Perspectives on digital divide : Internet usage and attitudes in Arusha, Tanzania, a minor field study

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Institutionen för kommunikation, teknik och design; Södertörns högskola/Institutionen för kommunikation, teknik och design

Abstract: This paper outlines the current situation of Internet usage and attitudes towards the Internet among ordinary people in Arusha, Tanzania, and examines the views of ordinary citizens on the effects of the arrival of Internet and the possible digital divide. Using qualitative interviews with equal groups of ordinary Internet users and ordinary non- Internet users in Arusha, the authors found varying levels of awareness about Internet services and facilities and their availability. There was also a widespread concern about immoral western influences communicated by the Internet and how it may affect the domestic culture. It was clearly shown that Internet usage and the possibility to utilize the information found is dependent on education levels and the economic situation of the users, two closely related factors. To get additional views on the subject interviews were also carried out with representatives for Radio and TV stations as well as newspapers located in Arusha, institutions for higher education in the ICT field, Internet providers, and Arusha Municipal Council. To examine the actual Internet usage we extracted random samples of visited websites in several of the Internet cafés, which most of the Arushans use to access the Internet. It was found that government action is necessary that the in order to bridge the digital divide, but as a result of systematic censorship of media government efforts meet a profound distrust among people, neither does the government consider this to be any of their responsibilities.

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