Teaching information ethics in Africa
An academic workshop on information ethics took place on 4 and 5 July 2011 at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. A number of delegates from universities in Africa, Europe and the United States of America gathered to discuss the principles related to the development of a curriculum for teaching information ethics in Africa.
The workshop was organized by the Africa Network for Information Ethics (ANIE) and sponsored by UNESCO, the University of Pretoria and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. The South African Department of Communications is another major stakeholder in the development of this new and exciting field in Africa.
The workshop in Pretoria was the fourth event dealing with ethical challenges posed by modern information technology in the African continent. Information ethics are crucial for building information and knowledge societies driven by critical reflection on values within the African context. There are opportunities, unique to the development of African societies, which need to be addressed in this context.
“Information ethics is a descriptive and emancipatory discipline dealing with the changes in the relationship between people, brought by information and communication technologies. A part of the problem is that the moral of society is confronted to various challenges brought by modern information technologies,” stated participants of the workshop.
During their deliberations delegates particularly highl
ghted that governments have an ethical responsibility related to the information rights of citizens, such as the right to access information or the right for privacy.
Other issues discussed included social media and ethics, information poverty and the impact of intellectual property rights on access to information.