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Information society

Our goal is for all citizens in developing countries to have fair, easy and affordable access to information and communication tools. We are especially concerned that information and communication technology (ICT) projects should look beyond technology and logistics to ensure that they are socially inclusive and that they deliver services that meet the needs of poor communities.

We consider the pillars of an inclusive information society to be:

  • Political commitment in the form of regulators and inclusive policies
  • The private sector, which has a central role to play in rolling out ICTs
  • The participation of ordinary people in decision-making.

Our work currently focuses on developing new research methodologies that look at inclusion and exclusion in the information society, along with strategies to counteract the imbalances. For example, we are exploring the success of telecentres as spaces where the public can access the internet, telephone and other ICTs.

Panos London believes the benefits of new technologies should be distributed more widely and more fairly

Information society publications

ICTs and development in Zambia:
challenges and opportunities

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly important in achieving development goals and promoting citizen participation. Zambia is one of a number of countries in the Southern African region that have sought to include ICTs in their national development plans.

Research makes the news

Research into development issues is not an end in itself. If knowledge created by researchers is shared and debated publicly, it is more likely to be adopted by policymakers and practitioners. Too many research reports sit on library shelves gathering dust. Today there is growing recognition of the importance of research uptake.

Better connected – empowering people through communications technology

New communications technologies have the potential to improve millions of lives. But issues around access, ownership and cost may mean that relatively few individuals benefit. 

Common knowledge

All human development is based on the acquisition, spread and use of knowledge. But unequal access to knowledge can create injustice.

Banking, money transfers and ICTs

In this article an editor from Panos London offers some of the topics that you could explore in relation to banking, money transfers and ICT.

Women in the information society

Many policy-makers believe ICTs can help women overcome dependence on men by providing employment. Here a Panos London editor offers ideas of how to develop a story around the topic of women in information society.

Going the last mile

For many people, communication facilities are unreliable, slow and costly – and wireless technology could transform the situation.

Dollar divide, digital divide

Exploring the controversy surrounding the Digital Solidarity Fund, which aims to help bridge the digital divide.

Telephones and livelihoods

Are telephones important for development? This report describes the findings of a new study by leading telecommunications researchers, based on case studies in India, Mozambique and Tanzania. 

Who rules the internet?

Some argue that the current system of internet governance keeps the internet free and out of the hands of governments. But others say the system isn't transparent or accountable enough. 

Why calls in Africa cost more

A cheap and easy way of receiving satellite signals could revolutionise communication in remote areas of Africa. So why aren't governments rushing to adopt this new VSAT technology? 

Completing the revolution

Bridging the digital divide risks being undermined if basic telephone connectivity is not first made available.

Louder voices

Practical initiatives that give developing countries a louder voice in the international ICT decision-making process.

Information society blog posts & features

Q&A with Javie Ssozi of Uganda Speaks

Uganda Speaks gives Ugandans a platform to tell their side of the story as well giving people a chance to highlight stories of positive change. Founder Javie Ssozi spoke to Lilly Peel, about KONY2012 and about how mobiles and social media are giving people the power to tell their own story.

Media and governance: what the academics say

Two men read newspapers on the street of Lagos, Nigeria, on the day of presidential elections - Jacob Silberberg | Panos Pictures

Is there a link between the media and good governance? Development communications consultant and Panos London governing board trustee, Mary Myers, gives us a who’s who line-up of academics whose work gets to the heart of the matter.

Refugee turns web designer in world’s largest camp

Mohammed Bashir Sheik has never left Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee complex, but that hasn’t stopped him learning how to create and host websites, set up a small business and teach others how to use computers.

Headteacher faces down the Taliban

'Educate one girl and you educate a household' teacher Gul-e-Khandana saved her school from the Taliban - Muhammed Furqan | Panos London

Gul-e-Khandana, headteacher of a girls’ school in rural Pakistan, challenged the Taliban soldiers who came to destroy her school. Our journalist Rina speaks to her about the importance of educating girls.

Reframing Africa’s story

Panos London’s senior media advisor took part in a debate on the African Diaspora media. Panellists and the audience discussed the role the African Diaspora media has to play in challenging the traditional narrative of Africa as a place of war, poverty and hunger.

Can ICTs bring about social change in Africa?

The Arab Spring created a renewed buzz around the role ICTs and social media play in social change. Panos London’s Clodagh Miskelly and Tim Williams are attending a conference to explore how new technologies are being used in Africa.

Activist recognised for her work on oral testimonies

Bhan Sahu interviewing people in rural India - Stella Paul | Panos London

Great news – Bhan Sahu, our blogger from Chhattisgarh in central India, has been awarded a fellowship with the citizen journalism group CGNet Swara.

Gender equality in Rwanda from the grassroots up

Farmers with the fruit trees they have been given by the organisation SDA (Service au Developpement des Association) - Dieter Telemans | Panos Pictures

Women are rebuilding Rwanda from the grassroots to the highest tiers of parliament. Local journalist Didier speaks to grassroots leaders, university academics, schoolgirls and charity leaders to find out what has changed since 1994 and how they see their future.

