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Issue No. 007
Papers 16-31: Information Ethics issues in Africa

1-15   (16-31)   32-40

The Nature and Accessibility of E-Government in Sub Saharan Africa
by Patrick Ngulube
Language: English
abstract:   Electronic government (e-government) is a phenomenon that is linked to the information society and the advantages associated with it. E-government allows government departments to network and integrate their services using information and communication technologies (ICTs) in order to improve service delivery and enhance the relationship between the government and the public. The major ingredients of e-government are infrastructure, human resources and information. The reality in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) is that all these ingredients are insufficient. The ICT infrastructure is not widely available to rural populations. In most cases, both government officials and the people who may want to use government services online lack basic skills. Government information is not properly organized as records management systems in many countries are collapsing.
pdf-fulltext (286 KB)

Information Rights: Trust and Human Dignity in e-Government
by Toni Carbo
Language: English
abstract:   This paper provides a very brief overview of some of the notions of trust and distrust, concentrating on those concerning trust as it relates to notions of power, trust in organizations, and trust in information and information systems as one part of a framework to address the question of trust in e-government. It also makes a few recommendations for how to build citizen-centric e-government to provide information rights through a focus on human dignity, fundamental human rights, and earning trust.
pdf-fulltext (125 KB)

The Spirit of Open Access to Information as a Key Pillar to the African Renaissance
by Jacques C. du Plessis
Language: English
abstract:   This article explores the future impact of an African renaissance with a specific emphasis on information ethics to address the needs of the emerging virtual realm. The four main focus areas include the technological challenges to deploy ICT infrastructure to enable the delivery of information to the people and to allow for new means of communication. The second focus considers the economic obstacles that need to be considered in the quest to empower average citizens to exercise their right to access information. The third focus addresses the linguistic and cultural realities that hinder the adoption of some ICTs. The final focus considers the legal framework that has to be developed and strengthened to establish citizen's rights of access and privacy in cyberspace.
pdf-fulltext (143 KB)

Intellectual Property, Traditional Resources Rights, and Natural Law: A Clash of Cultures
by John N. Gathegi
Language: English
abstract:   Western nations, through international treaties and bodies such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and economic and political pressures on many governments, are to a large degree succeeding in strengthening protection of intellectual property rights as they are understood mainly within the western context. Framing the debate within Locke's theory of natural law, the paper discusses the extent to which this strengthening of intellectual property rights is appropriate for developing countries, especially within the African context.
pdf-fulltext (113 KB)

International advocacy for information ethics: the role of IFLA
by Peter Johan Lor
Language: English
abstract:  This paper focuses on IFLA's international advocacy role. It explores the relationship between library advocacy and information ethics, before outlining the ethical thrusts of IFLA's advocacy and describing IFLA's international advocacy work, with special emphasis on Africa.
pdf-fulltext (258 KB)

Rights versus Diversity? The Accelerated Extinction of Languages and Cultures as an Aspect of Current Globalization Trends
by Anthony Löwstedt
Language: English
abstract:  This paper starts from the assumption that linguistic diversity, and more generally, cultural diversity, are intrinsically good. I will look at their opposites, linguistic and cultural poverty, and the current tendencies towards the latter within the globalization process. I will also briefly explore the relationship between human rights and cultural diversity, which may be viewed as somewhat problematic, but the emphasis will be on what I consider the essential aspect of that relationship, namely, the mutually reinforcing relationship between rights and diversity, and between their opposites, human rights violations and cultural uniformity (cultural poverty). In this context, the issue of legislative protection and promotion of cultural diversity will be investigated from a global perspective. Finally, I wish to assess the roles of Africa and of Africanicity with regard to these issues.
pdf-fulltext (131 KB)

Security Thought in Africa in the Context of Global Ethics
by Jacob Emmanuel Mabe
Language: English
abstract:   There are few themes today that bear as much political significance as that of security. As a philosophical concept security is an ancient human ideal to which individuals as well as communities have constantly aspired. This paper focuses not only on thought about security issues in Africa in the context of global ethics but also on the rule of the new drums and bells, namely the modern informational media, for the diffusion of knowledge in Africa. Internet, mobile phone etc. are to be seen and accepted by Africans as an essential part of modern world culture.
pdf-fulltext (127 KB)

Implications of social justice for the pricing of information goods
by Shana R Ponelis
Language: English
abstract:  During the past few years information has increasingly become a commodity. As a commodity the atypical cost structure of information goods in competitive markets result in the price of reproduction of information goods tending to zero implying that market failure is highly likely. Intellectual property rights prevent such market failure by protecting the ability of creators and/or distributors to charge for information goods and as such serve to stimulate and support the creation of information. But information also plays a vital role in enabling people's human rights in their everyday lives and it is therefore of paramount importance that such information be accessible. Pricing of information is one of the main factors determining accessibility and pricing strategies should aim to maximise access not just profit and thereby contribute to a socially just world. This paper examines the nature and pricing of information goods and suggests differential pricing of information goods based Rawls' principles of social justice.
pdf-fulltext (115 KB)

What is this absence called transparency?
by Paul Sturges
Language: English
abstract:  Campaigners against corruption advocate transparency as a fundamental condition for its prevention. Transparency in itself is not the most important thing: it is the accountability that it makes possible. Transparency itself is, in fact, a metaphor based on the ability of light to pass through a solid, but transparent, medium and reveal what is on the other side. In practice it allows the revelation of what otherwise might have been concealed, and it is applied in a social context to the revelation of human activity in which there is a valid public interest. It can be applied to all of those who hold power and responsibility, whether that is political or economic. More accurate definition of the term, including distinctions between open governance, procedural transparency, radical transparency, and systemic or total transparency is important. Various ways in which an observer can make use of transparency to scrutinise the activity of others, including freedom of information laws, accounting and audit systems, and the protection of public interest disclosure (whistleblowing) also need to be distinguished from each other.
pdf-fulltext (132 KB)

