Africa has been an interesting area to watch when it comes to censorship on the internet. One of the biggest areas being talked about at the moment under this topic is South Africa. This is an area that, since 1994, has enjoyed civil liberties that have been protected by a progressive constitution. Unfortunately however, one of these key civil liberties is being taken away, thanks to a recent draft legislation proposed by the Film and Public Board, a government body that regulates online content. Today, we’ll talk about why this legislation draft is proving to be stunning to many and how African citizens can still enjoy freedom when it comes to internet content.
The South African Government Wages War On Internet Content
As mentioned above, South Africa has been celebrated since 1994 as a result of a progressive constitution that granted its citizens many civil liberties. However, a key civil liberty is currently under siege.
Unfortunately, the Film and Publication Board in South Africa is working to move forward with online content censorship that will limit the ability of citizens to access some content. In particular, the regulation that is currently nothing more than a draft applies to films and games distributed online. The new regulation would also put limitations on publications containing some loosely-described forms of sex, violence and hate speech.
One of the big hits to the online world in Africa includes an application process. If this legislation is passed, video and video game producers in South Africa will no longer be able to upload their content to websites like YouTube and Vimeo and make their living. Instead, these content producers will first have to provide an application to find out whether or not the media will be allowed online. If an application is not provided, these content producers face the idea of regulatory authorities knocking at their doors and pressing charges.
However, perhaps the most disturbing snippet from the draft is as follows:
“With regard to any other content distributed online, the Board shall have the power to order an administrator of any online platform to take down any content that the Board may deem to be potentially harmful and disturbing to children of certain ages.”
While previous clauses apply to only video and video game content, this particular clause goes far further. Ultimately, this clause makes it so that all online content is subject to censorship in Africa, ultimately taking away a key civil liberty!
There Is A Work Around
When technology finds a roadblock, it tends to find its way around it, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing from today’s virtual private network services, or VPN services. VPNs are designed to give users private access to content from around the world. Through the use of a VPN, not only are doors to content unlocked that are generally locked in various regions, the user’s anonymity is protected.
So, while governments in Africa and around the world may work to censor the content that is available online, there is a way that citizens in these regions can take back their right to research. With the use of a VPN, consumers around the world now have access to content from around the world at the click of a button!
In various regions around the world, regulatory agencies have worked hard to censor what they believe to be content that is not good for their citizens. However, many believe that proper research is key to economic, social, and personal development and that this censorship limits the ability to do this proper research. Nonetheless, savvy citizens won’t take censorship standing down. Instead, they are finding new and innovative ways to get their hands on the content that they believe they are entitled to!