Monday 17 May 2021
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Recognising the role of the INTERNET in Access to information

There is no doubt that the Internet has revolutionized how information is accessed and availed to-date.
This adds to its renowned value that the Internet offers an opportunity for inclusiveness – to view the global community of its users as one while recognizing its rich diversity.
The Internet Technologies potential to avail information to the citizens lies within any search search bar.  This is so because of the fundamental reason that the Internet through its technologies has become a repository of all manners of information.

So how did the Internet become an integral part of information availability
In its formative purposes, the internet as a tool was created as a technological channel of communicating and sharing information from point to point, already in the 50s.
Over the time  and as it expanded and became commercialized to meet  human needs, the Internet could not and did not loose this primary function,  hence to-date the Internet is the primary source of information especially to those connected to it.
As the world celebrated, International Day for Universal Access to Information, On the 28th of September, thought I could reflect on few issues related to Access To information in the context of the internet.
1. Connectivity is primary and key in the quest for Access to Information
Hence, the call to ensure that everyone is connected and has equal opportunity to access all information available through a click of a button and in the palm of the hands
2. Access to information is a right. This is a right that has been acknowledged by the world at large and Namibia must not be left out. The internet as a medium of communication, and a tool hosting all sorts of information.
Through it humanity fosters all sorts of freedoms to express ideas, connect and associate with others, and exercise our human creativity and innovation.
These freedoms are essential elements of personal autonomy, dignity, and basic human rights. As a country we can no longer delay the passing of the Access to Information law, more than we have already done. This will enable users, researchers, students, the media and everyone to access information depositories available in this country that is currently is not shareable in the absence of an enforcing law

What does Access to Information mean within Internet provision and connectivity context
With connectivity entrenching the internet in every aspects of our lives  enabled by steady growth of Internet access globally – there is a need to ensure that websites especially local websites and other information repositories are easily accessible by all at an acceptable  downloadable speed
Access to Information within the Internet context also means the information is available to everyone including those with visual challenges – this would mean there is a need for Namibia websites need to heed the call to ensure that website information is also available for especially those with visually impaired challenges – true access is inclusivity.
Access to Information within our context as the Internet Society Chapter in Namibia calls  – that the information available from Internet sources of Namibian origin are available in the local languages for true accessibility. This is to ensure within the educational context that Namibians  in and out of the country have access to any local research, relevant to their work, to apply, modify, reuse and build on.
Access to information within the local context and the Internet perspective also means local research and information depositories are available for accessibility throughout the world – this is key in the knowledge society where Namibian knowledge is available for sharing throughout the world
True Access of Information then the also means accessing the Internet comes at an  affordable price as that is the mean to access  the information

Nashilongo Gervasius  is the President of the Internet Society Namibia Chapter. She holds a Masters Degree in ICT and the Knowledge Society. You can follow her on twitter @Nashilongo

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