The information superhighway came into prominence at the end of the 20th century, when access to knowledge and information became faster and more integrated.
Also known by the dated expression ‘infobahn’ at the time of its inception, the global networking phenomenon is particularly important in the fields of politics, economics, and society.
Having complete facts and information, and possessing them quicker than others, places you way ahead of everyone else. Competition arises out of this as people vie on methods for gathering information and disseminating it through a medium that reaches out to the greatest number of audiences.
A vivid example of the transformational effects of the digital age can be seen in national affairs. News and information relating to Rakhine State in Myanmar were spread at blistering speeds across a wide demographic.
But, a lack of ethics was witnessed in the recent situation as false or adulterated information was spread rapidly far and wide, resulting in international hardships and a bitter lesson for Myanmar.
Even with a firm belief in the truth, the consequences of the actions of people with ill-intent have created a multitude of unnecessary issues that are now demanding to be solved.
Myanmar needs to try harder to catch up with the current age of information proliferation and ease of public access to it.
It seems that Myanmar is having a harder time acquiring domestic news and information than getting international news. Not only that, we need to structure ourselves so that accurate information can be delivered quickly and effectively to a wide range of both local and foreign audiences.
To achieve this, there need to be more contextually supportive departments for gathering and spreading news and information. On that note, it is a delight to hear that there are projects under way to firmly reestablish public libraries across the country and to conjure methods for better news gathering.
It is important to establish central news and information departments under national libraries project as they can be a major resource for acquiring local news and information. We need not look any further than the inclusion of information centers in national libraries across the world.
When we make plans to refurbish the national library, we must not pool our focus on the physical structure and grandiose designs for the building. We must brainstorm on setting up networks between the central news and information department and other similar agencies in townships across the country.
At present, Myanmar is not equipped to gather information on population, crime, and health statistics from each township easily.
It is also not enough to outfit the information centers with the latest technology. We need individuals with the skills and capabilities to maintain the system, and we need to foster private-government cooperation between news agencies so that reliable information centers and central departments can be emerged.