Thursday, April 14, 2005

Workshop on “Development Implications of the Diffusion of Information Technology”


Workshop on
“Development Implications of the Diffusion of Information Technology”
Chennai, India, November 4 & 5 2005


Jointly Organised by The Media Development Foundation, The Hindu and The Economic Research Foundation
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The performance of India’s information technology industry is widely held up as an example of the significant and positive effects on economic development of the ICT revolution, both for India’s domestic economy and for India’s position in the international economic order.

Domestically, the IT revolution is expected to have both direct and indirect growth-inducing effects. Directly, the IT sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to rise to 8 per cent and its share in exports to about 30 per cent by 2008. Indirectly, the new technologies and the accompanying falling costs of computing power, data storage and information transmission is expected to transform productive capacities and organisations in almost all sectors, in the process raising productivity, increasing investment and hence spurring GDP growth.

Internationally, the rapid expansion of IT output, employment and exports in countries like India is (optimistically) seen as the basis for a redistribution – at the margin – of the benefits of globalisation to the developing countries. IT growth could make the distribution of world income more egalitarian, provided the technological barriers to the entry of small firms, particularly firms from developing countries, are low.

It is often presumed that entry barriers are indeed low compared to non-ICT sectors because of the following features of the two principal components of the sector:

· In downstream hardware production: (i) the knowledge base for innovation is in the public domain and can be easily transmitted across countries; (ii) levels of investment are lower and less “lumpy” than in non-IT manufacturing sectors; and (iii) products are more “heterogenous”, consisting of varying combinations of sub-systems, components and peripherals.

· In software production: (i) knowledge is easily acquired; (ii) innovations are easily replicated; and (iii) capital requirements are small.

Furthermore, it is argued that there are factors that stimulate the spread of ICT (and of software development and services in particular) to developing countries, including: (a) the availability of cheap skilled labour in developing countries such as India; and (b) the shortage of software professionals in the OECD countries.

If these arguments are valid they are extremely significant for two reasons. First, ICT sector growth may be one of the few viable ways to raise employment in labour-surplus countries such as India, where labour absorption in many non-ICT sectors (agriculture and manufacturing) appears to have reached saturation levels in many parts of the country. Second, the export growth (of hardware, software and IT-enabled services) accompanying the ICT sector growth can be an effective means to reduce balance of payments vulnerability, which has been a crucial constraint on development and is even more so in today’s globalised world..

Workshop concerns

The workshop would seek to assess these arguments based on an examination of the diffusion of information technologies and the growth of the IT sector in both developed and developing countries. It would use the comparative experience with ICT-sector development in the US, Europe and India to examine three specific and interrelated questions. First, how valid is the hypothesis that unlike the old industries based on “routinised” technologies in which barriers to late entry were substantial, especially for developing countries, the IT sector is in large part an “entrepreneurial” industry in which the nature of technology is such that cross-border diffusion is easy, quick and sustainable, with attendant implications for international inequality? Second, is the observed comparative experience with cross-border diffusion such that we can expect the growth of the ICT sector itself to be rapid and sustainable, with positive income, employment and balance of payments effects? Third, is the transformative impact of the IT sector on productivity and competitiveness in the rest of the economy likely to to be substantial? If so what, impact would this have for “net” employment generation since the gains in employment in the IT sector could be partly neutralised by the employment losses associated with the IT-induced gains in productivity in the rest of the economy?

Workshop sessions would focus on the following themes:

(1) The “ICT Revolution” in the US

-- Competition, consolidation and monopoly: The evolution of IT in the US.
-- Horizontal diffusion of the IT into non-ICT manufacturing, agriculture and services and the implications for system-wide productivity and growth.
-- The implications of IT stock booms and telecom bubbles in recent stock market history for the real economy?

(2) ICT Diffusion and Development in Europe

-- The extent of, the constraints to and the ease of cross-border diffusion of ICT into late-entrant developed countries.
-- The extent of horizontal diffusion of information technology and the implications for system-wide productivity
-- ICT diffusion and the structural transformation of economies in the EU

(3) ICT Diffusion and Development in Asia

-- The extent of, the constraints to and the ease of cross-border diffusion of IT into late-entrant developing countries.
-- The extent of horizontal diffusion of information technology and the implications for system-wide productivity
-- IT and IT-enabled exports as growth engines


i. The current and future implications of outsourcing.

