Monthly Archives: October 2019

Where is the Freedom of Information Act?

At just a two weeks before the General Elections in Mauritius, I am pondering over the achievements of the outgoing government. A renewed alliance between the MSM Party and Muvman Liberater is asking the citizens to give them another mandate to run the country.

At this stage I thought I should check their Electoral Manisfesto of 2014 to see where do they stand on their promises.

One particular area I am interested in is Good Governance. I am looking for what happened to the promised Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to be more precise.

Page 22 of L'Alliance Lepep's Electoral Manifesto of 2014 talks about Good Governance. Item number three reads as follows:

Un 'Freedom of Information Act' sera introduit pour garantir la transparence et permettre la libre circulation des information

Yes, they promised a Freedom of Information Act to guarantee transparency. A counter was subsequently published by which now shows that it's been 1779 days since L'Alliance Lepep formed a government and yet there is no sign of FOIA.

I attended two workshops on the subject of FOIA, one organized by the U.S Embassy in 2015 and another by the Mauritius Council of Social Service (MACOSS) in early 2016.

I never received an invitation to participate in any FOIA related workshop by government led initiatives (if they happened in the last five years).

Five years and freedom of information is not guaranteed.

Among the ten items on Good Governance in the Electoral Manisfesto of 2014 key ones have not been fulfilled. Item number four talks about freedom of opinion and that citizens would be free to attend public gatherings, participate in pacific protests, etc.

However, the outgoing government only made the ICT Act more stringent and confusing that the citizens of Mauritius somehow lost their "freedom of expression" on the Internet. Find more about that in the following articles:

Against the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?
ICT Act: Yatin Varma dépose une plainte en Cour suprême
Clause 46 de l’ICT Act: «Une épée de Damoclès plane sur la population»
Maurice: RSF condamne un durcissement de la législation sur les contenus en ligne
A clear violation of the right to freedom of expression

Police brutality

Lastly, regarding the freedom to attend public gatherings or participate in pacific protests, can we forget the harsh treatment of Rastafaris in 2016?

Image source:

Several people were arrested and some were brutalised by the police.

This blog post is not an endorsement of whom to vote or not to vote but simply portrays the thoughts of an ordinary citizen.

Podman 101 at the Middlesex University Mauritius

Podman 101 at the Middlesex University Mauritius

Thanks to Senior Lecturer and Programme Coordinator, Aditya Santokhee, at the Middlesex University Mauritius, my colleague Chittesh & I got to deliver guest talks at the university today.

Podman 101 at the Middlesex University Mauritius

Chittesh, also our local Mozillian, spoke about the Internet Health Report and raised privacy concerns surrounding major online platforms. He mentioned the Cambridge Analytica scandal in particular, especially how that raised public awareness about digital privacy. He added that following the enforcement of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulations (EU GDPR), tens of thousands of violation complaints have been filed. Google was fined €50 million for GDPR violations in France.

His talk was more a message to the young students for them to review their online habits and take a moment to think about digital privacy.

On the other hand I had a semi-technical talk about Pods & Containers. Although we had a lecture theatre fully packed with Computer Science students, I was told they were mostly in second year, I realise that not everyone would be acquainted to Linux containers, or yet Linux itself.

Therefore, I started with a gentle introduction about operating systems and where Linux stands. I asked the students whether they are familiar with virtualization and part of the room answered yes. It made it easier to compare between having an "architecture emulator" to run a virtual machine and a simple isolated environment comprising of a bunch of files. That's the simplest explanation I could give to make the students comfortable with the idea of containers.

Podman 101 at the Middlesex University Mauritius
Podman 101 at the Middlesex University Mauritius

Then, I moved to the topic of Podman, while doing some demos and helping the students learn how podman run ... could make things easier for them. I asked them a few questions about university assignments such as developing an application and the need of having an "environment" to build or test the application. Instead of having a full Linux environment with a bunch of packages installed & configured simply to serve a web application, a single-line of podman could serve those files in an Nginx container. Especially, doing this without a big-fat-daemon, pun intended! 🤓

I briefly talked about Skopeo and I invited the more adventurous students to peek inside of containers and get a better understanding of what they are made of. The key lesson being, magic is for the users not for the engineer.

I ended the talk with this nice slide copied from my openSUSE MicroOS workshop deck from the openSUSE Asia Summit 2019. 😊

Podman 101 at the Middlesex University Mauritius

Slides available at