Browsing The Southern African Journal of Information and Communication (SAJIC) by Title
Now showing 1 - 20 of 70
Results Per Page
ItemAfrica and the Digital Information Commons: An Overview(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2006-12-15) Armstrong, Chris; Ford, HeatherDigital technologies and global electronic networks present unparalleled opportunities for international knowledge sharing and collaboration. But these same technologies and networks can also be used by authors in ways that significantly limit access and sharing for the purposes of education, innovation, and development. Through the efforts of librarians, archivists, academics and activists, vast new reserves of information and knowledge are being made available for free public consumption, and even adaptation, on the Internet. At the same time, however, electronic networks and digital technologies are being used to limit non-commercial access to some learning materials. For example, large educational publishers charge high subscription fees to universities for access to databases, with restrictions on use that are often more prohibitive than in the offline, paperbased environment. This fundamental schism present in the digital, globally-networked era – between the building of an “information commons” on the one hand, and the privatisation of knowledge on the other – is generating a variety of dynamic activist responses, including the free/libre open source software (FLOSS) movement, the “open access” movement in scholarly communication, and the “open content” approach to online sharing and collaboration among authors. The open access movement revolves mostly around the practice of academics making their research outputs and writings freely available on the Internet, either through open access online journals or online institutional repositories (archives). The open content movement is in some cases even broader than open access, encouraging online adaptation of materials by users, with the Wikipedia collaborative encyclopedia being perhaps the best-known such project. Another important open content initiative is the Creative Commons (cc) licensing system, which allows authors to adopt a “some rights reserved” approach when publishing their materials online. Under the terms of a cc licence, users are permitted unlimited copying and distribution of materials, and in some cases, are permitted to even adapt and/or derive commercial benefit from the materials. Open access and open content initiatives aim not to eliminate copyright in the online environment but rather to ensure that copyright does not restrict the potential of new technology to overcome barriers to access and innovation. The debates around the information commons and the restrictive practices of copyright rights-holders in the online environment are of particular relevance to the developing world and the African continent. Much of the world’s copyrighted material is owned by developed-world multinationals, leaving developing nations as the “payers” or consumers of knowledge and culture, and the developed world as the “payees” in much of the flow of monetary value derived from copyrighted materials. This article outlines the global information commons debates and players, and then focuses on efforts to maximise the potential benefits of digital networks for the developing world, and in particular Africa. ItemAfrican National Regulatory Authority Benchmarking(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2008-12-15) Kerretts-Makau, MonicaThis paper provides an overview of the extent to which regulators are using websites to inform and communicate with the public – including consumers and citizens, the private sector, media and researchers and other governmental and nongovernmental organisations. The study follows a previous regional survey conducted in 2004, (Mahan 2004) that ranked the online component of information provision and facilitation of regulatory processes by National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) in the communications sector. 1 The benchmarking assessment documents the incidence of different aspects that are important for a regulator’s web presence across the categories of basic information and responsiveness, factual information about the national telecom sector, consumer and citizen information including universal service and complaints procedures, business-related information and forms, and information about the regulator and regulatory processes. A country’s inclusion in the assessment was contingent on the country having an independent authority 2 and the authority having a functioning website. Out of a total of54countries inAfrica,30had regulatory institutions that could be classified as independent with websites and 24 did not have websites. The countries were assessed by region (North, South, Central, East and West Africa, and Island countries). The benchmarking results show marked differences across countries and regions. Egypt received the highest score and performed well across all categories. The NRAs of Nigeria, Mauritius, Kenya andSouthAfrica were ranked in the top five. Following closely are Uganda,Algeria,Senegal and Tanzania. The top ten NRAs were considered to have had adequate content in support of users being informed and being able to participate in regulatory processes. Overall, the total African regional average was low, with a benchmark indicating that national regulatory authority websites hover between static and emerging levels of information provision. The analysis provides a summarised overview of the performance of African regulatory websites within the benchmarking criteria. It should be noted that this analysis does not judge websites by their look and feel; the main aim of the analysis rather focuses on the content that is provided and the ease of using or accessing the requisite information. It is hoped that this study will provide African regulators with an insight into what their users will most likely be looking for when searching through their websites. The study also highlights best practices that can be replicated. ItemAnalysing Sector Specificity Regarding ICT and Broadband Usage by SMME Businesses(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2007-12-15) Pierson, Jo; Baelden, Dorien; Lievens, Bram; Marsigny, ChristineIn the transition of