On Tuesday May 3 the world will commemorate World Press Freedom Day amid what Reporters Without Borders recently referred to as a “deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom throughout the world”. The Internet is a critical frontier for media freedom, but in South Africa, as in many other parts of the globe, we’re facing increasing threats in the form of online surveillance and censorship. Abuses by the state and private sector, draft regulations for online content and draconian cybersecurity legislation could throttle the democratising potential of the Internet and endanger fundamental rights of free expression and information access. The seminar will explore the various threats to online media freedom in South Africa and discuss ways of confronting them.


Godfrey Phiri: Chair

Dario Milo: What the FPB regulations and Film & Publications Bill mean for online freedom

Dr Dale McKinley: The threat of digital surveillance in South Africa

Indra de Lanerolle: Internet access as a media rights issue

Dr Julie Reid: Revising ‘media freedom’: re-evaluating media freedom discourses from an audiencecentred approach as a response to current threats to communications rights

3 May 2016, 1:30 – 3:15PM, Graduate Centre boardroom, SW Engineering Building (next to Great Hall) Wits University Main Campus
RSVP to Micah Reddy: micah.r2k@gmail.com
Refreshments will be served


  • Godfrey Phiri is a long time social justice activist and the coordinator of the Right2Know Campaign in Gauteng province.
  • Dario Milo is a media lawyer and partner at Webber Wentzel and a visiting associate professor at Wits University. He has acted in a number of ground-breaking cases involving the media, including the successful application to broadcast the Oscar Pistorius trial, the fight for access to the Khampepe report, and Zapiro’s defamation case against Jacob Zuma.
  • Indra de Lanerolle’s research is focused on internet and mobile use in Africa. He is a Visiting Research Associate and adjunct lecturer at University of WItwatersrand, Johannesburg. He has two decades experience in new media, broadcasting, film and communications working in Africa, Europe and the US. Read about his research at networksocietylab.org
  • Dr Dale McKinley is an independent writer, researcher and activist with a long history of involvement and leadership in various social justice movements, including the Anti-Privatisation Forum and the Right2Know Campaign
  • Dr Julie Reid is based at the Department of Communication Science at UNISA, is a project leader for the Media Policy and Democracy Project, and a long time media freedom activist