By Patrick J. Brunet, Marie-Claude Vettraino-Soulard
Ethics and the net in West Africa
The complete global is at the moment present process a interval of profound switch caused by way of the advance of the global info and communications community, the web, which impacts each sphere of social existence. This booklet focuses in particular on moral questions relating to using the web in West Africa. It examines the style within which the unfold of the net in Africa increases critical moral concerns; matters that are supposed to be pointed out to make sure that, sooner or later, the variation and integration of net expertise can be appropriate with the advance of Africa.
The learn in the back of this publication which was once conducted through box surveys, specializes in 5 international locations in West Africa: Anglophone—The Gambia and Ghana, and 3 Francophone—Burkina Faso, Cote d’Iviore, and Senegal. for every county, a portrait of web users’ moral behaviors was once effectively created. The booklet demonstrates how the web, by means of advantage of its content material and expertise, is developing an upheaval within the perform and modes of communique inside of African groups. The e-book concludes with a proposed moral version for the assimilation of the web which can function a reference for improvement regulations in all of the respective nations surveyed and, extra greatly, all through Africa.
This paintings is the results of a examine undertaking initiated by way of the Dakar workplace of Canada’s overseas improvement study Centre (IDRC), in collaboration with Ottawa University’s division of verbal exchange.
A Co-publication with IDRC.
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Extra resources for Ethics and the Internet in West Africa: Toward an Ethical Model of Integration
In modern Africa, the nature of information transmitted varies according to the recipient. This goes far beyond Northern notions of style of address. For example, a student would never address a teacher in the same manner as a schoolmate but would use a far more formal style, because the teacher may use the interaction to assess the student. In African societies, it is the content of communication, as well as the tone, that is important. The information reported to a father, uncle, or big brother is not the same as that reported to a wife or daughter.
Real society comprises 99% of the population. It develops its own reference points: it has its own support structure and leaders of opinion. It does in fact influence official society, or else the latter would be a dictatorship. Instead of being a unifying force in a context such as this, the Internet becomes a tool for keeping people at a distance. This leads us back to the responses to the first issue in this chapter, concerning privileged access. However, according to most informants, the media are considered "relatively free" in Burkina Faso.
The philosophical viewpoint underpinning these positions differs from that ceaselessly advocated by champions of the communal use of the Web and the collective responsibility for it. In fact, these two suggestions are complementary and correspond to two separate stages in the user's adoption of computers and the Web. To advance use by the general public and use by culturally or financially disadvantaged people, nothing works better than a communal arrangement. For people who have the hardware and are able to work independently, individual use is perfectly feasible.