Reposted from the Colombo Page
Sri Lanka today called on the strategists and regulators in the Information and Communication Technology field to study the areas where better regulation is required to advance the technology for the benefit people and societies without being abused.
Addressing the 12th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Colombo this morning, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the strategists and regulators in telecommunications and ICT to “think of ways to prevent this great technology being used to sow hatred.”
“ICT must not be the tool of societies that pay homage to material values and pay no heed to the values of decency, tolerance and humanity,” the President said in his opening address.
He asked the attendees to examine how to avoid the advances of instant communication being the source and cause of violence against faiths against cultures and traditions that need respect and protection.
Over 500 high-level international delegates from ICT policy-making bodies around the world are attending the GSR being held from October 2-4 at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo.
The participants will debate how to create the appropriate market conditions for the rapid proliferation of broadband networks across a range of different market types.
The symposium, chaired this year by Lalith Weeratunga, Chairman of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) and Secretary to the President, is intended to foster multi-stakeholder dialogue between regulators, industry leaders and other key ICT stakeholders.
President Rajapaksa was joined on the podium by ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Minister of Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Tissa Vitharana, Deputy Minister of Finance & Planning Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Director-General of TRCSL Anusha Palpita, and ITU Deputy-Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and Director, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau Brahima Sanou.
In his address to delegates from some 100 countries worldwide, President Rajapaksa said “Sri Lanka recognizes the need for rapid progress in the field of ICT, a technology that is racing ahead with innovations and new applications that make our world smaller each day. It opens pathways to progress to the people, breaking down the barriers of race, ethnicity, community, faith and geography.”
Highlighting the advances Sri Lanka has made in the past six years during which the rate of IT Literacy has grown to over 40 percent, the President said these advances have positively impacted on the rural sector and helped the overall growth of the economy of the island.
This also makes Sri Lanka a promising destination for investors in diverse sectors, from business outsourcing to industry tourism and agriculture, the President pointed out.
President Rajapaksa also revealed that Sri Lanka has set in motion a plan to develop a policy and regulatory framework for Next Generation Network or NGN and to have a National Broadband Policy before the end of this year.
“We see the importance of broadband connectivity through-out the land for our people to fully benefit from the speedy advances in ICT,” the President said.
Sri Lanka is constructing the tallest communications tower in South Asia to take country’s communication reach beyond the island, the President said adding that the facility will give telecom operators the opportunity to share a modern and state-of-the- art infrastructure facility taking Sri Lanka closer to be the Communications Hub of South Asia.
Speaking of new developments in the ICT sector, the President said a dedicated IT park is being built in Hambantota, in the deep South of Sri Lanka, where already other mega infrastructure facilities such as a port and an international airport are being built.
“With the assets we have in education, the recognition of skills, a readily trainable workforce and the search for new areas of competence among our youth, Sri Lanka will not be left behind in this new Age of Knowledge,” he said.
Speaking of the challenges to be addressed by this year’s symposium, Secretary Weeratunga emphasized the importance of ICTs to socio-economic development.
“This symposium brings together some of the stalwarts in the global telecommunications industry. Among them are inventors, academics, key industry players such as CEOs of large telcos, and of course the regulators who handle very tough situations in their respective countries. It is their thoughts, viewpoints and deliberations that will keep the entire symposium alive,” he said.
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