Information Integrity in Africa: Exploring Information Corruption Issues
by Marsha Woodbury
Language: English
abstract:  This paper examines information integrity, with the premise that sound, dependable information enhances the values of the entire society. Several issues about information integrity of great concern to Africa are access to information, the right of individuals to correct records that are erroneous, accurate and culturally appropriate translations, and the standard of freedom of the press. The basis for this paper is human rights doctrine largely embodied in the ethical principals of the international informatics community.
pdf-fulltext (148 KB)

Marginalized Knowledge: An Agenda for Indigenous Knowledge Development and Integration with Other Forms of Knowledge
by Dennis Ocholla
Language: English
abstract:  The purpose of this paper is to re-examine Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in order to suggest an agenda for its development and integration with other forms of knowledge. The paper discusses what marginalization of IK mean, examines the challenges of integrating IK in the mainstream of other forms of knowledges and suggests agenda for IK development. The suggested agenda focuses on mapping and auditing IK capacity in Africa, legal and ethical issues, IK management, IK education and training, integration of IK and KM, IK brain drain. The paper recommends that information on IK be widely shared for evaluation, use and further development.
pdf-fulltext (279 KB)

Ethics in Deploying Data to make Wise Decisions
by T V Gopal
Language: English
abstract:  Way back in the 1980s corporations began collecting, combining, and crunching data from sources throughout the enterprise. This approach was widely accepted as a methodology that provides objectivity and transparency in decision-making. Good processing of the garnered data paved way for improved analysis of trends and patterns leading to better business and increased profit margins. Corporations began investing in collecting, storing, processing and maintaining enterprise wide data. The focus was always on the quality of data and the process of converting it into knowledge that enables right decisions. It was soon realized that a wide range of personal biases has an impact on the way decisions are made. The entire process is replete with ethical dilemmas. This paper provides a framework to understand the interplay of data, information, personal biases, ethics and decision-making. This approach is suitable for every individual, team, organization or a nation. Several years of turmoil in South Africa make it imminent for it to take a fresh look at the way data is transformed into knowledge. The leadership within South Africa has to arrive at wise decisions that can withstand the scrutiny of generations to come.
pdf-fulltext (129 KB)

The Ourobouros of Intellectual Property: Ethics, Law, and Policy in Africa
by Sandra Braman
Language: English
abstract:  Because law, policy, and ethics are multiply intertwined, developments in any one of these areas can affect what happens in each of the others. Thus those interested in African information ethics will find it valuable to examine trends in law and policy - and those concerned about legal trends should acknowledge effective leadership when it comes from the direction of ethical practices. Though African societies are almost always pictured as receivers of social, informational, and technological innovations that come from other sources, today many Africans are providing global leadership by developing innovative techniques for approaching the problem of information access. This article describes the context within which this is taking place, including a brief introduction to innovations in a number of areas, before looking in particular at innovations involving intellectual property rights that blend law, policy, and ethics.
pdf-fulltext (253 KB)

The Discourse of Identity in the Maghreb between Difference and Universality
by Jameleddine Ben Abdeljelil
Language: English
abstract:  The discourse of identity in the Arab context in general and in the Maghrebi context in particular is a modern phenomenon and is of central importance. In the Maghreb this discourse is related to modernization efforts, with the de-colonization struggle and its ideology, and with the nation-state-building genesis, process, and legitimisation after independence. A fundamental part in the developmental process of this discourse, therefore, is the difference from, as well as the non-negotiable and hegemonic presence of, the "Other". The evolution of a Maghrebi discourse of identity in this instance is a peculiar formation of consciousness or awareness with regard to a self-evident constancy, namely, the own identity, which had not been in doubt up to that point. From the challenging encounter with the western European hegemonic "Other" comes the necessity to bring forth such a discourse. The Difference is thus a fundamental aspect in the beginnings of the Maghrebi discourse of identity.
pdf-fulltext (81 KB)

African Women and the Internet
by Netiva Caftori
Language: English
abstract:  As the future of the Internet in Africa seems promising from an infrastructure point of view, the issue of the women of Africa should not be forgotten, in particular women who are already in academia who continue to struggle for equality despite their relative achievements. Women all over the world face similar hurdles and conflicts related to their gender, such as tenure vs. biological clock and shrinking pipeline. However the glass ceiling in the West is made of iron in Africa. One cannot yet aspire to reach the top. Luckily thanks to the Internet, women communicate with each other and African women as well are being heard. The Internet is serving them as a sound board and support in their struggles.
pdf-fulltext (138 KB)

AIDS and Culture: The Case for an African Information Identity
by Kendra S. Albright
Language: English
abstract:  The library and information profession in Africa is not well recognized. It does not carry an identifiable set of core activities that share a common understanding across societies in Africa. The number of libraries in Africa is limited for a variety of reasons including lack of resources, populations that are not based in print literacy, and having its roots in the British model of librarianship. HIV/AIDS continues to pose severe problems for Sub-Saharan Africa. Some countries in the region have successfully reduced the number of HIV/AIDS cases, citing information as the main source of prevention, presenting library and information professionals a unique opportunity to collectively organize and establish their role in the fight against the disease. This paper will discuss the opportunity for how LIS professionals engaged in HIV/AIDS information activities can develop and strengthen a positive status for the library and information discipline in Sub-Saharan Africa.
pdf-fulltext (520 KB)


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