Access to Internet declared a human right, also push for broadband

2014-03-21 00:00

SOUTH Africans have something new to celebrate on Human Rights Day today — access to the Internet has been declared a human right.

If you weren’t already aware of this, you can thank Minister of Communications Yunus Carrim for alerting the country to this latest human right.

Carrim said that online access has become so important that the United Nations Human Rights Commission has declared that the Internet is a basic human right.

He was speaking at an ICT Green Paper public hearing in Polokwane.

KZN’s public hearing on the Green Paper will take place on Monday.

Carrim added that the UN Broadband Commission was also calling for broadband to be defined as a basic human need and for it to be included as part of the Millenium Development Goals when they are reviewed at the UN next year.

“Broadband basically refers to the transfer of huge amounts of information at high speed through the Internet. We urgently need to implement ‘South Africa Connect’, our broadband policy, to achieve our economic growth, development and job-creation targets,” the minister said.

Mothibi Ramusi, a representative of the ICT Review Panel responsible for the Green Paper, said there were people who called the post office outdated in this Internet Age.

“This is not true. The post office remains relevant, especially to the poor, particularly those in rural areas. But the post office has to change its role to take account of changes in the ICT sector,” Ramusi said.

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