Having an access to information in this era is as important as having access to any other living resources. communities who do not have a wide access to information are certainly suffering to adapt to the changes that is happening in the world around them; they could die of diseases that could be cured easily, endanger the environment around them, and their ignorance could be easily exploited. The articles Information Equity & Digital Redlining, Access, and Privacy discuss the importance of having information equity and the effect of having limited access to knowledge respectively.
Information Equity represents the ability to have access to important information that could be easily comprehended to an individual or to a group of people. If people do not have access to this information, they could be easily missguided and manipulated. Bureaucratic systems are best known for limiting information access to their citizens in order to avoid objections on their governments decisions. This applies to our country Egypt, where certain websites that could make the citizens revolt are banned. nevertheless, our education system is based on nurturing conformity rather than questioning the facts; we are asked to repeat what the professor says and never question the things he says.
while the internet is considered to be the fastest and most important source to gather information from, having access to the internet is more common to the developed communities than the developing ones. For instance, about 50% of the Egyptian community do not have access to internet services whatsoever. This is due to the fact that the internet service and the devices that connects people to the internet ( phones, computers, tablets, etc.) are relatively expensive to some citizens. However, during a plan to increase the access to internet in Egypt, the government decided to provide students with free internet access in public schools.
In the article Digital Redlining, Access, and Privacy, we could see how limited access to internet could affect students; the students who are not permitted to use the internet in a free matter – regardless what is the content they are searching for- are deprived from the chance to learn things beyond what the school provides. moreover, having limited access to the internet could increase the racial and social discrimination between citizens. for instance, in our university we are asked to choose the topics we want and do our research on them, while in public universities the students are simply being spoon fed by their professors. In addition, we have access to computer labs and the library which has internet access and computer devices we could use freely without the university denying any access to information, while in public universities students do not have access to internet. This would make us have a higher advantage in the work environment than other public schools students. similarly, private schools in The United States have an advantage over the public ones due to their free access policies.
The availability of information is another thing that was discussed in the article Information Equity. unfortunately, our community does not value information the way the should. The availability of Arabic studies or studies that are on the MENA region is very limited and rare; for instance, I tried few days ago to make a research on the sunglasses market in the MENA region and I could not find any information that was useful. In addition, we do not have the democratic space where citizens could gather information from officials and have discussions with them the way the citizens were able to do so in the article.
To conclude, I must say that these articles tackle two interrelated problems that must be addressed more seriously in our community. We must recognize that having access to information is no longer a luxury, but it is more of a living necessity.