You cannot block the Internet, says former ICT Minister

February 8, 2007

from Bangkok Post : Database February 07, 2007

Young blood in IT is neededSuvit Khunkitti says policy stability is also needed if we want to compete with neighboursDON SAMBANDARAKSA

Thailand needs policy stability and young blood in the system to have a chance of competing with its neighbours in the future, according to former ICT Minister Suvit Khunkitti.

Suvit, whose reign at the top of Thailand’s ICT policy maker was cut short due to health issues, said that the next government should focus on engaging the private sector and help to meet the needs of industry, rather than building up large monolithic organisations.

“The idea for the MICT was small but beautiful. It was designed to help support other arms of government and be a model of flexibility and responsiveness. We never wanted MICT to become so big and do so much,” he said.

But most importantly, the constant changes in leadership at the MICT meant that the message that was going out to industry and to the world was never clear and always changing.

However, Suvit still sees his tenure as one in which he encountered many new people with an interest in ICT and in using ICT to push the country forward.

Today, Suvit Khunkitti is still active in the industry and president of the CIO Association. The group is preparing a number of white papers and recommendations so that the next elected government can hit the ground running.

“I’m not putting my hopes on this interim government as they have a specific agenda. I want to tell the next government what to do regarding ICT policy,” he said.

However, he did have something to say when asked about the issue of censorship.

“You have to accept that no matter how you try to block the Internet, you cannot. If we shut down a web site, anyone can find a proxy to access it. Net censorship hurts the people, it hurts the government and it is a violation of human rights,” he said.

Rather than censor, he said that the solution was a social one: instill education, morals and social awareness among people so they can make informed decisions.


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