The recently released report by the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines provides several recommendations for making publicly-funded research more widely available, calling for universities and research institutions that receive public funding to prioritise public health objectives over financial returns in their patenting and licensing practices. This, of course, is particularly interesting against the backdrop of South Africa’s legislative mandate to commercialise the output of publicly-financed research and development activities, as stipulated in the country’s legislation.
Author: Linda Cilliers
ASK Justice mid-project workshop
Rens reminded participants that Botswana is often considered an AIDS success story. A UNAIDS report claims that Botswana provides coverage to 93 percent of those in need of ARV treatment across the country. Talking about how South Africa measures up, he added that the country’s legal frameworks already provided great human rights language, but that government has struggled to create policies in line with them.
Experiences of a student at mid-project workshop
Scholars shared experiences of the challenges they faced when trying to study the policies of their countries. Scholars from Botswana, for instance, spoke of how difficult it was to access information held by the state and to interview public officials. In Uganda, on the other hand, scholars had no problem accessing the policy, but found that it was poorly, if rarely, executed.
South Africa’s IP Consultative Framework released for comment
Cabinet approved the Intellectual Property (IP) Consultative Framework at the beginning of July 2016. This followed the publication of South Africa’s Draft National Policy on Intellectual Property in 2013. See the UCT IP Unit’s 2013 comments here. The DTI has said, “The IP Consultative Framework aims to facilitate what will be continuous engagement with governmental partners and society at large towards the formulation of South Africa’s IP policy.”
Economic, social and cultural rights: The limitless textbook
It costs money to build and staff hospitals and schools that make the right to health and education a reality. And while not everyone in the world has an internet connection, providing internet access to people as fast as possible would go a long way towards achieving economic, social and cultural rights through the use of the limitless textbooks concept.
The role of narrative change in influencing policy
Adapted from a paper by Brett Davidson. Narratives are important in guiding individual beliefs and decision-making, and therefore they would play an important role in policy processes, too. Narratives play a key role in the negotiation of meaning in the political sphere. However, while this is something in which social movements, the media and the state are continuously engaged, it often does not receive as much conscious and strategic attention as other areas of contestation—certainly in the human rights field.
Landmark copyright decision on fair dealing in SA copyright law
The Gauteng High Court in South Africa has delivered the long awaited decision in Moneyweb v Media24. The case’s history is nicely captured here. In a nutshell, the case dealt with, among other things, the alleged copyright infringement of 7 articles published by Fin24, a part of Media24. Moneyweb had argued that through publishing these articles, Media 24 infringed its copyright by unlawfully copying, appropriating and/or plagiarising articles previously published by Moneyweb.
Reflections on SARUA Leadership Dialogue on Open Access
What needs to be done to achieve an enabling policy environment and the necessary technical infrastructure and professional skills in Southern Africa to foster the effective communication and publication of African scholarship? What benefits would accrue from more effective communication of the scholarship in the region? What would the region gain?
Free e-book on the strategic use of new media for public good
Sawtna has announced the publication of its Guidebook for the Strategic Use of New Media for Peaceful Social Change, authored by Dalia Haj-Omar. This is a practical guide promoting the strategic use of social media and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) for advocacy and peaceful change in Sudan and beyond.
Open access policy on the cards for Zimbabwe
Article by Munyaradzi Makoni. Zimbabwe has kicked off a new project to support adoption of research data management and sharing services among government, universities and research institutions as part of its plans to pave the way for a nationwide open access mandate. Similar efforts are sweeping across Africa.