Govts Urged to Curb Air Pollution

If South Africa implements the World Health Organisation's landmark resolutions on air pollution, the government will have to take action against polluting companies, including Eskom.
After discussing air pollution for the first time at the World Health Assembly, the United Nations' health body adopted resolutions intended to counter the world's most serious single environmental health risk.

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The FPB says the proposed regulations are to ensure that commercial media distributions do not publish or promote illegal material such as pornography, violence and hate speech outside of the guidelines.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.

Uganda’s Controversial NGO Bill Criticised

The Ugandan Parliament is due to debate a controversial Bill by government aimed at clipping the influence of non-governmental organisations as the country gears up for the 2016 general elections.

While government argues that the Non-Governmental Organisations Registration (Amendment) Bill 2013 seeks to expand government powers to monitor non-government organisations’ (NGOs) work, its opponents argue that it is intended to erode civil liberties and entrench political intolerance ahead of the general elections.

Activist Warn Against ‘Dangerous’ New Bill

Activists in Uganda have warned that a ‘dangerous’ new bill seeking to regulate non-governmental organisations (NGOs) would silence critics and “negate the very essence of freedom of association and expression.”

Rights groups say the proposed NGO bill would grant sweeping powers to the government, including the ability to shut down activist groups and jail members.

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.

Advocacy Group to Re-apply for Registration

Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) advocacy group states that it will re-apply to register as an organisation.
LEGABIBO will make a fresh application to the country’s registrar of societies, after winning a case in which it challenged government’s refusal to register the organisation.
During an interview, LEGABIBO coordinator, Caine Youngman, declares that, "We are working with our legal team to finalise our registration papers before submission tomorrow."

Judgment Reserved on Porn Channels

The Western Cape High Court has reserved judgment on whether the decision to licence three porn pay channels should be reviewed.

The Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA), Cause for Justice, and Doctors for Life argue on why the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) erred in licencing the channels.

Digital Media (operating as Top TV and later StarSat) was granted three licences in April to broadcast Playboy TV, Desire TV, and Brazzers, subject to conditions.

ICASA Reviews Proposed New Call Termination Rates

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) says it has started the process of reviewing its proposed new call termination rates.
ICASA spokesperson, Paseka Malekathe, says in order to do the process in a transparent and fair manner, questionnaires will be sent to every licensee to seek information for the review.
ICASA, which was given six months by the court to amend its regulations, has given the licensees are required to submit responses to ICASA by 13 June 2014.

USAASA Calls for Cheaper Data Costs

The Universal Services and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) says mobile services are meaningless if they are not affordable.

USAASA spokesperson, Khulekani Ntshangase, points out that, "To attain the goals of universal access and service to ICT [information and communication technology], the country needs to ensure that prices should be affordable."

Ntshangase’s comment follows the ruling by the outh Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's proposed new call termination rates were invalid and unlawful.

ICASA’s Possible U-turn on Call Rates

South Africa's telecoms regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) says it may reconsider planned cuts for 2015 and 2016 in the amount mobile operators charge each other to use their networks.

ICASA spokesperson, Paseka Maleka, points out that, "In this case, we may review 2015 and 2016 mainly in trying to avert a very lengthy legal challenge.”


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