Cheaper‚ Faster Internet Reaching More South Africans‚ Study Finds

Internet access reached 52% of South Africa’s 55-million population in 2015‚ up from 49% in 2014. This is according to a report on Freedom of the Internet‚ compiled by Freedom House.

The report classifies the status of the internet in South Africa as “free” however it classifies the status of press freedom as “partly free”.

The report further notes that access to quality and relatively affordable internet is growing‚ primarily among low income communities through government-subsidized WiFi projects across the country.

​NGO Launches New Youth Engagement Forum

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has launched an online educational platform dedicated to inspiring responsible civic participation among South African youth by strengthening their political knowledge‚ democratic values and skills.

The Civics Academy ( offers short‚ informative videos covering topics around democracy‚ governance‚ elections‚ political parties‚ the justice system‚ the Constitution‚ economics‚ civil society and the environment.

South Africans Going Digital – SAIRR

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says people in South Africa and the rest of the world are increasingly going digital, be it for business or leisure.

SAIRR states that the Internet users are growing in number in spite of relatively slow broadband speeds and high costs.

It says the largest single share of Internet users among the four population groups, are people who gain access via cellphones or mobile networks.

Google Increases User Privacy Controls

Google increased privacy controls for users and rolled out a website that answers frequently asked questions in response to increasing concern over how the search giant collects and uses its massive amounts of data.
Users have been able to control certain privacy settings for months or years, such as whether to save web browser and location history, which is also used in targeted advertising.

FPB Not Aiming to Censor Internet Usage

The Film and Publication Board (FPB) has refuted rumours that its Draft Online Regulation Policy will censor Internet usage in South Africa.
The FPB says the proposed regulations are to ensure that commercial media distributions do not publish or promote illegal material such as pornography, violence and hate speech outside of the guidelines.
Advocacy group, Right2Know, argues that the draft policy - Draft Policy on Online Regulations - is too vague and open ended to understand who exactly will fall within the limitations of the proposed regulations.

Draft Online Regulation Policy Criticised

This month’s gazetted draft online regulation policy by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) that could potentially curtail online freedom of expression has been criticised for its lack of engagement by the industry’s main body.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa (IAB) says it has seen an earlier unreleased draft of the policy document and has written to the FPB to raise its concerns about the process and proposed regulations, requesting an opportunity to meet with the FPB to make formal submissions.

Gauteng Kids Encounter Paedophiles Online

About 31.4 percent of secondary school children surveyed in Gauteng have encountered people who tried to get them to talk online about sex against their will.

According to a study by the Youth Research Unit (YRU) of the Bureau of Market Research (BMR) at the University of South Africa, “Almost a quarter (22.8 percent) were asked online to perform sexual acts.”

It says that "according to Prof Deon Tustin, online sexual grooming of children should be viewed as a distinct phenomenon impacting negatively on the day-to-day functioning of young people, families and communities."

NGO Marches for Media for the People

Around 200 people marched in Cape Town on Saturday, 18 October 2014, to demand lower mobile call rates and media transformation.
The group blew whistles as they marched down Long Street and carried signs stating ‘Free Set Top Box’ and ‘Media for the people’.
A rapper, on the truck leading the march, belted out catchy lyrics calling for free Internet and media.
To read the article titled, “Right2Know marches for 'media for the people',” click here.

Google Snubs Govt Over Data Requests

Google, the world’s largest search engine, has denied several requests from the South African government to obtain user data as well as requests to remove content.

In its transparency report, the company says that during January to June this year, it received seven requests from South Africa for user data, which it disregarded since no information was given.

It explains that, “We review each request to make sure that it complies with both the spirit and the letter of the law, and we may refuse to produce information or try to narrow the request in some cases.”

Highway Africa Growth Pleases Kwabato

The director of Highway Africa, Chris Kwabato, says he is pleased that the conference is showing signs of growth since it started 18 years ago.

The annual conference, which is hosted by the Rhodes school of journalism and media studies, ends today (8 September 2014) in Grahamstown with more than 500 delegates from across the African Continent attending.

Kwabato says impact of social media on journalism is part of the theme this year, adding that the conference has also attracted delegates from beyond the continent.


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