Friday, November 09, 2007

The need for MPs to have their own websites

I have been following with interest the feedback from the general public since the launching of the Ambunti-Drekikir website ( in September this year.

Since the launching of the website, there have been letters from far and wide in The National, particularly from people who said they couldn’t access the site.

The problem, as was later pointed out in an explanatory letter, was that the spelling in the newspaper story was wrong.

I was one of those who entered the wrong spelling on Google vainly looking for the website, but when I got the spelling right, I was able to access the website.

There was also a letter from a government officer claiming that he and his colleagues were not acknowledged on the website for all the planning work they did for the Ambunti-Dreikikir district of East Sepik province.

That all added to the hype generated by since it was launched by local MP and Correctional Services Minister Tony Aimo.

And the great thing is that rural Ambunti-Dreikikir – at a cost of only K10, 000 - now has global exposure as it tries to sell itself to the world as a potential tourist destination.

This “bush” area has been like the proverbial tortoise and beaten many of our “town” electorates to have its own website.

Ambunti-Dreikikir District is one of the six districts within East Sepik Province.

Dreikikir sub-district covers and is located wholly on mountain area.

Ambunti-Mayama covers the Sepik flood plains and mountains in the Hunstein Range/Frieda and Waskuk Hills.

It takes 45 minutes to travel by Cessna 206 aircraft from Wewak to Ambunti/Mayama and eight to 10 hours if you chose to travel by road or river.

The website features almost anything from the district and East Sepik province generally including its cultures and traditions, youth activities, development projects, cash crops, as well as the lifestyle of the people.

Okay, the website isn’t that fancy, however, all credit must go to Mr Aimo for being a visionary leader in this increasingly-globalised world, in which a massive Information Revolution is taking place as economies use Information and Communication Technology (ICT), as a passport to what economists call the “New Economy”.

Mr Aimo said at the launch that the Internet was the latest and most-convenient medium as an avenue to acquire maximum global exposure and publicity.

He said his district was considered as a “least-developed” in the country and his people could not sit back and wait for “miracles to happen” but to move forward with the available resources through aggressive promotion and awareness.

Mr Aimo said this was also one way for his district to seek assistance from overseas investors and donors for the district to continue being developed.

“Major corporate organisations worldwide are turning to the Internet as an alternate and effective marketing tool,” he said.

Mr Aimo said his district was now using the Internet to its advantage.

He also described the website as a way in which his people could move on with the changing times into the future as the Internet had exploded on to the global marketplace as a powerful business tool.

Our MPs should realise that we no longer live in an age of typewriters, telex machines, faxes and phones.

Computers, email and the Internet, as well as mobile phones are the way to go.

In the near future, as wireless networking (Wifi) comes into play in Papua New Guinea as in other countries, newspapers, radio and television may also become obsolete.

Each of our 109 MPs should have their own website to share information with their good voters, the people of Papua New Guinea and the rest of the world.

I’m sure they all have the money to hire a good writer who can also serve as a photographer and webmaster to develop and update the website.

Government departments, statutory organisations, non-government organisations, sporting teams, provinces, villages, families, individuals, and many more should also be looking at seriously building their own website if they don’t already have one in this rapidly-globalising world.

It is, however, quite ironic that the ICT monopoly in Papua New Guinea held by Telikom, and fiercely protected by our government and MPs, is a major deterrent to the development of ICT in this country.

Papua New Guinea will continue to remain light years behind the rest of the world if we do not jump on the ICT bandwagon in this globalised world.

The digital divide within PNG is an enormous barrier to the ability of the people to participate in and benefit from the digital economy.

Access to Internet, adequate infrastructure, human capacity building and appropriate policies on ICT are central issues in addressing the digital divide.

Success in this globalised world is predicated on ICT knowledge and successful knowledge-based economies will be based on the efficient and widespread use of ICT by all sectors within any given country.

If they are not ICT-savvy, they will not receive the benefits of globalisation and they will be left behind the rest of the world

•For feedback and comments, email or SMS 6849763.

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