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AfterAccess: ICT access and use in Asia and the Global South (Version 3.0)
The biggest barrier to policing social media is language. Based on a draft LIRNEasia white paper on neural language processing. Published in Foreign Policy.
Methodology matters. A lot. Often, however, once league tables are released, it seems to matter less. LIRNEasia has been involved with price benchmarks, both in-house and with the ITU, for over 10 years. As catalysts, we’re always encouraged to see our work improving others’ research, even in the smallest of ways.
I congratulate my colleague Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, a researcher in our big data team, for being named a finalist for the prestigious Nebula Awards.
Our founding Chair Prof. Rohan Samarajivareceived the SLT 01 Lifetime Achievement Award "for the yeoman contribution he has made over the years as a public policy maker and advocate to influence access to cost-effective and high-quality digital infrastructure for all Sri Lankans". 

Peace to the farmers’ fields (Video)

Posted on December 18, 2018  /  0 Comments

A LIRNEasia video project exploring the history of relationships between the North and South of Sri Lanka through the agricultural value chain.
On December 4th, Nepali person’s living with disability and those who supported their cause, rallied along the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal to mark the 26thUnited Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). Somewhere in the crowd was our researcher, Isuru Samaratunga.

AfterAccess Asia Report 2.0

Posted on November 5, 2018  /  0 Comments

LIRNEasia. (2018). AfterAccess: ICT access and use in Asia and the Global South (Version 2.0). Colombo: LIRNEasia

2017-2018 Annual Report

Posted on October 16, 2018  /  0 Comments

Our AfterAccess research, conducted in partnership with sister networks DIRSI and Research ICT Africa and were declared winners of the EQUALSinTech 2018 Research Award at the Yale Club, New York, on 22 September 2018.
A personal reflection on the people of CPRsouth
Inspired by LIRNEasia's Hackathon for Accessible and Inclusive ICTs in Kathmandu, Nepal, Rajat Acharya, went looking for his childhood neighbor, a self-taught deaf man. What resulted was an gamified learning app with a wide range of use, first runner-up at the hackathon.
If anything, it is Facebook that is a bigger culprit or conduit for hate speech, not so much the picture-less/video-less Zero Rated Facebook version. So suddenly celebrating the pull-out/failure of the Zero Rated Facebook, while the full version of  Facebook is alive and well is rather misguided.

Facebook: To ban or not to ban?

Posted on April 24, 2018  /  0 Comments

The Jakarta Post Opinion by Ibrahim Kholilul Rohman and Ayesha Zainudeen The Indonesian government is considering a ban on Facebook amid concerns of privacy breaches and potential abuse of the platform to influence the upcoming presidential elections through fake news and hate speech. Using the indicative survey data collected by LIRNEasia in 2017, on use of social media among other online services by 1,200 Indonesian citizens, the following article by Ibrahim Kholilul Rohman (Research Fellow at United Nations University-Electronic Governance) and Ayesha Zainudeen (Senior Research Manager at LIRNEasia) argues against such a ban. The authors argue that a ban on Facebook or other social media in Indonesia could have serious economic impacts, and could end up being futile, given the recent experience in Sri lanka: “Certainly, a deeper analysis, using nationally representative data is required to better understand this phenomenon in Indonesia. But as a starting point, banning Facebook cannot be seen as a wise decision at the moment considering that people are starting to economize this platform, particularly in the SME sector which plays an important role in Indonesia’s economy.” The article has been published in Bahasa Indonesia by business news outlet Kontan.
My colleagues and I at LIRNEasia are delighted that Rohan Samarajiva has been appointed as the Chair of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka.  As a frequent commentator on ICTs, development and regulation, it’s well known that he has a strategic vision of what the ICT sector can achieve and contribute to Sri Lanka’s people and our country’s place in the world.  As a former regulator, he knows the important role government (or a government agency like ICTA) can play in enabling that vision. But at the same time (and what I consider an important facet) is that he is a firm believer in what government does NOT have to do, if the private sector, well-functioning markets, and a civil society are available.  So ICTA is in good hands in terms of finding it’s “place” in the world, and hopefully enabling the ICT-actors in Sri Lanka and citizens reaching their maximum potential.

The importance of being earnest

Posted by Shazna Zuhyle on February 23, 2018  /  0 Comments

A recent post reflected on the issues with a broadband price ranking that was seemingly issued by or, in the least, endorsed by the World Economic Forum (WEF). There were comments and debates on social media about this WEF ranking that placed Sri Lanka as the 17th least expensive for broadband in the world. Given LIRNEasia’s history and interest in ICT indicators we delved into the methodology and found it to be highly flawed. We also found out that while it was cited on the WEF website, it was not commissioned by the WEF. I presented a critique to the WEF which was published on their blog.