Articles by Marcus Low

Photo of protest for dignity of blind people

Parliament can help blind people access books

Only the publishing industry stands in the way

By Marcus Low - 2 August 2017
Photo of anti-Zuma protest

Don’t fall for “illegal” protest nonsense

Government Twitter account is wrong on the law

By John Stephens and Marcus Low - 5 April 2017
Electron micrograph of Human Immunodeficiency Virions.

“No credibility as a researcher” - a letter to News24

A former Media24 journalist criticises the country's biggest online news publication for publishing AIDS denialism

By Marcus Low - 11 March 2016
Photo of protest for HIV treatment.

Ten things you probably don’t know about HIV in 2016

The HIV world is used to things moving fast, in a way that most medicine just doesn’t.

By Francois Venter, Polly Clayden, Anele Yawa and Marcus Low - 22 February 2016

Time to demand equal rights for blind people

Being blind or visually impaired means many things in life are simply much more difficult than what they are for other people. Some of these things we can do something about, others we can’t. There are two fundamentally different ways for society and governments to respond to this unpleasant reality. The one option is pity and non-integration - the other is to forget about pity and to take practical steps to make things as equal as possible so that blind people can integrate into society.

Marcus Low - 18 November 2015

Will gold miners get justice?

In King Leopold’s Ghost, the historian Adam Hochschild uncovers the horrors committed in the Belgian Congo in the years before and after 1900. It is a history of slavery, murder and mutilation – anyone who’s seen the pictures of piles of cut-off hands cannot but be horrified by it.

Marcus Low - 9 October 2015

Copyright bill will empower blind people

Just over two years after the books for the blind treaty was signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, South Africa has finally taken steps toward ratifying the treaty.

Marcus Low - 26 August 2015

No sympathy for metered taxi companies protesting against Uber

I have taken thousands of trips in metered taxis in Cape Town over the last ten years. In the last year or so I’ve switched to predominantly Uber taxis. Since I can’t legally drive due to poor eyesight, these are my primary ways of navigating the city. I therefore have a very significant interest in the battle between metered taxi companies and Uber. The aim of regulating an industry must ultimately be to serve the public interest. In the case of the metered taxi industry, the aim must be to ensure that a safe, reliable and affordable service is provided to the public, whilst of course ensuring that drivers are working under fair conditions of employment.

Marcus Low - 13 July 2015

Pharma plot has consequences for the blind

If a secret plot by foreign pharmaceutical companies and their local subsidiaries to delay South Africa's IP policy process until after the elections succeeds, non-pharmaceutical sectors will also be affected.

Marcus Low - 29 January 2014

Patents must serve the public interest

It is in the interests of large multinational companies to secure as many patents as possible. The Treatment Action Campaign, in line with the Draft National Policy on Intellectual Property (IP), argues that patents should only be granted for medicines that are truly new and innovative, for example a brand new cancer cure.

Marcus Low - 24 October 2013

Patents must serve the public interest

Thousands of people in South Africa have drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). Many of them will die. Death from TB can be slow and horrible. Many of those who do survive will struggle with severe side effects and may need daily pills and injections. Some, like 23-year old Phumeza who described her experience of TB treatment at a Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) press conference last week, will live, but lose their hearing.

Marcus Low - 24 October 2013

How a patent is blocking access to a life-saving TB medicine

Thousands of people in South Africa have drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). Many of them will die. Death from TB can be slow and horrible. Many of those who do survive will struggle with severe side effects and may need daily pills and injections. Some, like 23-year old Phumeza who described her experience of TB treatment at a Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) press conference last week, will live, but lose their hearing.

Marcus Low - 23 October 2013

Blind sidelined by Department of Trade and Industry

South Africa’s draft intellectual property policy fails to make any mention of the most progressive copyright treaty in years. Blind and visually impaired people will pay the price if this is not rectified in the final policy.

Marcus Low - 2 October 2013

Dancing and tears greet book treaty for blind

On 22 June a treaty for the blind was heading for disaster as negotiators stalled and refused to budge on hardline positions. Three days later a negotiator stepped out of a boardroom in the Atlas Medina hotel in Marrakesh and announced to a crowd of tense and exhausted observers, "We have a text!" The tears and dancing that followed is hardly what you’d associate with the making of international law.

Marcus Low - 3 July 2013

Interview with Lauren Beukes

Cape Town-based writer Lauren Beukes won the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award for her novel Zoo City. Her new novel, The Shining Girls, is receiving rave reviews and is set to make best-seller lists around the world. Marcus Low talked to her about her writing and about the links between speculative fiction and real-world social issues.

Marcus Low - 15 May 2013

Ending the book famine for the blind

A treaty that has the potential to change the lives of millions of blind people is at risk of being hijacked by publishers who show no sympathy for the difficulties faced by blind people across the world

Marcus Low - 10 April 2013