|Tuesday, 13 January 2004|
A two day World Summit on the Information Society held recently in Geneva declared that governments worldwide, the private sector, civil society and the United Nations and other international organisations had an important role and responsibility in the development of the information society.
The meeting was the first phase with the participation of 177 member states under the UN General Assembly.
The theme of the conference was 'Building the Information Society for all: A global challenge in the new millennium'.
The conference has also recognised the special role of media in building a people centred Information Society where everyone can create access, utilise and share information and knowledge.
This will enable individuals, communities and people to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life. Sri Lanka was represented at this World Summit by a special delegation of experts headed by Tilak Ranaviraja, Secretary, Ministry of Mass Communication and the Chairman, Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
Ranaviraja said that because of the consistent policies adopted by the successive Sri Lankan governments to provide free and equal health and educational facility to all citizens. Sri Lanka ranks 89 out of 173 in UNDPS Human Development Index.
He opined that the bold step taken by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to privatise the state monopoly in the field of telecommunication resulted in securing of strategic investment by telecommunication giant in Sri Lanka.
While emphasising the need to bridge the gap of the digital divide he elaborated on the action taken by the government of Sri Lanka in this spheres.
Presently only 60% of the households have the electricity and the arrangements are under way to expand electrification scheme to cover more rural areas and to make available the telecommunication services by way of cable network or wireless loop system.
Provision of easy access to computer related components has also contributed to gap this digital divided, he declared.
In conclusion he said that the ICT could be used to increase access to information thus improving transparency and accountability where it could play a significant role in enhancing good governance and democracy in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka delegation which attended the summit included Themiya Hurulle, Director General of the Sri Lanka Telecom Regulatory Commission, Manuja Haththotuwa, Thayaparan Ponniah and Dilantha Withanage of Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka, Prasad Kariyawasam and Suggeswara Gunaratne of Sri Lanka's Permanent Mission in Geneva.
Produced by Lake House