Pakistan ICT Policy Monitor Network

childlikeprudenceInternet and Web Development

Dec 5, 2013 (4 years and 27 days ago)

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1. Site/Content planning and issues:


On planning:


Pakistan ICT policy monitor network (
http://pakistanictpolicy.bytesforall.net/
) started in June
2006. Though it was a very late start, primari
ly due to some technical hiccups in configuration of
Drupal content management system, but has covered reasonably good grounds until now. It is one of
the newest addition to APC’s ICT Policy Monitoring Network.
Overall objectives of Pakistan ICT Policy
Mon
itor Network are:


-

to highlight and capture ICTs and development related campaign issues in Pakistan and
register civil society perspective to those issues.

-

to launch policy advocacy campaigns around various ICT policy issues in the country.

-

to work as a
n information bridge in between ICT and development professionals, technologists,
policy makers, academia, media and larger civil society.


Here is a snapshot of the portal which has been developed using Drupal as the content management
system.




In ad
dition to the website, a dedicated, Pakistan’s first ever mailing list on ICT Policy has been
initiated to
discuss, highlight and monitor ICT policy issues, particularly from civil society perspective
in the country. Using this forum, members are deliberat
ing upon a whole range of issues around ICT
policies in the country. The main aim of this group and mailing list is to call for people friendly
-
people
centered ICT policies in the country.

Pakistan ICT Policy Monitor Network

Report Submitted by Shahza
d Ahmad on behalf of Bytesforall.org


The mailing list is accessible at
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/pakistanictpolicy/



London workshop proved to be great help in developing network in Pakistan. It gave great insight by
knowing the experiences of existing networks and towards poli
cy issues and way forward for the
network in the country. Not only much needed support on various fronts was provided but it now has
good linkages with other relevant initiatives.


After the London Workshop, six month and 2 years workplan has also been d
eveloped and shared
with APC team for their kind feedback and advice. Part of our 6 months plan is already completed.
Following chart provides some updates.


Topics

Status

Portal development (in Drupal)

Done. Content is being generated and uploaded. It
s
till lacks some important content but will be made
available gradually as the initiative matures further.
The portal is still in the process of further
enhancement.

Content aggregation/syndication

Content from a number of sites is being integrated.
More l
ists/sites are being pursued to come in
partnership.

Setting up a mailing list

Unfortunately, there is no such existing initiative or
mailing list so as mentioned above, a dedicated,
first ever, ICT Policy related Pakistan specific
mailing list has been
developed. It is now being
populated with local ICT practitioners and other
stakeholders.

Developing primary foundation and network

Foundation process is done, but the network is
being built up. We are in process to develop

Building partnership with loca
l media and civil
society organizations (CSOs)

The process is already underway. We are talking to
a number of different organizations in Pakistan who
are active in the field of ICTs to build up
partnership.


on issues:


We are currently highlighting issu
es such as mobile telephony, FOSS, Web Ban in Pakistan, etc. We
have just started and with inclusion of other partners we would like to focus on hardcore areas of ICT
policy and development issues. For example, we plan to advocate for urgent review of Paki
stan’s
existing IT Policy and IT Action Plan. We wish this to happen in consultation with civil society in the
country. In addition, we plan to pave the way for a community radio policy in the country. This is
urgent and important in the Pakistani perspect
ive as the country has been going through a difficult
time, when not only it is suffering from various natural disasters but also problematic political and
governance structures. It is extremely important that our work provides focus at least in one field
for
the betterment of people of Pakistan.


2. Content sharing


On Pakistan Portal, we are highlighting APC’s other focus areas e.g. Environment and ICTs, Gender
and IT etc. In Pakistan, there is no other APC member, however, we plan to focus more on GEM,
ITES and link up with other Asian members in the region.


content partnerships


Mentioned above. We’re also building up partnership with different other organizations so that they
use the site regularly.


processes


Historically, in Pakistan, civil socie
ty’s participation in global processes such as WSIS, WTO, WIPO
has been very weak, in fact mostly non
-
existent. For example, in WSIS process, Government of
Pakistan never bothered to involve civil society or other stakeholders in the process. The only
cons
ultation on WSIS process was organized prior to Geneva phase in October 2003, conducted by
Sustainable Development Networking Programme, financially supported by UNDP. Though
government heavily participated in this consultation through its various agencies

and agreed to
continue working with CSOs but with absolutely no follow
-
up. Similarly, there is dire need to mobilize
civil society towards issues around WIPO, WTO etc. Since civil society was never on board, there
was no WSIS national process.


Most unfo
rtunate part of the saga is that policies are being developed by consultants and enacted by
the parliament without taking CSOs into confidence.


impact


It is very difficult to gauge impact, when we have just started two months ago. However, one thing can

be safely claimed that the portal and the mailing list has provided a platform for the concerned citizens
to deliberate upon some burning issues around ICT policies in the country. The plan is to raise these
issues on the list to generate debate and invol
ve media to highlight them in mainstream media. We
plan to engage with government as well. In this regard, we are in process to formulate initially three
different situation papers. Once ready, these will be shared with the ministry and other relevant
gove
rnment departments as well. Efforts will be made to engage with National Assembly’s Standing
Committee on Information as well
. Thrust of our future work is going to be on advocating for review of
IT Policy and Action Plan and formulation of Community Radio

Policy in the country.


other impacts/interesting points you can share


Mr. Salman Ansari, Former IT Advisor to the Federal Government of Pakistan has become an active
member of the network. He is one very influential person being and entrepreneur, found
er of
ISPAK.org (Association of Internet Service Providers in Pakistan), and owner of first ever ISP in the
country. In addition, editors of two leading national IT magazines (Spider and Netexpress) are also
active members of our network. These vibes indic
ate that our work is heading in the right direction
and with passage of time, we will be able to cover great mileage for the cause and mission of this
global initiative, APC and its members.