SAJIC Issue 9, 2008

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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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    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.