President tells Global Symposium: ICT should harmonize with values

12 th Annual Global Symposium of ITU Regulators at the Colombo Hilton

The wonders of ICT should not alienate our children from what is best in their culture and traditional values, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday.

He said it should also not be a tool to sow hatred and which pays no heed to the values of decency, tolerance and humanity. The President was addressing the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) 12th Annual Global Symposium of Regulators in Colombo.

“It is timely that this Symposium with focus on ICT takes place the day after the International Day of the Child. Because it is technology that has great attraction and meaning to children. ‘It can take their thinking and skills to new heights of achievement. It can promise them a great new world of ideas and innovation.

“But, it can also lead them to dangerous influences which draw them away from tolerance and towards extremism of many kinds. It is a technology that needs to be handled with great care imposing much more duties and responsibilities on parents in the guidance of their children.

“The wonders of ICT should not alienate our children from what is best in their culture and traditional values,” the President emphasized.

The President also referring to the audience to the events of recent weeks said he believed that they would think of ways and means of preventing this great technology being used to sow hatred.

“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.”

He said 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. He said the ICT sector stands out in the progress made by Sri Lanka in the past seven years and accelerated in the three years since the defeat of terrorism. Our emphasis on communication as a key path to peace and reconciliation can be seen by the speed with which we restored the communications tower in Kokavil in the North destroyed by the terrorists. This opened speedy communications to the area most damaged by them. Two weeks ago, we also linked the entire North, earlier ravaged by terrorism, to the national power grid, which will add to the progress of telecommunications and ICT in this region.

He said Sri Lanka recognizes the need for rapid progress in the ICT field, 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.

The President said Sri Lanka’s IT literacy has grown to over 40 per cent within the past six years, with the opportunity very soon for every school to have state-of-the-art computer training facilities. These advances have positively impacted on the rural sector and helped the overall growth of the economy. This also makes Sri Lanka a promising destination for investors in diverse sectors, from business outsourcing to industry, tourism and agriculture.


Courtesy: Daily News