Pour comprendre, lisez la dernière note d’Avinash sur son blog perso.
So, after the Facebook – ICTA controversy, Trilock Dwarka, Chairman of the Authority, has admitted that the decision to block access to Facebook completely on Thursday 8th Nov (a black day for the Mauritian online democratic community) was excessive in an interview with L’Express on Tuesday 13th. But, he was shrewd enough to lay the blame completely on his director, Krishna Oolun. One can only wait for the latter’s reaction to confront the two versions. Is this the latest manifestation of the ‘Chairman vs. Director’ pandemic that seems to affect most of our parastatal bodies these days (look at Enterprise Mauritius, NPCC, IBA, MBC, etc.)?
However this did not prevent the guy from trying to find some justifications to the decision by evoking problems such as frauds, cyber-bullying and minors being at risk (Is the PM a minor, BTW, who needs so much protection?). The typical discourse of people who want to control what we read, see and hear… They say they want to protect us, but they are caught more often protecting themselves or their interests or those who can promote/demote them (their temporary Gods on earth)!
Anyway, isn’t it funny that the guy says there is a need to have a position paper on social networking? Bet you he did not even know what this means a few months ago. And, for god’s sake, will they have position papers on every new platform that gets created on the Internet (and the pace is accelerating; who, in Mauritius, knew about Facebook two years back?). So, let’s have a position paper on Hi5, MySpace, Orkut, every single blog and forum, e-mails, chats, newsgroups, YouTube, Yahoo, Flickr, Google, Amazon, and what not. At least, it would keep them busy… Provided they don’t end up with a silly campaign like the NCB anti-spam campaign (which did not have spam companies like RKCommunications out of business).
BTW, with Avinash, we were reflecting on how emblematic it is that those organisations get called Authority (IBA, ICTA) carrying this connotation of central control (whereas new media and Internet are the exact opposite). In France, the equivalent of the Independent Broadcasting Authority is the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) and the equivalent of ICTA is the Commission Nationale Informatique et Liberté (CNIL)… Would the CNIL do a similar (dis)service to Chirac, Sarkozy et tutti quanti? Yes, this is disservice as the response from the Mauritian Facebook Community is more violent than the initial parodic pages of the PM. Just type the name of Navin Rangoolam in the search field of Facebook and you will see what I mean. The groan is growing day by day… Aster la li pu vine vraiment vilain!
And finally, on telecommunications costs: how much time will they continue to take us for fools? When it comes to applying new reductions in tariffs, it takes a month or so to be able to do that for administrative reasons: it takes time to adjust and deploy the new tariffs (aren’t they computerised in this so-called cyber island?). But when it comes to raising prices, all operators are suddenly very efficient at deploying the new tariffs over a single day at times.
This is paradise island…
Lu dans L’Express-Samedi du 27 octobre, dans la rubrique ‘Confidentiels’:
Motus et bouche cousue
Le bureau du Premier ministre a émis des ordres très stricts. Les conseillers en communication ne sont plus autorisés à parler à la presse sans autorisation de leurs ministres. Une circulaire dans ce sens a été envoyée aux attachés de presse.
Des conseillers en communication qui ne peuvent pas communiquer… On aura tout vu dans ce pays! L’explication de cette décision se trouve sans doute dans les pages de l’Express-Dimanche du 21 octobre où Bettina Cadinouche, conseillère en com du PM lâche quelques vérités crues du style
‘Mais pour moi, la MBC est tout sauf un outil de propagande ; ce sont des fossoyeurs.’,
‘Des yes-men, il y en a suffisamment parmi les ministres, les députés et les visiteurs d’un jour.’
Ce qui est étonnant c’est que Dinesh Ramjuttun, lui, a eu tout le loisir de déverser des critiques directes à l’encontre des ministres pendant plusieurs jours sans qu’aucune circulaire de ce type n’ait été émise (en tout cas cela n’a pas été rapporté par la presse).
Au contraire, selon ses dires, Navin l’a gentiment prié de rester pendant un bon bout de temps malgré son ‘insolence’… jusqu’à ce que l’indécence de ce super conseiller (qu’il n’a pas reçu pendant 4 bons mois) ne devienne insoutenable.
Quant aux partis de l’opposition, comme on dit ici, topette vaut pas morette (pas sûre de l’orthographe). Tantôt ils semblent en passe de se faire les yeux doux, tantôt c’est l’insulte infantile. Paul, Pravind, Ashok, et maintenant Dinesh, quel panthéon!
