There is a possibility of online censorship in our country

Online censorship in countries such as China, North Korea and Cuba are well documented, and if South African State Security Minister David Mahlobo has his way, our country could face social media regulations in the not too distant future.

This comes after Minister Mahlobo expressed concern over an increase in fake social media posts and scams and called for “civic education and awareness”. What’s more, the Minister said that the dissemination of “false information” needs urgent intervention.

Naturally, the censorship of any kind that infringes on South African citizens’ right to freedom of expression will cause widespread outrage, and Media Monitoring Africa rightfully pointed out that possible supervision of social media would damage democracy in the country.

“The moment you talk about the State Security Agency becoming involved in regulating speech, I think a number of alarm bells need to be ringing. It is the sort of thing that profoundly undermines a democratic state,” says Media Monitoring Africa Director William Bird.

Whether or not the government will move forward with the regulations remains to be seen, but, if history is anything to go by, South Africans don’t respond well to the threat of being silenced.

For more insight into the online world, be sure to check out our feature on Parenting in the Digital Age.