Information Communication and Technology for Development (ICT4D)

Distinguish guests in the seminar on "The Use of Information Communication and Technology for Development (ICT4D)” Phnom Penh: On June 29, 2013 at Sunway Hotel the National League of Communes/Sangkats in the collaboration with Khmer Youth and Social Development, Cambodia Center for Independent Media, People Health Development and Open Institute to held a seminar about "The Use of Information Communication and Technology for development (ICT4)". These organizations hoped to provide a platform for dialogue on development and democracy through this seminar in order to show the results of two prior forums; One of these forums was called "Youth and Election 2013" and the other was "Youth Role in Strengthening Local Development and Local Governance". This seminar also aimed to open up an exchange of experiences and the achievements of the one year project ‘Dialogue on Development'. Forty six participants , 18 of which were females, attended the seminar including commune/sangkat councilors from Battambang, Siem Reap, Kandal, Phnom Penh, representatives from NGOs, ministries and media.
Ms. Chim Manavy, the Executive Director of The Open Institute, emphasized that " Having quality information and communication leads to a good social development. Besides depending on the ICT, it is important to have an understanding about the community development, poverty, agriculture, health and a fundamental education. Information Communication and Technology for Development (ICT4D) is a tool for working with and helping the poor especially in the developing countries to alleviate the poverty; And it is also a supplementing tool for the NGOs, government and private sectors to use in order to promote their development project and improve the economic and social situation for the poor. ICT4D refers to computer, mobile phone, radio, TV, CD, camera digital, and online documents and so on.
Dr. Raymond Leos, a Member of Board of Directors of the Open Institute and Independent consultant of Access to Information, showed that there is a relationship between the problems incurred in Cambodia and access to information. He mentioned that access to information contributes to the development of the country through the flow of free information especially the information from the public institutes. It is very vital to ensure the security of the democracy and to promote as well as disseminate information to gain the people's participation. He continued by stating that the experts proved that a free flow of information can create a culture of the open information, transparency so as to prevent corruption.
Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, the Executive Director of Cambodian Defenders Project, presented about the legal aspects of a system of free flow of information in Cambodia. He mentioned that in order to get the full active participation in politics, economy, society and culture as stated in article 35 of the Cambodian constitution transparency is required. Accordingly, citizens are entitled to have access to all information possible and the state has an obligation to provide it in order to promote freedom of expression. If there is only information and the freedom of expression is not available, it is not considered as the full participation in the politics, economy, society and culture. Therefore, access to information, freedom of media and freedom of expression are the key elements of democracy. He further added that in the article 31 of the Cambodian constitute it is stated that Cambodian people have freedom of expression, media, promotion and gathering. However, the constitution goes on to state that the person cannot take the opportunity to harm the right of other person, tradition, society, public and national security thereby limiting the scope of their freedom of speech.
Mr. Buth Chik, Project Manager of Demand for Good Governance Project, presented about strengthening partnering mechanism to promote access to information in Cambodia. He said that through the Ministry of Interior his organization is working closely with the sub-national administrative levels of the government (provincial level, district and khan level). He then acknowledged that the use of ICT in the sub-national level is still limited. This seminar allows the participants to reflect on the means of sharing the information from the Demand for Good Governance Project and mainstreaming ICT to share the information in the sub-national level. He emphasized that the use of ICT is very important to promote the transparency and accountability of the information dissemination even though it is a bit far from meeting all the demands for ICT usage in the sub-national levels.
All the achievements of the Dialogue on Development will be duly shared with the community within a year. (for Khmer please read