Media


Because of the TRAI decision outlawing zero rating, various workarounds were developed. With Mozilla funding, LIRNEasia conducted research on how they were being used in the New Delhi area. Yesterday’s Indian Express carried a story:  
The tragedy of a garbage mountain slide generated a great deal of interest in solutions for the solid waste disposal problems in Sri Lanka. Given prior work in this area, we were ready. Here is Dr Sujata Gamage on Face the Nation on TV1: Part 1 and Final Segment.
Full video of the IDRC International Women's Day panel on "Is innovation sexist?" is now available online. Our CEO Helani Galpaya was part of this panel.
It’s been a few years since LIRNEasia had funded research on waste management. But that does not mean that the knowledge that was accumulated has gone away. In the context of increased salience of knowledge on waste management, Human Capital Research Team Leader Sujata Gamage has been much in demand. Here is a voice clip, in Sinhala, that was broadcast and is making the rounds in social media.
More media in India are picking up on the importance of what we’ve learned about BharatNet. Voice and Data used information from the BharatNet study for a piece published on April 06, 2017. BharatNet (formally the National Optic Fibre Network) was meant to provide broadband internet to rural villages in India. While the existing network itself has issues, last-mile connectivity has been completely missed. LIRNEasia went in to look at the potential role of institutions to fill the gap, and found a serious lack of awareness and no significant middle-mile connections.
I was included in a five-person panel discussing the university education in Sri Lanka in light of the currently heightened interest re relaxing the government monopoly. In my opening comments, I referred to research conducted in 2012 by the Human Capital Research team. I also talked about the need to allow innovation in the educational system so that we can better respond to the fast changing external environment. The video of the talk show.
It’s been a while since LIRNEasia research has been featured in Indian newspapers. We’re making up for that: “70% of the institutional players such as schools, banks and health centers in rural India are not aware of government’s BharatNet initiative,” IIT Delhi professor and co-author P Vigneswara Ilavarasan of a survey by a think-tank LIRNEasia, told ET. He added that the overall Internet usage was low in areas where broadband has already reached. The findings were based on a survey conducted in the BharatNet pilot areas that included 1,329 institutional respondents in the Arain, Rajasthan, and Vizag and Parvada in Andhra Pradesh village blocks. “Of the overall scale, 30% of the respondents said that they are aware of the BharatNet scheme of which 8% claimed to have known the mega project very well,” the LIRNEasia survey found.
Just a few days before we presented our research to senior policy makers at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Indian Express carried a story highlighting some shortcomings in the implementation of BharatNet. This was possibly linked to a parliamentary question that had been posed around then. Now in a follow up piece, the journalist has directly quoted our research: A survey conducted by think-tank LIRNEasia and IIT-Delhi suggested that the use of BharatNet was in single-digits across areas surveyed. “Institutional users are pertinent as they would take the broadband from the gram panchayats to the individual consumers and households. The survey reveals that only one third of them use internet and nearly 70 per cent of non-users do not have any intention to use internet in near future.
As can be seen, the language used by Sujata Gamage in her op ed on the education proposal in the 2017 Budget Speech was very nuanced and academic. But the problem was that politicians tend not to read to the end, choosing to form their opinion from the headline. In this instance, the headline was “Can tabs do what PCs or bricks could not do for education?” But looking at that headline, I do not see anything near the kind of attack common in many of mine. It after all ends with a question mark.
One of the main objectives of our joint effort with the Jaffna Managers’ Forum 18-19 October was to raise the awareness of Jaffna youth about the potential of online freelancing as a gateway to the service sector and to entrepreneurship. Suthaharan Perampalam communicates the findings from our research in a Tamil weekly, read in Jaffna.
As part of the Inclusive Information Society research, we at LIRNEasia were in the process of interrogating the labor force and related data. Then there was this headline about there being no need for one million jobs when only 400,000 people were unemployed. Two days later, the op-ed refuting the absurdity of comparing one million over five years target with a static unemployment figure was published. As can be seen, having the data ready was extremely helpful for the quick response. If we are to escape from the middle-income trap and get established on a high-growth trajectory, it is imperative that all sectors of society understand the importance of creating jobs with the characteristics demanded by our young people and by the women who are sitting out the job market.
Unlike an earlier media report in a government newspaper that I could not make head or tail of, this report zooms in on the controversial. No mention whatsoever of the subject of the keynote, but a fair summary of what I said in response to a question from the floor on government getting back into the provision of telecom infrastructure services. Journalism still lives in Sri Lanka. Government should focus on creating fiscally responsible policy certainty, rather than providing telecommunication services wholesale or retail by itself, an expert opined recently. Founding Chair of LIRNEasia and former telecoms regulator Professor Rohan Samarajiva pointed out that the Government needs to prioritise its investments in the areas of healthcare, children and education rather than putting money into areas where there is available private investment.
UNESCO and International Media Support (IMS), together with the National Management College (NMC) in Yangon, have conducted a comprehensive analysis of media landscape study in Myanmar. The ultimate objective of this study is to present key findings and recommendations that will guide policy-makers and stakeholders in their decisions on the development of media in the country. LIRNEasia conducted what is considered to be the first nationally representative sample survey of ICT and knowledge uses and needs in Myanmar with 8130+ surveys of individuals at household level. Assessment of Media Development in Myanmar report  quotes LIRNEasia’s Baseline Survey of ICT and Knowledge Access in Myanmar.
It was good to see a succinct summary of the discussions at last week’s dissemination event in New Delhi, come out in the widely read Dataquest India. Recently LIRNEasia (Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economies Asia) along with IIT Delhi organized an expert forum discussion on the impact of ICT on MSMEs(Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) in the developing countries. The forum disseminated the findings of two Systematic Reviews undertaken at LIRNEasia for dissemination among the policy makers and change agents, and to bring relevant stakeholders to share their experiences. The forum was conducted at IRD Conference Room, IIT Delhi, on 26th April 2016. Dr.
The past weekend, I was quoted, not altogether coherently, in a piece on Google’s Loon pilot in Sri Lanka. LIRNEasia Founding Chair and Founder Director of ICTA, Rohan Samarajiva made a few comments about the Google Loon project. He said, “I am no fan of outmoded notions of national sovereignty. A fragmented Internet where local data storage is mandatory is not the kind of Internet I prefer”. The Google Loon project is expected to offer easily-available Wi-Fi across the country and connected for instance through ISPs like Dialog or Mobitel with some part being free and the rest charged.
An online publication has written about Grace Mirandilla Santos’s presentation at a recent Youth Congress on Information Technology: Citing various studies, Santos also revealed that 80% of all elementary schools or some 38,000 schools nationwide are not connected online. According to Santos’ study at LIRNEasia, ISPs give us 70% to 80% short of what they promise. “Ideally, there are more kilobytes per second you receive for every piso you pay. But it shows here that one kilobyte per peso is what we get, which is very low compared to other countries,” Santos explained. She added: “Of all the ISPs we tested, Philippine ISPs offer the lowest value for money, and that means that Filipino Internet subscribers are pretty more oppressed.