Cyber Cambodian – by Chanthan Ken (CCS), Mark Sarath (YCC), Chotana (City Link), Chim Manavy (Open Institute)
Disclaimer: Live blog post from Cloggers Summit and there may be typos or missed facts. This is especially true because this session is in Khmer. Lux Mean is on my right and someone I don't know is on my left side. They are translating for me as I transcribe what they are saying. This is my first experience live blogging something in a different language! I see several other Cambodian bloggers live blogging and will links to their posts.
Many people in Phnom Penh know how to use the computers and the Internet, but in the rural areas many people do not. So, IT people have a responsible to teach people.
In our dictionary in Khmer, no word for cyber, but we have a cyber law.
How many people can use Internet in Cambodia? They are researching that right now, but it is very low compared to other countries.
Some organizations have no Internet access and in the provinces, there is no access to the Internet. Journalists can't use the Internet in the provinces and in the city. Many also write by hand, not on the computer if one is available. This is a topic we need to discuss today.
Open Institute Chim Manavy is speaking. She wants to know the meaning of the word blog in Khmer. Is there a word? ITC is the new knowledge in Cambodia. Cambodia does not have computers made in the country so we have to import. Now some people learn to use computer really well. But now the government of Cambodia, also cares that people learn how to use computers and ICT. We have also a telecommunications department in the government.
The word blog has no meaning in Cambodian so we had to learn the definition in English.
Representative from CityLink the Internet provider in Phnom Penh. He is talking about the importance of the computers in his company. He can only see people who use the Internet. He mentioned that the percentage of people who can use the computer in Cambodia is very low. But if we compare IT in Cambodia with other South Asian countries likeThailand or Vietnam, we still have limited penetration.
If you go to other provinces to do the workshop, the participants cannot know the meaning exactly of the word blog. They only just participate in the workshop- but don't know meaning very well. So he try reduce the cost of using Internet to be lower for the students.
Mark Sarath from YCC. What is the strategy to development our student's knowledge of using computers and Internet?
The Internet is connecting him to people in the provinces.
When he asked students if they want to use the computer, the student say yes. They really want to use the computer. They talk about obstacles - not having enough computer labs for student practice using the computer. In 2000 people, only 82 have email addresses. During 2003 election, they provided Internet for free in the provinces and tried to connect young people in the province and create email addresses. Of the 82 people, two people have blogs! Not much to write - a few lines and a few pictures. Sometimes they do chat, but they blocked the chat for young people.
Lux volunteered to train people about blogging in several provinces in 2005. How the people in his organization are using the Internet. 4% of his organization use the Internet - volunteer and his staff at Internet Cafe. The cost of the Internet is very high in Province is cost $3 per one hour. They want it to be free.
They are talking about business people opening Internet Cafe to make money, but not in the poorer provinces. They are only several provinces with Internet cafes. Tourists locations have the Internet, but not other provinces.
Before computer use was only in the US offices in Cambodia. The Internet was available to expats, then to government and business (rich people) and now coming all people.
"We don't have a clear policy to promote information technology in Cambodia. If the government has special policy, we think the Internet connection will be cheaper and easier to use and faster. The government can build a better infrastructure to the rural areas and so young people need to express their demand to the government about the need and importance of Internet access. Young people need to make their voices heard.
So, now the ICT policy ngos want try to make the software available in Khmer Language so it is more accessible. The government isn't pushing Internet policy and when no one push it is forgotten or ignored.
I would like the bloggers to write about need for Internet access. He wants bloggers to advocate about a telecommunications policy. Other countries have the demand and then the government responds. CCS Ken Chanthan gave an overview of what e-government policy looks like in a powerpoint presentation. (find link on the clogger site) Says that Cambodian bloggers should demand that the government create an acton plan to realize existing e-policy.
Chimm Manavy from Open Institute. The Internet has another side - it is being used for trafficking and other bad purposes. Technology is good, but need policy to prevent using the Internet for sex trafficking or other illegal purposes. Technology user should be aware of their using the Internet - don't use it in a bad way. Even though telephone/cell phone.
We need a law for new technology and ICT in Cambodia. Our government representative of our 123 people, only one has their own web site.
- Cyber Cambodian discussion is still in the early stages. There are many challenges to providing access to the Internet.
- They discussed the pros/cons of using the Internet.
- The role of Cambodian youth to promote ICT.
- There is a lack of Cambodian telecommunications policy and action plan. This issue needs to be discussed - this is the role of youth in this area.
- Youth has a role in promoting cyber society.
I will update with other blog posts from native khmer speakers when I find them.