Y’a de quoi se mettre à regarder Tulsi…
There have been a few developments lately in the local mediascape related to the web (at last!) that are worthy of attention. Starting with the Défi Media Group which has launched its website for the first time at the following address: http://www.defimedia.info
This was long overdue as oddly enough, none of the print media titles it owns (Le Défi Plus, L’Hebdo, News on Sunday, etc.) had a website up to now. However, I really appreciate that the group has decided to frogleap directly into the web 2.0 world as its website does not merely display articles which have appeared in the print version. It is a platform that allows for rating of articles, comments from readers, social bookmarking as well as user-generated content in a blog section, RSS and even Radio Plus podcasts (which I haven’t yet tested though). So one can say that the Défi Media Group is the first major local media player to exploit Internet 2.0!
Another media player which has also decided to spend some effort on its website is Radio One at http://www.r1.mu
Though the website is richer in information compared with the previous one, I personally think it is still unsatisfactory. It still looks very much like a first generation website with no user comments, no RSS, no user-generated content, etc. And I can’t seem to be able to listen to the podcasts (Microsoft plug-ins?). And the readability is not fantastic as the design is not very neat and clear (compared with that of the Défi website for instance).
Ironically, whereas Le Défi does not seem to have widely publicised its own initiative (which would deserve much more public attention), Radio One has been actively promoting its website through print and radio ads.
Incidentally, I want to put a special mention for an overseas initiative by Anne Robert, a Mauritian expat in Canada who was head of the Radio One station for some time. Her website Global Mauritian provides an interesting platform for incisive opinion articles with reader comments enabled.
Note about my blog:
Since I felt a bit bored by the look of my blog lately, I’ve decided to change its theme as you may have noticed. Not too happy about this one either, but well, we’ll see when I have more time to tinker with it…
In my last post, I invited my readers to fill in a survey about ICT, Society and Poverty in Mauritius for a paper I had to present at a conference on Poverty and Development which took place on the 1st and 2nd October at Bell Village. I am here posting the slides I used for my presentation as well as some results of the online survey which attracted some 40 respondents (thanks to all). Though the results cannot be deemed to be statistically representative, they are nonetheless interesting as they provide some preliminary insights into the preceptions vis-à-vis what I call ‘The Cyber Island project’.
And key findings from the survey:
- – All expressed conviction that ICT are important to society & cannot be ignored
- – Most (84%) felt ICT can help Mauritius achieve social progress with some specifically referring to the potential of such technologies for reducing economic disparities and alleviating poverty by generating jobs and wealth, and others evoking the facilitation of communication and also the easier connection with knowledge centres and other nations.
- – 59% firmly believed such technologies can effectively help alleviate poverty (by contributing to education which helps people out of poverty, by creating employment, by increasing productivity and generating wealth which may be subject to taxes to be used for poverty reduction or even used by businesses for CSR programmes targeting poverty.
- – Above 60% (67%) of respondents expressed moderate to serious doubts about the ‘cyber island’ project. Most felt that the local conditions for ICT deployment and use are inadequate and insufficient to bring social progress in Mauritius.
- – Regarding progress achieved towards realising the project, 54% felt not much has been achieved so far. While some felt that the cyber towers are a step forward, that many youngsters are working in the ICT sector and that computers have entered most spheres of our life, others felt that this is not enough. The latter complained that many of our public services are not properly computerised, that the standards of ICT education are much lower than those of developed countries and even felt that employment in the sector is insignificant.
In essence, it seems that current Internet users agree that ICT are an important feature of modern societies and, as such, the use thereof should be promoted in order to impact positively on social inclusion and development. Yet, they also feel that the grand ‘cyber island’ rhetoric is overstretched as there is a gap between the discourse and the practice.
In other words, that Dissemination is too slow.
I am currently conducting a small survey on ICT, Society and Poverty in Mauritius and would appreciate if Mauritian readers could take just a few minutes to fill in the online survey (it won’t take you more than 5 minutes).
The data will be made available here as soon as it is completed. And, if there are enough responses, it will be presented at a conference on poverty in Mauritius, which is to take place beginning of October (I will post details).
Thanks a lot for your help. You can also ask your friends to fill in. The more the better.