Brisbane is a long way to discuss a debate in Africa over information. But it's the venue of the World Press Freedom Day commemoration on 3 May 2010, and UNESCO asked me to make an input. To this end, I drafted a paper, arguing for the importance (at least equivalent) of practical access to info in African conditions, in relation to the (largely unrealised) political right to information.
My second name (besides Julian, Eliot, Gough - what were my parents thinking?) should have been digital. "G D Berger". Since I realised the power of digital compression, without which ICT would not exist, I've been a promoter of all things digital.
But in the past year, something's gone sour. It's called digital migration. This is a process so complex and so costly, that it would need to be worth mega-benefits if it was to happen.
Our regulatory body, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, is muddling over whether to start regulating areas of video on the Internet - what it confusingly calls the activities of IPTV and Video on Demand. The intention is evident in a Discussion Document published by the Authority.
The Nation group celebrated its 50th birthday last week with a major media conference in Nairobi. I was a keynote speaker, dealing with the longstanding issue of Africa's image in the media.
Champions for freedom of information in Africa often have to respond to claims that the media would abuse such a dispensation. Governments resist granting rights to information, citing “irresponsible” journalism that incites public violence. So the media is presented as being the roadblock to reform.
At a conference in Accra, convened by the Carter Centre, media leaders Karikari and Ba gave their counter-arguments: