Media & Technology

The media play an important role as information mediators in today's world, occupying an important space where  public debates about national and international issues take place. SACSIS seeks to understand the role and the impact of the mainstream media in achieving public interest journalism.

The Myopia of Economics Journalism

Picture credit: cogito ergo imago/flickr Jane Duncan - We warned you! Business journalist Rob Rose made this claim recently about the media’s reporting on the collapse of African Bank Investment Limited (ABIL). He argued that the business press locally and globally have been “calling it right for ages” when it came to the financial crisis that swept the world from 2008 onwards. Rose also took issue with economist Trudi Makhaya’s recent warning that South Africa lacked meaningful economics journalism. He disagreed with...

Gaza and the Tasks of Journalism

Picture credit: A woman is overcome and weeps at the destruction of her neighbourhood in Gaza courtesy Cintayati Jane Duncan - In the past few weeks, the South African media has been dominated by the unfolding catastrophe in Gaza and South Africans have had to rely largely on foreign coverage of this issue to understand it. The mainstream US media is still parroting the Israeli line that the country is acting in self-defence, or its right to be ‘free from tunnels and rockets’ in Secretary of State John Kerry’s words, but Israel is clearly meting out collective punishment to Palestinians. At a...

Biometric Smart ID Cards: Dumb Idea

Picture credit: Usability Geek Jane Duncan - Mauritius is known to South Africans mainly as a holiday destination, brimming with idyllic beaches, luxurious hotels and stunning scenery. However, there are other, less well-known ties that bind the two countries together. At the moment, both countries are introducing ‘smart’ ID cards, requiring their citizens to give biometric information to the government in the form of their fingerprints, to establish their legal identities. This information will also be recorded in...

Anger Follows Facebook's Secret Study to Manipulate Emotions

Picture credit: geralt/Pixabay Jon Queally - New details surrounding how Facebook allowed academic researchers to conduct a secret experiment on nearly 700,000 of its users to determine if digital manipulation of their emotions could be achieved has spurred widespread condemnation and new fears about the power of such systems when turned against the millions of people who use them on a daily basis. The experiment in question, which sought to document evidence of a "massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,"...

Ecuador Takes First Step Towards a Commons Economy

Picture credit: President Rafael Correa of Equador has urged young people to fight for an open knowledge society - picture courtesy Top News. David Bollier - In 2013, the government of Ecuador launched a major strategic research project to “fundamentally re-imagine Ecuador” based on the principles of open networks, peer production and commoning.  Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation would be leading the research team for the next ten months, and seeking to “remake the roots of Ecuador’s economy, setting off a transition into a society of free and open knowledge.”  The announcement of the project...

The Net We Want

Picture credit: answermug.com Jane Duncan - One year ago today, The Guardian newspaper published National Security Agency (NSA) spy Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance in the US. Digital activists are marking this day by launching a ‘reset the net’ campaign to encourage internet users to take back the internet from the spies and to make it secure for use: a campaign that has received Snowden’s endorsement. Other forums have taken place recently, focussing on the broader principles that should...