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Thursday, 9 March, 2017
Quote of the week
"In other words, harassment, threats and defamation are illegal in conventional law so, technically, they should be illegal on social media. The challenge is for the police and courts to have both the knowledge and the will to apply it. We rarely find both in place."
- Arthur Goldstuck
Comment of the week
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Censorship, Sassa Crisis, Opportunities…
If you’d follow this hashtag you’d realise that social media regulation has become a trending topic with South Africans making it very clear that their beloved social media channels are off limits to censorship and heavy-handed, draconian regulations enforced by the state.
State Security Minister David Mahlobo recently stated that social media in South Africa would be regulated in the future to stop the spread of fake news.
Mahlobo commented, “We are contemplating to regulate the space. Even the best democracies that are revered, they regulate the space.”
But with three main pieces of legislation dealing with the censorship and regulation of social media; the Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill, the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill and the Film and Publications Act Amendment Bill could Mahlobo’s comments be an indication of something more sinister?
In an article published by the Daily Maverick, Dr. Julie Reid, media analyst and Unisa academic, argues that South Africans should stop worrying about social media regulation but must remain vigilant.
It’s a tactic. It’s preparing the ground for other clampdowns in future,” she argued. “It’s threatening one thing to prepare the ground for slow encroachment. It’s an empty threat, but there will be attempts to regulate speech in other ways.”
In the article, Social media regulation possible but not practical, Adrian Schofield, ICT Veteran comments, "In a democracy, one hopes the regulation is intended to facilitate open communication and freedom of speech while protecting the vulnerable from criminal activity. In an extreme case, such as in a dictatorship, the state can control all forms of media to ensure citizens receive only information sanctioned by the state, as is the case in North Korea.”
Click here to read the full article.
Following a devastating weekend press conference with the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, the Sassa grant payment crisis has now become bigger than we initially envisaged.
Ferial Haffajee in the article Sassa, Sars, Cronyism And Corruption. When Will Enough Be Enough? writes, “Why is the state sticking, leech-like, to a less than salubrious company? Why would parts of the executive run hard against a Constitutional Court judgment and the advice of its own independent bureaucrats? Why is the minister going against the advice of her department? In the past few days, her respected director-general Zane Dangor has resigned and the Treasury put out an unprecedented statement distancing itself from the negotiations to extend the contract.”
Needless to say there are still many other questions that have been left unanswered by the Department of Social Development even after Minister Dlamini’s presence before the Standing Committee On Public Accounts (Scopa) earlier this week.
Click here to read the full article.
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