Digital Divide(s)

The “Digital Divide” entails the technological divide in which information access is inhibited in particular societies. As a result of this, more societies are technologically falling behind while others are dramatically moving forward. In Falling through the Net, we learn about how America has experienced growth in access to electronic services with households in rural, suburban and urban areas sharing a growth in the number of households who own PCs. That being said, the digital divide is still evident with income, race & origin, education, household type, age, religion and state all playing factors. It is important to realize that the concept of intersectionality when discussing the digital divide. The diverse demographics or the American household and family means that there are more factors surrounding the digital divide.

In addition, the digital divide connects to the topic of information access making it very relevant to my final project. In terms of addressing the digital divide in Africa, the “ICT Policy Centre for Eastern and Southern Africa” created a policy briefing called The State of Right to Information in East Africa. This briefing is included in my research and identifies the digital divide in relation to the Right to Information laws implemented in the Eastern African countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. As described in my review of relevant literature, only 13 out of 54 African countries have Right to Information laws (RTI). That being said, the countries with these laws have multiple issues in terms of overcoming restriction barriers in implementation.

In particular, these are the main facts behind the Right to Information laws in the following countries:  

  • Uganda: first country to pass an RTI law back in 2005
  • Rwanda: followed in 2013
  • Tanzania: published an RTI draft law in 2006 and nine years later in 2015
  • Kenya: published an RTI Bill in 2007, is yet to pass it into law, despite civil society pressure for government to fast-track adoption of the legislation
  • Summarize the legal provisions and restrictions to citizens’ right to information in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda