South Africa’s government wants to censor the internet

South Africa wants to follow in the footsteps of Yemen and the United Arab Emirates by censoring the internet from "pornography".

South Africa wants to follow in the footsteps of Yemen and the United Arab Emirates by censoring the internet from “pornography”.

According to the South African government released in a statement today from The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba “The Internet and Cellphone Pornography Bill proposes that pornography be filtered out at the tier one service providers to avoid it entering the country. The Bill is aimed at the total ban of pornography on internet and mobile phones. United Arab Emirates and Yemen already have legislation in this regard. Australia and New Zealand are currently seeking to do so.”

Yemen is almost a enemy of the internet, they are on ONI’s watchlist but not currently on Reporters Without Borders’s internet enemy list. Yemen has two ISPs that blocks everything from gambling to sex education as well as Christian material and other material that could “convert” Muslims into other religions.

The United Arab Emirates is on the ONI’s substantial category and is not on Reporters Without Borders’s internet enemy list however the UAE censors politically sensitive material, ALL Israeli domains and anything the UAE government does not agree with. All voice over IP services are blocked.

So these two countries filter out everything political and religious wise that can change their citizen’s perception. They are also politically agressive towards Israel.

Australia is on the ONI’s nominal category since 2009 and does not alow “RC” content. That is content that is “refused classification or banned” and also does not allow hardcore non-voilent pornography.

In 2009 Australia started filtering the internet and even blocked sites that had nothing to do with pornography, they also blocked political sites that did not agree with everything the Australian government had to say.

There is a blacklist that filters out Child pornography but this is the same filter that also filters out some political sites.

Back in South Africa, today the MInister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba met with Justice Alliance of South Africa that was represented by Advocate Johan Smyth and Brendan Studti. The meeting was part of the ongoing work to make a bill and to get legal opinion on constitional issues related to the Internet and Cellphone Pornography Bill.

Current legislation in South Africa does ban child pornography but the bill in progress called the Internet and Cellphone Pornography Bill will ban all pornography entirely from computers and cellphones through the internet.

Malusi Gigaba  said that “Cars are already provided with brakes and seatbelts, it is not an extra that consumers have to pay for. There is no reason why the internet should be provided without the necessary restrictive mechanisms built into it.”

So soon South Africans could see a law passed that will ban all pornography on the internet but this poses the exact problem that the other countries and their citizens face.

It starts with blocking porn but then as governments become more like tyrants we see them using the same filter that was originally intented for good to keep their own citizens in the dark and disconnected from the rest of the world.

The biggest problem is that once a government gets their hands on a “internet censor or filter”, they dont stop filtering whatever comes next and is in their interest.

Here is the 2010 Reporters Without Borders part on the United Arab Emirates:

  Despite the fact that the United Arab Emirates are experiencing the highest penetration rate in the Arab
world, the authorities have implemented an extensive system to filter sensitive subjects, backed by repressive
laws.

Netizens are increasingly resorting to proxy servers to access thousands of banned websites.
A “two-facetted country”: technological leader and zealous Internet censor
Countries under surveillance

Cell phones are also being filtered. The latest victim is the Blackberry, whose Internet access has been filtered
since December 2009. Authorities tried to install spyware on smartphones in July 2009, but users
raised such an uproar that they finally abandoned the plan.
Cyber-laws and cyber-police

Since December 2008, UAE cyber-police have been in charge of monitoring the Web and keeping an eye
on its users. According to the authorities, they processed over 200 cases in 2009, mainly related to cybercrime
and hacking.

Intensified surveillance has been coupled with liberticidal laws.

By virtue of Article 20 of the 2006 law
against cyber-criminality (the Computer Crime Act), an Internet user may be imprisoned for “opposing
Islam,” “insulting any religion recognized by the state,” or “violating family values and principles.”

Another victim of the censors, the website www.Hetta.com, has been targeted by judicial harassment. Its
chief editor, Ahmed Mohammed bin Gharib, was sentenced to a fine of AED 20,000 (about USD 5,400)
for “defaming,” “insulting,” and “humiliating” the Abu Dhabi Media Company, a state-controlled media
outlet for publishing an article in May 2009 in which journalists denounced the company’s “administrative
corruption” and “embezzlement” practices.

The appeal hearing upheld this penalty on January 13. Ahmed
Mohammed bin Gharib lodged an appeal with the Court of Cassation..
Intensifying cyber censorship and circumvention efforts

Despite the fact that, based upon a poll published by the newspaper Khaleej, 95.5% of the respondents
opposed the current filtering system, the latter has been intensifying in the last few months according to
the OpenNet Initiative.

Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, which, until now, had been spared by
censorship, are now being filtered despite the promises made to investors. Yet UAE netizens are not easily
dissuaded: increasing numbers of them are discovering how to circumvent the censorship and regain Internet
access.

Trophy hunters kill last endangered desert male lion – Namibia

Namibia has a unique breed of lions that has adapted to the desert environment. Over the years they have become rather popular to hunt especially the males.

Namibia has a unique breed of lions that has adapted to the desert environment. Over the years they have become rather popular to hunt especially the males. There are three lion prides with a total of 27 adult females and sub-adults/cubs without a single adult male. There was two males both collared who has been killed in a very small amount of time leaving the females without males and with no way of filling the void.

Last year November Adolf (Xpl-3) a large male lion was killed which left Leonardo (Xpl-44) the only adult male left in the Hoanib & Hoaruseb area’s in the northern section. 26 April 2010 Leonardo was shot by hunters while he was feeding in a small cave.

