Kia ora koutou
Please find below the website address and foreword info on the Digital
Review of Asia Pacific, a book I think will be a valuable reference for
anyone interested in ICT development in the region.
I'd appreciate it if you could encourage your libraries etc. to purchase a
copy. Visit the site for order details. We'll be working on a 2004/5
edition next year. (I covered NZ for this year's edition)
Please also forward to anyone else you think would be interested.
DIGITAL REVIEW OF ASIA PACIFIC LAUNCHED IN CONJUNCTION WITH PREP-COM-3 OF
THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY
Orbicom, PAN-IDRC, APDIP-UNDP and Southbound launched The Digital Review of
Asia Pacific 2003/2004 to mark the holding of the third preparatory
committee meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in
Geneva from 15-26 September 2003.
The publication reviews how information and communication technologies
(ICTs) are being deployed across the Asia Pacific to support socioeconomic
development of countries and territories in the region. It focuses on nine
* Local online content
* Online services
* Key national initiatives
* Enabling policies
* Regulatory environment
* Open source movement
* Research and development
The 2003/2004 edition covers 27 economies and includes a special chapter on
the Pacific Islands.
Parts of the publication are available for free download at
DIGITAL REVIEW OF ASIA PACIFIC
Riding the waves of change: Transforming the digital divide into digital
Maria Ng Lee Hoon
"The new communications era should not be perceived as a purely
technological phenomenon. Its ultimate impact is social and cultural,
although technological advancement is the key enabler. This new era invites
a change in social and cultural patterns."
Tengku Mohd Azzman Shariffadeen1 (1996)
The Digital Review of Asia Pacific aims to report on the state-of-practice
of ICTs in the region, on the innovative ways the new technologies are being
deployed to advance the socioeconomic development of Asia-Pacific countries
and on emerging attempts to transform the digital divide into digital
To take stock of the situation and elicit some of the future trends
involved, four organisations decided to come together on this initiative as
co-publishers of this volume: the Asia-Pacific Development Information
Programme (APDIP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the
Pan Asia Networking (PAN) Programme of the International Development
Research Centre (IDRC) and, the network of UNESCO Chairs in Communications
(ORBICOM) in close collaboration with Southbound. This publication is an
extension of the innovative editorial concept for the Pan Asia Networking
Yearbook published in the early years of the digital revolution by IDRC.
The readership we are aiming to serve includes all who work at societal
transformation through ICTs for development, including policy makers,
members of industry, ICT specialists and development practitioners both
within the Asia-Pacific region and on the international scene.
The authors participating in this initiative belong to the same diverse
constituencies as the target audiences and come from 27 economies in the
region, including areas for which almost no data was available until very
recently. The authors and members of the editorial board met in Kuala Lumpur
in November 2002 to conduct a peer-review process, which determined the
content of this publication and elicited the regional trends published here.
They also enjoyed the opportunity of taking part in a public forum at the
MIMOS headquarters while in Malaysia.
A choice was made by the participants of the Kuala Lumpur meeting for a
non-technology focus for this first edition of the Digital Review of Asia
Pacific to complement the existing body of literature devoted mainly to
connectivity, access and e-readiness issues, 2ensuring that this publication
meets the current critical need of reporting on how the region is deploying
ICTs for development.
A number of our contributing authors took part in the Asia-Pacific regional
consultation on the World Summit on the Information Society, and the series
of case studies presented here provide us with an impressive diagnostic of
the transition between the digital divide and the digital opportunities for
the countries covered. These diagnostics will be updated on a regular basis
via e-mail to registered subscribers. This publication will be followed up
by the 2004-2005 edition.
The case studies and the regional trends discussed in this edition present
us with a unique source of information by key scholars, members of the
industry and policy makers who are well established in their respective
countries. The chapters provide solid, well-grounded and nuanced
perspectives on current issues and challenges. They make a unique
contribution to ongoing national debates concerning endogenous development
and to regional and international debates leading to the two phases of the
World Summit on the Information Society of December 2003 in Geneva and
November 2005 in Tunis.
The regional trends provide us with the building blocks for a discussion on
the leadership needed to effectively deploy ICTs to achieve development
goals and about the different types of actors involved: national
governments, corporations, scholarly communities, civil society and donor
agencies. One of the weak links undoubtedly relates to the lack of
leadership within some technology and scholarly communities to strengthen
the response of the education system to the ICT revolution and to provide
leadership in the localisation of content.
A very young man, more than 40 years ago, presented a PhD dissertation
entitled Struckturwandel der Offentlichkeit ,3later published by Herman
Luchterhand Verl g (1962). One might consider, when reading the 28 essays
here, that we could expand on Habermas' analysis of the role of the press in
the creation of a new public sphere and consider that we are entering a new
communications era, with the technologies and the cultural and social
changes they induce, confronting us with a new type of public sphere, very
different from the traditional mass media, much more participatory in nature
and much more international.
Such a new set of dynamics, be it in Afghanistan or in Japan, Timor-Leste,
China or India, invites us to an unfamiliar way of riding the waves of
change. We still have to learn how to cope with these new dynamics and to
ensure that they allow for the realisation of the millennium development
1. Azzman Shariffadeen (1996). New Communications Era: Economic, Social and
Cultural Consequences for Developing Nations. In A. Goonasekara, Y.S. Beng &
A. Mahizhnan (Eds), Opening Windows: Issues in Communications . (pp.
104-12). Singapore: Asian Media Information and Communication Centre.
2. Dutra, S., Lanvin, B. & Paua, F. (Eds) (2003). The Global Information
Technology Report: Readiness for the Networked World . New York : Oxford
3. Habermas, Jurgen (Translated by Thomas Burger) (2000). The Structural
Transformation of the Public Sphere . Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 11th
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