BLOG POST: Filtering as a Political Tool – Abdul Al Lily

In Saudi Arabia, public access to the Internet was delayed until 1999, by which time an elaborate national system had been established to filter out any inappropriate and unwanted content. This filtering, irrespective of whether it is seen as a positive or a negative step, indicates a degree of political wakefulness by the authorities. Such wakefulness should clearly also be seen at the individual level. That is, individuals as cognitive beings need to be politically wakeful, practising a kind of filtering to sieve inputs and to shape them for their needs and interests.This filtering is crucial if individuals are to stay in a good healthy condition. That is, if individual citizens continue to act as consumers of information without applying any kind of filtering, they may end up being mentally unfit, suffering from information obesity and turning out to be merely politicised objects. Such filtering, which can be regarded as a kind of life-long learning, is an ongoing process of transforming information into knowledge and generating knowledge from within knowledge. Such filtering, which can be done individually, collaboratively and/or collectively at a micro and/or macro level, differentiates those fluent in ICTs from those who are merely ICT-literate. It is, moreover, a privilege of the upper class in an information society.

Personal filtering can conflict with wider filtering. Luckin, in speaking of the ecology of resources, suggests that the proliferation of ubiquitous and pervasive technologies necessitates looking beyond the resources officially available. The practice of choosing from this ecology is a type of filtering. In Saudi universities, however, choices seem to have been already made for members through what is made ‘officially available,’ imposing one way in which things are to be done. Blackboard, for instance, is what is official and readily available. This very accessibility may discourage members from taking the time and/or trouble to look beyond this official filter and select another resource. This may also discourage members from practising any kind of critical reflection and gradually transform them from professionals into merely practitioners.

Bibliography

One response to “BLOG POST: Filtering as a Political Tool – Abdul Al Lily”

  1. […] Lily, A. (15 October 2010) Filtering as a Political Tool, University of […]

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