(4) ICT Diffusion and the Service Economy

i. IT, services and the new capitalism
ii. The outsourcing wave and its implications

(5) ICT, Convergence and the Media

-- Digital Capitalism and the Media Monopoly

(6) ICT and human development

-- The “external” human benefits of ICT-based growth.
-- Could enhanced (vertical) ICT reach improve governance, make the state more citizen-friendly, empower the poor and ensure the better delivery of improved social services?

From: Sashi, Chennai

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hooking Children to TV (Malaysia)


Nat/ACN/April2005

A common sight in Malaysia...watching (American) cartoon programmes. To keep children occupied, very often parents make them watch television. Many parents also feed their children while they (the children) are busy watching television. Parents claim that in this state of distraction, feeding children is easier.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Getting Away With Murder

Getting Away with Murder

Paris, 11 April 2005
For immediate release:
http://www.worldpressfreedomday.org
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Hundreds of journalists have been killed in the past decade, and in the vastmajority of cases the killers walk free. The World Association ofNewspapers and World Editors Forum focus on this problem in the annualpackage of materials offered to newspapers world-wide for publication onWorld Press Freedom Day.

Interviews, articles, infographics, cartoons and advertisements on pressfreedom themes are now available without charge from WAN athttp://www.worldpressfreedomday.org/ . Newspapers world-wide are encouragedto download the materials and publish them on 3 May.

The theme of the 2005 campaign is "Impunity - Getting Away with Murder."

"More than 500 journalists have been killed in the past decade. In more thantwo-thirds of the cases, no one has been brought to justice, much lessconvicted," said Timothy Balding, Director General of WAN.

"Today the general public is becoming more aware of the life-threateningrisks journalists take while doing their job. However, few are aware thatthe vast majority of crimes against journalists go unpunished, most oftenthrough the negligence, deliberate or otherwise, of governments and theiragencies," he said.

Newspapers worldwide are being asked to help draw attention to the problemby commemorating World Press Freedom Day on 3 May by publishing thematerials offered by WAN and WEF.

As in past years, WAN is providing personal testimonies, editorials,interviews, photos, graphics, advertisements and illustrations as well ascase studies on killed and imprisoned journalists. The package is availablein English, French, Spanish, German and Russian.

For the first time, WAN is offering a public service video clip on thesubject of impunity for use by broadcast media and by newspaper web sites.Advertising agencies worldwide have also contributed to the package ofmaterials by providing print advertisements on the theme of impunity.

Among the materials offered to newspapers are:

- The Philippines has emerged as one of the most dangerous countries forjournalists. Jose Torres, Jr, senior editor of abs-cbnNEWS.com, provides apersonal overview of the dangers in an article entitled, "I Pack a Pistol."

- John Sweeney, a BBC reporter, remembers his friend and colleague JamesMiller, perhaps the best television documentary maker of his generation, whowas shot dead while shining a flashlight on a white flag and shouting "Weare British journalists" as he and two colleagues approached an Israeliarmoured vehicle.

- Rodney Pinder, Director of the International News Safety Institute,examines the reasons why the culture of impunity exists, and what is beingdone to combat it.- Details of the unsolved cases of murdered journalists in Belarus, Serbia,Canada, Indonesia, Sierra Leone and the Philippines.

- Editorial cartoons by the French cartoonist Michel Cambon on the theme ofimpunity, and infographics showing where journalists have been murdered, andwhere they are being held in prison world-wide.

- Photographs of violations against journalists around the world from majornews agencies and newspapers, available free for publication.

- And much more (http://www.worldpressfreedomday.org/ ).WAN is also organising an international conference on the theme of impunity, to be held at the Frontline Club in London, on 3 May, 2005. Major mediabased in London, Paris and Brussels will be invited to the event, which willinclude testimonies, presentations and panel discussions.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000newspapers; its membership includes 72 national newspaper associations,individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 11 news agencies and nineregional and world-wide press groups.

WEF is the organisation within WAN that represents senior news executives.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue GeoffroySt Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 4948. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr

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Larry Kilman
Director of Communications
World Association of Newspapers
7 Rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire
75005 Paris France
Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00
Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48
E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr
Visit our web site at http://www.wan-press.org/

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Distributed for non-profit educational purpose.