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Awareness, digital literacy linked to optimum ICT use

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Digital literacy and awareness among the people are essential to ensure the optimum use of information and communications technology (ICT) like social media, speakers told a policy dialogue on Saturday.

Public representatives, teachers and religious leaders can play a pivotal role in making people aware of any untoward event that may take place using the techs.

They made the observations at a national policy dialogue styled 'Safe use of technology for promoting peace and democracy' hosted by the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) at a city hotel.

Post and telecommunications minister Mustafa Jabbar virtually joined the dialogue as the chief guest.

North South University vice-chancellor Prof Dr Atiqul Islam, ambassador & head of the delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley, youth and sports secretary Mesbah Uddin and BEI director Minhaz Kamal Khan spoke as special guests.

Ambassador M Humayun Kabir, the BEI president, made the opening remarks.

In his speech, Mr Jabbar said connectivity through internet has become so crucial that some nations are now considering it as the sixth basic need for a human.

"The use of internet has increased exponentially in Bangladesh in the last one-and-a-half decade, thanks to the government's visionary programmes," he added.

The usage of internet is rising for various purposes, so is its misuse, according to the minister.

"You can't blame technologies for malpractices, rather blame the people responsible for this," he said, adding that there were malevolent people too even when there was no internet.

It is digital literacy which can ensure the right way of using internet, he uttered.

BEI president highlighted the importance of the usage of technology to establish an inclusive society and create equal scope for all.

Mr Whiteley said the spread of rumour and hate speech using social media is common in many countries, which sometimes leads to conflicts.

The EU has been supporting Bangladesh for digital citizenship of its people, he said, adding that the platform is willing to continue its support in the coming days too.

The BEI, with support from the US-based National Endowment for Democracy, has executed a year-long project in Rajshahi to create awareness of technology usage and its role in strengthening democracy.

Project beneficiaries, stakeholders, media representatives and other guests attended the event.

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