security Agency takes against the book to the High Court.
Media lawyer Dario Milo says the state acted too late.
Once a book has been widely distributed, the law takes the view that the horse has bolted and it is very far from the stable. The State Security Agency is the author of its own misfortune in waiting so long before trying to take action to stop the book.— Dario Milo, media lawyer at Webber Wentzel
The second point is of course as the letter says the compelling public interest. That is not something the court is going to stop the public from reading about.— Dario Milo, media lawyer at Webber Wentzel
Milo says a right of reply is not an absolute requirement in this instance.
The most telling thing is that the State Security Agency and others mentioned in the book have the public platforms available to them to respond, what responses we have seen though have been this violates that statute, but nothing about what is inaccurate in the book, instead there is an attempt to act undemocratically.— Dario Milo, media lawyer at Webber Wentzel
The point that the letter on behalf of Pauw is trying to get across is that if particularly if an attempt is made to stop the book knowing that is available so widely, that would be an incredibly reckless thing to do. A punitive costs order may be warranted.— Dario Milo, media lawyer at Webber Wentzel
Here more from Milo here on right of reply regarding The President's Keepers.....