Ethical Issues of Information in Eastern Africa
Workshop 1: 20 & 21 July 2021
Workshop 2: 27 & 28 July 2021
About the Events
According to Rafael Capurro, Founder of the International Centre for Information Ethics, “An important aspect of today's understanding of ethics concerns issues of individual and social responsibility with regard to the impact of our choices in light of the influence of science and technology. While information and communication technologies (ICTs) open doors to new technological and scientific possibilities, they also act as a catalyst to an unprecedented encounter with otherness, ensuring through digital mediums the en masse collision of hitherto closed ethical systems and cultural worldviews".
Together with this academic justification of IE, UNESCO Intergovernmental Programme IFAP, also prioritises IE. According to IFAP, one of the most pressing ethical issues is the inequity of access to ICT between countries, and between urban and rural communities within countries. This is compounded in the ‘new-normal’ following in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, where the misuse and abuse of information proliferated media, social media platforms as well as the use and application of ICTs.
In 2020, the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, hosted a course on Ethical Issues of Information in Eastern Africa in collaboration with the ICIE. These took place from 14 to 18 December 2020. In 2021, a second round of workshops will be held in July. The general objective of these courses are to emphasise awareness and understanding of the course content, and to give participants a practical set of skills to deal with emerging information ethics (IE) challenges in the Information Era.
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The training focusses on core themes constructed around the central notions of Right to Freedom of Expression, Universal Access to Information, Right to Education, Data Protection and Regulation, Gender Equality in the digital space. These are extended to the practical domain of social responsibility, digital citizenship and corporate governance. The aim is essentially to not only achieve IE awareness, but enact social and cognitive justice. IE is not only an academic discipline, but also requires practical tools and guidelines towards fostering and encouraging digital wellness. However, any approach to IE is absolutely underscored by basic media and information literacy (MIL) competencies. Without the requisite attitudes, skills and knowledge, digital and local citizens will be even more sorely challenged towards navigating the online and offline worlds of ICTs. The specific workshop themes deal with Information Ethics, Media & Information Literacy, and the Prevention of Violent and Online Extremism.