PUBLIC ACCESS TO INFORMATION & ICTs PHASE II REPORT Malaysia
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In the past several years, the issue of providing equitable access to information has received an significant attention by various governments in order to bridge the digital gap in their countries and also use the information access as an important tool for reaching development goals. This report presents issues related to public access to information in Malaysia with angles on ICT and how the underserved communities benefit from various services offered in country. Malaysia seems to be a good example of a developing country taking the ICT as an important factor for development. In the last few development plans, he country placed a significant emphasis on investing in ICT and benefiting from the returns as a major contribution for the economic development. This emphasis has been at the core of development strategies and is received more attention than agriculture or manufacturing. As ICT is considered as a key enabler for development various projects have been developed in support of this. These projects constitute high level ICT based services and products that promote ICT investments and use in business and daily life. Good examples include multi‐media super corridor, various eTransformation and eGovernment projects, and investments in making electronic commerce part of the commercial activities. These projects are also aimed at making ICT widely available in all parts of the country and be used by the members of the population. A number of successful examples exist. Some of tehse are: • providing ICT based based education available to many via investing in ICT and education, • the enhancements of libraries in terms of distribution in the country, especially in rural areas and in terms of additional ICT based provisions 6 • Creating telecenters especially in rural and remote areas of the country in order to bridge the digital divide and in so doing increase the capacity of users and enable the to adopt various ICT services to conduct their normal daily lives. This report examines a number of initiatives making ICT available to citizens in all parts of the country and enabling them access to information for improving their lives. These initiatives are examined in terms of information access venues opened in the country in last decade or so. One of them is about libraries and the other one is iCommunity centers – basically telecenters that operate especially in the rural areas of the country. After presenting a country overview in terms of economical and political context, ICT investments, and issues related to the underserved citizens, the report presents a venue based analysis of information access in the country in terms of capacity, environment and potential uses. The report concludes with a summary of various findings, success factors and a number of recommendations.
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