A draft Bill proposing a ban on sexual content on the internet and cellphones submitted to the South African Department of Home Affairs in May 2010 claims to have the best interests of women and children in mind but has set alarm bells ringing in the women’s movement. “The Bill equates women with children –taking a protectionist approach to the rights of women— and promotes state censorship,” says Sally-Jean Shackleton, director of Women’sNet, a feminist technology organisation based in Johannesburg.
A draft Bill proposing a ban on sexual content on the internet and cellphones submitted to the South African Department of Home Affairs in May 2010 claims to have the best interests of women and children in mind. The Bill was submitted to the Department, which oversees the Film and Publications Board, by a non-profit organisation called Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA).
In 2008, APC member Women’sNet partnered with the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and the APC women’s programme (APC WNSP) to bring the first Feminist Tech Exchange to South Africa.
This was just the question that was addressed at a recent seminar at the University of Makerere in Uganda conducted as part of the country’s participation in APC’s Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women initiative which is taking place in twelve countries on of which is Uganda.
The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill seeks to address an important issue. However the way it does so threatens to hinder the preservation of traditional knowledge, severely diminish the South African public domain and limit access to knowledge.
For four days from March 31, fifteen women gathered at the Feminist Tech Exchange in the Brazzaville (Congo) Digital Campus. Participants and trainers alike came from human and women’s rights organisations, the media and politics to learn more about how to use technology to end violence against women and girls. APC member Azur Développement was involved in putting on the event which talked about the hows and whys of blogging, using video, audio and mobile phones, as well as social networking. The FTX is a part of the APC’s Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women project in twelve countries. Watch the video of the event (in French).
Last year, rural non-profit the Fantsuam Foundation trained almost six hundred locals in computing to improve their livelihoods – but only one was a person with physical disabilities. Now incorporating JAWS – a Job Access With Speech screen reader – Fantsuam will open their basic and advanced computer skills classes to people who can’t see.
The United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals is coming up from 20-22 September in New York. APC member SANGONeT is holding an e-consultation open to all African citizens interest in reviewing progress made and setting priorities. David Barnard, executive director, talks about the African agenda and how your opinion is crucial.