SAJIC Issue 9, 2008

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Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
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    Book 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
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    African National Regulatory Authority Benchmarking
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2008-12-15) Kerretts-Makau, Monica
    This 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.
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    Charging 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.
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    MXit it Up in the Media: Media Discourse Analysis on a Mobile Instant Messaging System
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2008-12-15) Chigona, Agnes; Chigona, Wallace
    Mobile instant messaging has the potential of providing the youth not only with a social space where they can interact and bond but also with a learning environment. MXit is the most popular mobile instant messaging application in South Africa. Due to its nascency, little academic research has been done on the application. The application has drawn considerable local media interest; however, most of the media coverage has been negative. Media discourse of the application is of academic interest, since media discourse is one of the many ways through which reality is constructed. This means there is a relationship between media discourse and public opinion. Distortions in the media may misinform and engender impaired decision making amongst policymakers as well as members of the public. Discourse analysis can reveal distortions in media communication and counter misinformation. Using critical discourse analysis, we have analysed the media discourse on MXit by employing the Habermasian concept of the ideal speech situation and its validity claims as a conceptual tool. The analysis shows that (i) the media discourse is fraught with distortions; (ii) the media have mainly used the voice of adults to legitimise the discourse and the voices of the youth who are the main users of the application are missing; and(iii) there seems to be a moral panic developing around the use of MXit.
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    Mobile Telephony Access and Usage in Africa
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2008-12-15) Chabossou, Augustin; Stork, Christoph; Stork, Matthias; Zahonogo, Pam
    This paper uses data from nationally representative household surveys conducted in 17 African countries to analyse mobile adoption and usage. The paper shows that countries differ in their levels of ICT adoption and usage and also in factors that influence adoption and usage. Income and education vastly enhance mobile adoption but gender, age and membership of social networks have little impact. Income is the main explanatory variable for usage. In terms of mobile expenditure the study also finds linkages to fixed-line, work and public phone usages. These linkages need, however, to be explored in more detail in future. Mobile expenditure is inelastic with respect to income, ie the proportion of mobile expenditure to individual income increases less than1% for each1% increase in income. This indicates that people with higher income spend a smaller proportion of their income on mobile expenditure compared to those with less income. The study provides tools to identify policy intervention to improve ICT take-up and usage and defines universal service obligations based on income and monthly usage costs. It helps to put a number to what can be expected from lower access and usage costs in terms of market volume and number of new subscribers. Linking this to other economic data such as national household income and expenditure surveys and GDP calculation would allow forecast of the economic and social impact of policy interventions. Key policy interventions would be regulatory measures to decrease access and usage costs, rural electrification and policies to increase ICT skills of pupils and teachers.
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    The Role of Institutional Design in the Conduct of Infrastructure Industry Reforms – An Illustration Through Telecommunications in Developing Countries
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2008-12-15) Gasmi, Farid; Noumba, Paul; Recuero Virto, Laura
    This paper is concerned with the role of political and economic institutions in the conduct of the infrastructure industries reform process in developing countries. Our point of departure is that the specific features of these countries' economies should be accounted for when considering policy design. We discuss the main results and policy lessons drawn from two studies of the telecommunications sector based on an econometric analysis of time-series-cross-sectional data on developed and developing countries. We synthesise the main empirical findings and policy implications pertaining to two issues. The first issue concerns the impact of the quality of institutions on the function of regulation. Our review points to the fact that political accountability of institutional systems is a key determinant of regulatory performance, in particular in developing countries. The second issue relates to the factors that shape the sectoral reforms themselves and the impact of these reforms on the development of the industry in developing countries. Our main conclusion is that countries’ institutional risk and financial constraints are among the major factors that explain which reforms are actually implemented.