access to information
Though Africa has developed several normative frameworks and legal instruments defining democratic elections, the wider dissemination of relevant information during the electoral process remains a challenge, putting the credibility of the process into question.
On Wednesday 13 January 2021, the eve of Uganda’s general elections, Uganda’s communications regulator UCC ordered telecoms operators and internet service providers in the country to suspend all internet gateways until further notice.
Shivkumari, an Internet Saathi from Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, is currently producing 300 masks per day and supplying them to the local hospitals. At the time of writing, she had received an order for 16,000 masks from a government hospital, out of which she has delivered 2,500.
Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, health recommendations need to be conveyed to communities in remote areas that are separated both by distance and by the minority languages they speak. One medium that can be used to convey public messages is through song.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are resorting other measures that may have the incidental effect of concentrating power to a few, providing an opportunity for authoritarian leaders to consolidate the government’s might in order to stifle some essential freedoms.
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.
There is a need to balance the use of technology with human rights in response to the pandemic. Otherwise, we might risk losing the rights and freedoms we had steadily gained over many years.
While COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, there is growing concern that critical messages about the disease that are disseminated by health authorities, telecom companies, and broadcasters are not reaching persons with visual and hearing impairments.
In a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that people are able to obtain information that will help them stay safe and aware of an evolving situation, and initiatives like these are crucial for reducing the traditional barriers to information that prevent global access.
Access to the internet and ICTs can often be about creating and finding surprising opportunities and uses. If women are familiar with smartphones and able to use them, then this is one way of ensuring that the next generation of girls are also able to access and adopt technology.