PUBLIC ACCESS TO INFORMATION & ICTs PHASE II REPORT South Africa
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South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world and the legacy of apartheid is still very much in evidence. The poorest 40% of the population spend less than 3% of national consumption, while the richest 10% have a 46% share of national consumption leading to the highest differences between rich and poor in the world. In a country where more than 80% of the population is African Black, 93% of the unemployed poor are Africans, 56% are female, and 70% are below the age of 35. South Africa however has one of the most robust and well‐developed media and information sectors in Africa. Constitutional provisions around media freedom and the right to access public information means that it offers a relatively stable institutional framework in which to develop sustainable and meaningful public information strategies. Given the socio‐economic conditions of the majority of the population, practical public service information is a priority for disadvantaged communities. Both the government and the non‐profit sectors are leaders in the provision of public service information, and different media platforms are leveraged for these, including TV, radio, the Internet, mobile phones, outdoor marketing and print. While the government has embarked on numerous online content initiatives that offer useful information, such as government contacts, insight into strategies, and tender opportunities, a large portion of the intended beneficiaries of this information typically do not have Internet access. The fact that information intermediaries are often needed to bridge the gap between platforms such as the Internet and disadvantaged communities is suggestive. In this respect, while there has been some progress, the potential for using mobile technology to share public service information is relatively under‐explored. Besides selecting the appropriate medium for information dissemination, the accessibility of the information when it is available remains 2 a problem (e.g. regarding language and clarity). Despite these challenges, information initiatives in the HIV/AIDS sector stand out, and appear to have had some impact. The sector has shown itself willing to experiment using multi‐media platforms and creative messaging, amongst other innovative content development ideas, including developing TV dramas.
- TASCHA Repository