The person responsible has been named Keith Wright who is a owner of a professional game hunting business Didiamla Safaris Namibia. They specialise in trophy hunting. Keith Wright has said that it was a accident and he could not see the lions collar because his mane was so big. Showing little remorse in his actions and refusing to take responsibility for the harm he has caused the government is pressing charges. When he was approached for comment on it he admitted saying:

I am the guy. …. It was a lion out of a sustainable group of lions in the area. I work very closely with Flip Stander (conservation expert from Conservancy Safaris Namibia)

He claims this all was brought about by someone who has something against him rather than of any wrong  doing. He also claims he has a permit for that area and it was a perfectly legal hunt. Not so, according to the Deputy Director of Parks and Wildlife Management Colgar Sikopo confirmed that the police has opened a case of illegal hunting of a protected species. Claiming that Wright only has a permit to shoot a lioness in the Anabeb Conservancy Area while the male lion was killed in the Sestfontein Conservancy Area. Meaning that he had no right to be hunting there and even less to shoot a male. There is also the matter of the collar attached to Leonardo it was only placed on him March this year and cost of N$60 000 and that normally if a male lion is permitted to kill a percentage of that money would go to a foundation Purros Conservancy, that is the local African tribe Purros which mainly graze cattle they do hunt lions but mostly to protect their herds.

According to Flip Stander who works with the lions and track their movements, it is clear that Leonardo was also baited closer to the area where he was shot:

During the night of the 19th April 2010 (19/4 pm) Xpl-44 moved rapidly south, into the Sesfontein Conservancy, to a bait. The speed and directness of his movements suggests that he might have been called by sound playbacks. He remain at the bait until the morning of 21 April 2010. The mortality sensor inside his satellite GPS collar was activated later in the day, and it is estimated that he was shot between 07 – 09h00 (subject to error). By 14h00 the satellite collar was transmitting it’s position from a hunting camp 6 km north-east of Sesfontein.

The investigators are refusing to say more about the case, stating that it is a sensitive matter at the moment.

There has been a facebook group started Stop Keith Wright the KILLER of Leonardo the Lion to trade in Namibia. If you would like to support the dessert lions or learn more about them go to Flip Stander’s website: desertlion.info

Update:

Criminal charges has been laid against Keith Wright after a high-profile investigation by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism into the killing of Leonardo, a protected lion species.

The Deputy Director: Parks and Wildlife Management in the ministry, Colgar Sikopo, have confirmed that the Police had opened a case of illegal hunting of a protected species after Mr Wright admitted to shooting the collared lion.

The Ministry has said that Keith Wright only had a permit to shoot a lioness and only in the Anabeb Conservacy Area. He had no authorisation from them to hunt a lion in the Sesfontein Conservancy Area.
 

South Africans unhappy about Shakira singing world cup anthem – Waka Waka

Everyone is making a big fuss over the fact that a non South African is singing the world cup song. They claim that Fifa is a ‘South African’ event and should feature South African talent.

Everyone is making a big fuss over the fact that a non South African is singing the world cup song. They claim that Fifa is a ‘South African’ event and should feature South African talent.

Let me explain why they are wrong, Fifa has always been an international event featuring entertainment from all the continents participating. Meaning that if you look at past World Cups it was not exclusively for that country that hosts it, yes of course the country gets a lot of ‘attention’ for it being held there but it is not just about them. South Africans are just acting in a very self absorbed way showing the world they think they are the most important part of the event. But we are not, the soccer is, the game, the players and their fans who have come to see them is. It is a opportunity for us to show the world what South Africa can offer and how wonderful the people can be but instead I just read comment after comment about how unsatisfied South Africans are with the lack of attention our artist are getting.

Here is the video of the Fifa soccer world cup 2006 opening ceremony, it took place in Berlin. Guess what Shakira and Wyclef Jean sang the song Hips Don’t Lie Bamboo version, do you get it now? Fifa needs something they can sell, it must be able to bring in a income and sorry to say I am not sure that a South African artist will be able to sell records the way Shakira does.

Shakira – Hips Dont Lie Bamboo Live at Fifa 2006

Personally I don’t like the Waka Waka song, there is too much reference to soldiers, war and talking about soccer as if it’s a god. Plus it is rather unfair that Shakira is doing the anthem song again for this world cup, they could have been more creative in their choice of artist. But having said that I prefer it to all other options we have been given and it remains Fifa’s choice. This is a world event South Africans should embrace it as such and not be so obsessed with recognition of Africa and make other people feel welcome rather than that they are intruding in ‘our’ limelight. In the end Fifa wants to make money and in the end that is what a big international artist will bring them, we cannot change that. So instead of attacking Shakira and making a fuss, accept it and be gracious about the whole thing and promote the South African group Freshlyground that will be singing along with Shakira.

Freshlyground – "Pot Belly" Music Video

So rather than getting hung up on Shakira celebrate that such a wonderful diverse group of singers as Freshlyground is representing our country.

Update:

Watch Shakira’s performance at the Fifa World Cup grand opening for 2010 here. She was really the best choice for the performance, kicking off the world cup with a bang. 

Newest Update:

Tonight was the last night of the soccer World Cup. South Africa gave a wonderful closing ceremony once again opening with Shakira singing the World Cup anthem Waka Waka. Both Shakira and Freshlyground gave an outstanding performance. If you missed it watch it here.