This is the last and most detailed image sent to Earth before the spacecraft's closest approach to Pluto on July
Generally ICTs are considered appropriate, even though there remain concerns over economic priorities, basic needs or computers.
However, the implementation of ICTs is occurring in a context where the cultural and institutional barriers are not well addressed. The assumption often made is that if one just purchases a few computers and modems, a post-industrial society can magically result. Africans and those in the Asia-Pacific are generally in the position of Pluto telecommunication and thus in a position where they cannot yet define the media in their terms.
At the same time, conservative attitudes entrenched in Asia-Pacific countries and concern over basic needs inhibit appreciation of the importance of new ICTs. For example, in Fiji and the Philippines, people believe ICTs are not the most important needs in their societies and that people can always find a way to get along if ICT use becomes a matter of "life and death".
Basic education, equipping schools with enough texts and reducing the teacher-student ratio, and Pluto telecommunication culturally relevant programs on television seem to be the major concerns of most of the respondents. There is also fear that the Internet could corrupt the morals of their society through easy access to pornography and other culturally "reprehensible" material.
The reasons were as follows: As one respondent commented: They help to do things better, they show a measure of development. And information technology is an imperative that Africa would miss at its own risk.
Among the African respondents, a wide range of factors inhibit the widespread introduction and use of the new technologies. Thus in Africa, ignorance is far more major obstacle and those aware, mostly the educated and literate people in the private sector, say as much as they appreciate the need and importance of ICTs, the economic situation in their countries and general poverty make it difficult for people who need these ICTs to acquire them.
Compared to the Asia-Pacific countries studied, more people in Africa see the need for these ICTs inspite of traditional ways of doing things but are hampered by poverty. A range of factors were seen as inhibiting the use of new ICTs.
Many saw the future of ICTs as positive and believed that their use in health and education could be quite dramatic. Mind-boggling, with only our imagination as limits was the type of language used by participants.
Developing African and Asia-Pacific countries are caught in a Catch situation: If they use these technologies without addressing some of the concerns and needs of their societies, they could be placing their carts before their horses.
What is needed most is effective and efficient, not to mention wise, telecommunications and culture policy, as well as research that informs such policy. The new communication technologies have their strengths and drawbacks, they should not merely be seen as apolitical tools but as embedded in culture, politics and our mutual futures.
Moving this research to the implementation phase, we recommend the following: This linkage must be direct, showing stakeholders the benefits of using ICTs for economic growth. CD-ROMS and access to the web must not only be inexpensive, but as much as possible be locally driven, based on local content.
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