the techno-economic paradigm from a (post) industrial to an information society, it is crucial that ICT and broadband become embedded within the whole of the socio-economic system. However figures show that SMEs and micro-enterprises – the backbone of European economy – are still lagging behind, despite the numerous policy initiatives. In this paper we focus on the specificity of the sector for understanding ICT usage in small business, instead of the common generic SMME approach. In February2006a survey was done with966 Belgian enterprises that answered an online questionnaire. The goal was to better understand how professional activity is linked with ICT usage. The latter was measured by means of four compound indicators (adoption, usage, knowledge and attitude). The three sectors with the lowest degree of ICT usage were identified: construction, retail trade and manufacturing. Within these sectors a thorough study was done by means of interviews with professional organisations and focus group interviews with a carefully selected sample of SMME business owners. This resulted in the identification of sector-specific elements as well as issues that transgress different sectors. These findings are to be integrated in a public initiative by the Federal Ministry of Economy for stimulating ICT usage among Belgian SMMEs ItemAnalysis of the Success of ICT at the Ikageng MPCC in Support of the Itsoseng Community: A Case Study(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2004-12-15) Jacobs, SJ; Herselman, MarlienInformation and communication technology is changing every facet of our lives, and thus changing how we live. This in turn impacts on the way we utilise information and communication technology in multi-purpose community centres, which provide support services to the communities in which they are located. A case study was conducted at the information and communication technologyequipped Ikageng Multi-purpose Community Centre in Itsoseng, situated in the North West Province of South Africa, to investigate the services delivered; the Centre utilises information and communication technology infrastructure to deliver needed services to the community. The lack of ongoing and sustained training for Centre staff, as well as the challenge of maintaining the Centre’s equipment, were some of the shortcomings identified by the study in terms of service delivery ItemAt the Crossroads: ICT Policymaking in East Africa, edited by Florence E. Etta & Laurent Elder, 2005: Book Review(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2006-12-15) Van Reijswoud, Victor ItemThe Author Responds... To the Review by Alfonso Gumucio Dagron(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2005-12-15) Hudson, Heather E ItemBetween Two Stools: Broadband Policy in South Africa(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2007-12-15) Gillwald, AlisonThis paper explores the underlying causes of South Africa’s relatively poor broadband penetration despite Government’s acknowledgment of its centrality to a modern economy and information society. South Africa’s broadband policy has emerged from two apparently contradictory policy approaches. Until these are resolved, the sector will remain inert between two strategies, unable to move forward on either. On the one hand, broadband has evolved within the context of “managed liberalisation”, a local adaptation of the international telecommunications reform model. This has created a market structured around a number of vertically integrated operators, fixed and mobile, whose services have evolved to offer broadband. The latest phase of this model is expressed in the Electronic Communications Act which came into force in 2006 and reforms the regulatory and licensing framework to address the challenges of convergence. Within this context, broadband uptake has been relatively poor and costs of ADSL and mobile HSDPA services remain high as a result of limited competition and ineffective regulation. This has prompted Government to adopt another strategy, in parallel with its current reform process. It has initiated a fully state owned broadband operator, which is also expected to address the high cost of international cable bandwidth currently provided exclusively by the incumbent. This paper examines the underlying reasons for the development of these two potentially contradictory processes and their institutional arrangements to assess the implications for the achievement of national policy objectives on broadband extension. ItemBeware Dongas! An Assessment of the Road Ahead for Under-Serviced Area Licensing for Telecommunications Operators in South Africa(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2005-12-15) Van Leijden, Fabian; Monasso, TonIn 2001 the South African Government began the process of Under-Serviced Area Licensing (USAL) as a major effort aimed at getting telecommunications into deep rural areas throughout the country. The USAL policy has three objectives: universal service and access; black economic empowerment; and stimulation of market competition. To fulfil these three objectives, the policy has to take into account the tensions that exist between the three objectives. The South African USAL process is not designed to mitigate these conflicts and is, therefore, unable to attain the objectives. While the policy is aimed at offering community-based and community-owned organisations the opportunity to provide telecommunications services, the licensing process and the licence conditions do not reflect this. Financial and educational support from the Government is minimal. Both the licensing process and the business process of building a telecommunications network are expensive, and gaining capital is difficult for these small companies. It should also be noted, regarding the business case of the companies, that while at the outset this case was already fairly weak, changes to the licensing conditions and a saturating cellular market over time have further seriously weakened this business case, rendering the viability of the companies questionable. For the process to be successful, Government bodies have to provide more support to the companies, and propagate a stable and clear regulatory environment. ItemBook Review – Governing European Communications: From Unification to Coordination, by Maria Michalis (2007)(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2008-12-15) Madikiza, Lucky ItemBook Review: From Rural Village to Global Village: Telecommunications for Development in the Information Age, by Heather E Hudson, 2006(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2005-12-15) Gumucio Dagron, Alfonso ItemBook Review: New Media: Technology and Policy in Developing Countries, edited by N C Lesame, 2005(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2005-12-15) Madikiza, Lucky ItemBook Review: Rotting from the Head: Donors and LDC Corruption, edited by Salim Rashid, 2004(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2004-12-15) Mahan, Amy ItemBook Review: The Analyst, the Psychiatrist, the Soothsayer and the Handicapped: Africa and Globalisation: Challenges of Globalisation: South African Debates with Manuel Castells, edited by Johan Muller, Nico Cloete, and Shireen Badat, 2001(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Okpaku, Joseph O. Sr. ItemBook Review: The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, by Jeffrey D Sachs, 2005(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2005-12-15) Wattegama, Chanuka Item'But for the Nicety of Knocking and Requesting a Right of Entry': Surveillance Law and Privacy Rights in South Africa(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2000-12-15) Cohen, TracyAs communications tools expand beyond that of the traditional fixed line telephone, so too do the tools for monitoring those communications. Fuelled by dual needs to protect the privacy rights of individuals, as well as monitor the activities of criminals using the communications networks, governments around the world are toning their surveillance laws in accordance with technological developments and constitutional necessity. In the South African context, the clash of rights inherent in this activity warrants an examination of the continued constitutional status of the Interception and Monitoring Prohibition Act of 1992, in light of recent proposals by the Law Commission to amend its provisions. It is argued that whilst the target of such a law justifies its existence, the reach of its ambit potentially displaces its ongoing constitutional validity. ItemCase Notes: South Africa's Policy Incoherence: An Update on the Knysna Wi-Fi Project(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2007-12-15) Esselaar, Steve; Soete, PieterIn the past, the main obstacle against building network infrastructure was the cost. Technological advances, however, have meant that building a functional, low-cost network is possible. Knysna is the first municipality in South Africa to achieve this. The problem is not the infrastructure but the connection to the larger networks of the mobile and fixed-line operators. The incumbents’ incentives are to prevent interconnection (or at least to delay it) on the basis of maintaining their dominance. In the telecommunications sector in South Africa, the only way to overcome this problem is via regulation. Yet regulation has to balance two sometimes competing interests – investment in infrastructure and competition. The Knysna Uni-Fi project has operated outside of any enabling regulation for competition and investment and this has negatively impacted upon its commercial success. Any regulatory intervention imposed upon the market has to balance the interests of competition and investment. In the South African market, given the huge dominance by the incumbents, that balance must change to favour new entrants. Until this takes place Knysna is not a replicable model for South Africa. ItemChanging ICT Rankings of African Nations(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2004-11-15) Kelly, TimAfter years of being an information and communication technology laggard relative to other developing regions of the world, Africa has been pushed to the forefront in a new information revolution, thanks to mobile communications. This period has also witnessed considerable mobility in the information and communication technology rankings of different African nations. This article examines changes in the information and communication technology rankings of different African nations and concludes that, as an analytical framework, the “digital divide” does not accurately describe what is happening on the continent and may lead to policy choices that are harmful to Africa’s future. ItemCharging for Computer Networks at Higher Educational Institutions in Developing Countries(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2008-12-15) Kumolalo, F.O.; Olajubu, E.A.; Aderounmu, G.A.The advantage of the Internet to academia and research cannot be underestimated; nevertheless in developing countries the ability to support this important resource, as a viable tool for teaching and research, is undermined by lack of funding. This makes it necessary to apply a charging mechanism that will make it possible to render this facility available to the higher education system, while encouraging its use primarily for teaching and research. In this paper we present a proposal for a charging system that can be applied to achieve this aim. Our proposal discourages the use of the Academic Network for purposes other than teaching and research. ItemThe Collision of Regulatory Convergence and Divergence: Updating Policies of Surveillance and Information Technology(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Hosein, IanRegulation theory rarely considers the disruptive capacity of technology, nor regulation in the sole interest of government. This paper will investigate the capacity of technology to disrupt regulatory regimes surrounding surveillance and communications infrastructure in various countries. As policy regimes are updated to meet new challenges, through the creation of new policy habitats, new powers are created despite protests and claims of technological neutrality. However, the capacity to interpret technology does not end: technology will disrupt even the new habitat, requiring renegotiation and re-settlements. Such negotiations often occur at the international level; some of these processes will be reviewed and critiqued. Considering the contingent nature of technology policy, this paper then recommends some ways forward when considering new national policies, such as the process that South Africa is about to embark on.