Access to information
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the importance of connectivity in staying informed has become more evident than ever. As this recent webinar makes clear, 5G is not conducive to reaching those who are currently disconnected, but will probably instead further the digital divide.
In these exceptional times, APC wishes to send our solidarity and appreciation for connecting with us. While we are distancing ourselves physically, we continue to stay closer than ever to each other and share tools and resources as well as support.
In response to the rapid adoption of video conferencing technologies for court proceedings, KICTANet has submitted a series of recommendations to the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya to deal with the challenges involved in moving open court procedures to virtual sessions.
The Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) warns of the proliferation of COVID-19-related fake news on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as other ways in which misinformation is spread in rural areas.
The internet is the primary source of information on the global COVID-19 pandemic. But Arakan in western Myanmar is currently experiencing the longest-running internet shutdown in the world, and the lack of access to information could put an already vulnerable population in a dangerous situation.
APC joined the #KeepItOn coalition and 41 international rights groups from around the world in an open letter urgently calling on the government of India to restore access to 4G high-speed internet access as a first step towards the containment of the COVID-19 virus and related health needs.
APC joined dozens of other organisations and researchers to call on social media companies to enable future research and analysis about the “infodemic” side of COVID-19 by preserving information about what their systems are automatically blocking and taking down.
The open letter, signed by APC and other civil society organisations, emphasises the fundamental importance of ensuring transparency and adequately assessing the human rights impact of any public-private partnerships that the UN may enter into, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While social media sites tend to respond slowly or not at all to misinformation on their platforms, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many have taken steps to address and stop the spread of misinformation, as well as to steer users towards reliable sources of information and support.
Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE), an APC member organisation in Bangladesh, argues that an inclusive approach featuring all sectors of society is required to beat COVID-19.