Internet Freedom: Why Access Is Becoming A Human Rightby The Daily Eye Team June 3 2016, 10:55 am Estimated Reading Time: 0 mins, 54 secs
When most people think or speak about internet freedom, they are often concerned with the right, for example, to say what you want online without censorship and without being subject to the chilling effects of surveillance.
These kind of freedoms are sometimes called “negative freedoms” or “freedoms from…”. They address the right not to be interfered with or obstructed in living your life. But there are also “positive freedoms” — “freedoms to…”
Some constitutions – notably the US Constitution – only protect negative rights. But South Africa’s includes both negative and positive rights. Positive rights include, for example, the socio-economic rights to food and shelter.
In its Internet Freedom Index Freedom House ranks South Africa as “free” alongside the UK, Argentina and Kenya. The ranking is largely because Freedom House weighs negative freedoms above positive ones. But how “free” is the internet in South Africa? For most, it is positive internet freedoms that may be more urgent.