Have you been in a situation where you are left with wishing you had known about something, earlier or not?
With this particular “something” being capable of saving you from some situation that could have been avoided?
Accessing that particular piece of information should have happened, yeah?
How you wish you had access to that information much earlier!!!
If only you had known earlier, you would be at peace now, wouldn’t you?
If only you had been told about it, you wouldn’t be as “disorganized” as you are now?
If only I had been “too informed for…., this wouldn’t have happened”!
So, this year around, we happen to have the International Day of Universal Access to Information…
Yeah….don’t shoot me;
I only got to know of this day, a few hours ago, best believe me!
Having had a discussion, on Twitter over the weekend about this very day and focal topic of discussion being, “Access To Information to bring about Peace for Youth”.
If you look at the title of this blog post you are reading and are Ugandan,
I want you to know that I see you smiling and grinning and huffing away
Because you know exactly what that phrase means, don’t you?
I want to ask you these questions, first, before we can go any further, yeah?
- What is peace?
- What is information?
- What is access?
- What is youth?
- What is peace, to you?
- What is information, to you?
- What is access, to you?
- What is youth, to you?
Getting your brain around each and every one of these questions, is very important in understanding how powerful it is, for you to have access to information.
You literally have the entire world in your hands
But on a much better base….you are able to choose from a wider net of options and alternatives as you make choices and decisions about the life you are living!
I don’t know how the situation is, with accessing information in your location and community
But here in Uganda, it just keeps on getting much harder and harder
Two years ago, we had a very bad tax imposed on us by the central government, infamously called the “Over-The-Top” tax aka “OTT”
I, for one, don’t know why this happened and I guess it will never make sense to me
For a number of reasons….
- My resentment and dislike for the government grew and spiked, sharply. Erecting a barrier like this, for me to be able to freely access information over the Internet meant I had and have to dig deeper in my pockets and those of my clients, which wasn’t the case before. All that, is on top of the crazy prices for the available Internet bundles that I have to buy myself. Now, I am told that there is a special kind of OTT coming our way, specifically designed and made for those people in Uganda, utilising their Facebook and have a very large following….imagine this? The Internet is the last place for so many young people around me, like me, to be free with themselves….but alas! Here we are, in 2020!!!
- I became more mistrustful of the central authority. That is to say, they released figures and statistics of how much this tax was actually collected but because of their lack of credibility that has been on, for a very long time, I couldn’t even trust them without being skeptical!
Among so many other reasons….. I would like to hear your reasons.
Over the weekend, at that Twitter chat I told you about, Akiteng Isabella put this question to us and it left me thinking about so many things, differently….
“The discussion on #AccesstoInformation may be viewed as for the middle-class citizen. How do we ensure that irrespective of varying inequalities, all can access information?”
Many times, we young people feel left out of discussions, arrangements and realities such as this, which leaves us very angry, upset and desperate for something better, correct?
Which is very true, most of the time….
At the same time, we must be a part of this discussion by any means….
So, I get to ask you now; are you accessing information?
How are you accessing information?
To you, the person creating content
Do you have that final consumer, at heart and in your plan of putting out this information? By that, I mean the consumer that can’t access the information in the way you would want them to, huh?
Is it information that is easily understood by a one me who is blind and can’t speak?
Is it content that you are so proud of sharing with the rest of the world?
Is there particular pieces of information you would like to access?
Do you feel choked by the government, when it comes to access to information?
Is there anything you feel, think and know can be done to change this?
Are you “too informed for life”?
Ps. Information is power!!!! That said, all the images used here aren’t mine but belong to respective owners, extracted from their blogs and websites. I have also, tagged them, in the respective images of theirs that I have made use of here!