Look into policies that can strengthen use of media to aid development, says PM
There is a need to look at policies that can strengthen the use of media and communication channels to enhance development especially in facing the new era of communication technologies, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The Prime Minister said with the explosion of media channels combined with the rapid growth of global networks such as the Internet, had dramatically increased their potential as an enabler for development. “They offer enormous opportunities for narrowing social and economic inequities and supporting sustainable wealth creation, and thus helping to achieve broader development objectives,” he said in his keynote address at the two-day Asia Media Summit here yesterday. His speech was read by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Abdullah said the new communication technologies could act as tools for efficient governance and greatly facilitate access to Government information and services. “However, poor networks and infrastructure remain a major stumbling block in addressing developmental problems. Many of our people do not yet have adequate access to these technologies,” he said. Thus, the traditional media - TV, radio and newspapers - was still relied on to fill the void, he added. Abdullah said while the country needed to invest in expanding broadband infrastructure, it also needed to ensure that its advantages were not limited to a select few. “We need to enhance workforce training to support employment and growth in the information and communications sector. Training is key to preparing our economies for the future,” he said. The Prime Minister said that it was by building a critical mass of human capital in the information and communications sector that a knowledge society could be developed. Abdullah said there was also the need to develop local content to remove linguistic differences which were substantial barriers to communication, and to help democratise access to information. Abdullah said communications technologies had an important role to play in helping nations cope with the present rapid increase in global food prices.