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SOIS Aids UNESCO with Information Ethics Workshop

The School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh  partnered with the International Center for Information Ethics (ICIE), the University of Pretoria and the South African Government to design and implement the first Information Ethics and e-Government High Level Executive Seminar, a three-day ethics seminar and training workshop, led by UNESCO as part of the Information for All Programme (IFAP) in February 2009.

Building on the outcomes from the African Information Ethics Conference held in Tshwane, South African two years earlier, the seminar and workshop continued the work of an international group of information ethics scholars, including SOIS Dean Johannes Britz, Toni Carbo from the SIS at the University of Pittsburgh (now at Drexel), as well as Rafael Capurro from the ICIE. The events focused on the role of information ethics in providing government information and services and how this crucial component impacts continental efforts to build an inclusive information society in Africa.

Seminar and workshop participants—nearly 40 in all—traveled from across the continent, from such countries as Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Eritrea, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Union of the Comoros and Zambia to discuss strategies for ensuring information policy and access efforts are centered on people and development. According to Johannes Britz, this was the first ever workshop dealing with the ethical challenges of implementing e-Government in Africa and follow-up workshops are planned. Toni Carbo stated: “This pioneering work successfully brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences to address key ethical issues and fundamental values related to the provision of e-government at all levels.”

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