n Innovation : journal of appropriate librarianship and information work in Southern Africa - Ethical issues of online social networks in Africa

Volume 2013, Issue 47
  • ISSN : 1025-8892



The African debate about information technology in general, and OSNs in particular, is a debate on African identities arising out of processes of mutual respect or disrespect, and also from the social capabilities, natural environments, histories and cultures of African peoples. It concerns questions such as: What are the cultural and historical conditions underlying this debate in Africa? What are the bad and good practices of OSNs in Africa to date? How do mass media in conjunction with OSNs and other interactive digital media influence social and political movements in Africa? What is the impact of OSNs in other countries and cultures outside Africa on African societies? And, last but not least, what are the ethical values at stake when African people develop and use OSNs? The paper addresses some of these questions. In the first part, a brief account of OSNs in Africa is presented. The second part deals with OSNs from a phenomenological and ethical perspective. In the outlook, the role of the Africa Network for Information Ethics (ANIE) and of the newly created Africa Center of Excellence for Information Ethics (ACEIE) at the University of Pretoria, is explained. Both are important platforms for building a teaching research community on information ethical issues in Africa.

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