Digital divide can hamper democratic process
Thursday, 12 September
WINDHOEK (NAMIBIA) : Malaysian delegate to the 48th
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) conference,
Dr Maximus Ongkili, has asserted that the digital
divide (DD) can have enormous political implications
on the democratic process in developing countries
if no concrete steps were taken to address the problem
a workshop on “The Digital Divide and the Threat of
Cyber-Terrorism” held as part of the 8-day Conference,
he said the long-term effects of DD on society were
not simply economic in nature but also political since
information and communication technology
(ICT) was increasingly affecting political decision
making and political process in many countries.
many developed countries today, legislators are increasingly
using ICT to communicate, disseminate information,
and interact with their electorate through the use
of e-mail, video conferencing, messaging system, digital
imaging, and e-learning.
and electorate that fail to use ICT for political
engagement will sooner or later be severely disadvantaged
thereby hindering the participation of the masses
in the political and democratic processes,” he argued.
48th CPA Conference attended by some 400
legislators and parliamentary officers from over 50
commonwealth countries is being held in the Namibian
capital of Windhoek over the
period 8-14 September.
conference was declared open by the Prime Minister
of Namibia, Theo-Ben Gurirab, on 8 September in a ceremony filled with glittering
cultural performances by Namibian indigenous groups.
who is Bandau MP, said developing countries could learn from the
experiences of Malaysia in addressing the DD problem..
the national government recognizes fully that DD is
a serious impediment to development and unless appropriate
actions are taken to mitigate it, many groups will
fail to share the benefits derived from the use of
this reason the Malaysian government, guided by its
National IT agenda (NITA), has been proactive in formulating strategies and action
plans to bridge the divide by focusing on specific
vulnerable groups in the country.
identified target groups are the indigenous people
and Sarawak, urban and rural poor, women and youth, and the aged and disadvantaged,”
who is also sole Sabah member
on the National IT Council (NITC) chaired by Prime
Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, further added that DD existed between the developed
and developing countries as well as between urban
and rural sectors in a given developing country.
stressed that effective DD redressal
proggrames would necessarily
include provision of basic ICT infostructure
to ensure connectivity and expansion of IT education
including the teaching of English in order for ordinary
people to access the information superhighway.