Tunisia’s post-revolution media frustrated by lack of change

At UNESCO’s annual conference to mark World Press Freedom Day - Tim Williams | Panos London

Tim Williams travelled to Tunis to attend UNESCO’s conference marking World Press Freedom Day. He met dissident Bahraini bloggers and young Tunisian journalists, frustrated at the slow pace of change.

Primary schooling in Kenya – a parent’s dilemma

Margret Mukoma helps her daughter Michelle with homework - Adrian Gathu | Panos London

This from-the-ground feature explores the impact of corruption on the education system in Kenya, hearing local perspectives from home, from school and from the NGO sector.

Mexican law aims to halt journalist killings

TV journalist reporting from a crime scene. Ciudad Juarez is the most violent city in Mexico, and the epicentre of the war on drugs. In 2008, 2,000 people were murdered, an average of 5.5 murders a day - Teun Voeten | Panos Pictures

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist today. Siobhan talks to Peace Brigades International about the new law to protect human rights defenders and journalists.

Looking back on Chile’s year of protests

João Paulo Charleaux, who was based in Chile, followed the struggle of the Chilean students, covering their demonstrations, arrests, parties and endless rounds of negotiation with the government.

Delivering stories from the ground is crucial

Picture training at Panos - Anne Mireille Nzouankeu | Panos London

Read about what some of our journalists have to say about their experiences of writing for Europe and visiting national newspapers, as they reflect on the successes of the Linking Southern Journalists project.

Journalism can still be dynamic, thanks to social media

Purple and Armsfree chat with Swedish editors and discuss story ideas - David Dahmen | Panos London

“The growth of social media has helped established news organisations such as the Guardian, which we visited, make it possible for voices from other parts of the world to be heard amid the economic crunch.”

“I was filled with hope and ideas for new possibilities”

Ana Aranha speaks with other journalists from the Linking Southern Journalists project when visiting Panos London - David Dahmen | Panos London

“One could say it was a reaction typical from a journalist, but it took me a long time to believe the trip was true. I thought that being invited to meet editors from European newspapers – with all expenses paid – was just too good to be true.”

Linking Southern Journalists: Ana’s reflections

Ana Aranha (left) visits the office of El Mundo, who published several of her articles through Panos' Linking Southern Journalists project - Tia Jeewa | Panos London

Ana Aranha works as a freelance journalist and for the investigative journalism agency Publica, set up by former Panos London intern and journalist Natalia Viana. She joined the Linking Southern Journalists project in 2011, and spoke to Kate Ixer about her participation in the project.

Amazing success for controversial school

In the hallway between classes - Carolyn Drake | Panos Pictures

Maimoona rejoices as every one of the students in her school passes their exams – a rare accomplishment that is boosting their reputation.

Wellcome Trust supports ‘academic spring’

Kelly Green, Cancer Research Scientist at Cancer Research UK, Cambridge - David Rose | Panos Pictures

One of the world’s largest funders of science research has given its support to a growing campaign for publicly-funded research papers to be shared openly online.

The chance to perform

School girls dance and sing during music lessons at St. Theresa's School - Warrick Page | Panos Pictures

Maimoona discusses how the recent Annual Day celebrations in Pakistan have brought together local families and their children.

We are fighting a deep-rooted system of exclusion

A Dalit woman reads the programme at the 2006 Vanangana conference in Chitrakoot. Vanangana, a women's group dedicated to human rights issues, receives strong support from the Dalit community - Ami Vitale | Panos Pictures

Mary Madiga blogs about how she became involved in politics and her dedication to democracy.

We need to talk about our children

Students in the village of Panchkasi walk about 5km every day to get to the nearest government primary school - Zackary Canepari | Panos Pictures

As Maimoona laments another student whose education has come to an end prematurely, she reflects on the importance of teachers and parents communicating well for the benefit of the children.

Leadership is sometimes not an option, but a duty

Raghunathpur - Mary's village in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh state in India where she became the first Dalit girl to go to school - Stella Paul | Panos London

Our new blogger Mary Madiga, who was the first Dalit girl in her community to go to school, reflects on changing religion and being educated when social stigma was pushing against her.

Designing technology with girls in mind

Disadvantaged women and girls need to be involved in information technology from the design stage, says Clodagh Miskelly, who calls on ICT developers to make this happen.

Rebecca Namayanja: fisherwoman

Rebecca Namayanja at a local fish market - Kabangala Mohammed | Panos London

As part of the Breaking Barriers series, we spoke to Rebecca Namayanja, who is taking on the traditionally male-dominated job of being a fisherwoman in Uganda.

Earth summit’s special correspondent

Langston James Goree VI - photo courtesy of IISD

Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI, Director of IISD Reporting Services, talked to Tim Williams about the International Institute for Sustainable Development, communication technology and what room there is for marginalised voices in this forum.