When I gave a talk a few months back at RMIT in Melbourne about how we engaged governments with policy-relevant research, a senior person in the audience said that we seemed to be having greater success in getting the government of Bangladesh to pay heed to evidence than they did in Australia. Proving him half right, the Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission has convened a stakeholder meeting to obtain input for the country’s position at WCIT in Dubai. Now if the government actually votes against the ill-thought out proposals by the Arab and African states to impose access charges for Internet content, my Australian colleague will be proven 100% right.
A recent report on the subject in Daily Star.
Abu Saeed Khan, a senior policy fellow of Colombo-based think tank LIRNEasia, said the Bangladesh government has ignored the ITU’s directive that instructed it to consult the ITR issues with its citizens.
“Rather, it [the government] has been highly secretive and the nation remains in the dark about the government’s standpoint on the issue. Even the ICT ministry is equally unaware about this issue. It is unacceptable and alarming.”
Khan urged Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed, the Prime Minister’s ICT adviser, to immediately intervene and ensure that Bangladesh does not vote in favour of internet regulation.
“Otherwise, the government risks being blamed for turning ‘Digital Bangladesh’ into ‘Digital Ruin’ ahead of the parliamentary election.”