Measures for Reducing Digital Exclusion in Lithuania: Target Groups and Application Results
Keywords:digital divide, information society development programs, measures for reducing digital divide, Lithuania
Adapting information and communication technologies (ICTs) to countries' development is one of the important criteria for economic and social progress and public policy priorities. However, implementing this ambitious concept faces social inequalities in the use of ICT, or digital exclusion. Lithuania has several decades of experience in utilizing the potential of ICT in managing strategic initiatives. Studies on the development of information society and digital exclusion show that attention is being focused on reducing the digital exclusion, but there is a lack of detailed analysis of the measures applied, the results achieved, the impact on specific social risk groups. The aim of the paper is to assess the strategic priorities and specific measures in Lithuania for reducing digital exclusion. The state approach to the digital exclusion is explored through qualitative and quantitative analysis of document content, which allows focusing only on the issue of digital exclusion reflected in them. The sources of this research data are Lithuanian strategic information policy documents. The most visible and consistent solution to the digital exclusion in Lithuania is the physical availability of ICTs in the regions. Significantly less is the problem of the digital exclusion associated with motivation, ability, and opportunities to benefit from ICT disparities. The priorities and directions of the Government and non-governmental organizations are very different in this area. In spite of the high level of gaps in the data found on analyzing the results and achievements of government-EU NGO programs and projects, the research presents some insights for future digital exclusion reduction programs and projects.