KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 – Accountability after the information revolution; disengagement in the age of distraction and the practice of digital diplomacy are the three challenges that need to be confronted to build, develop and sustain nations in this hyperconnected world, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, today.
He said the information technology has evolved exponentially to the extent most of the people carry the world in their pockets using communication gadgets. Najib said people are freer than ever to share ideas about governance instantly and to the global audience.
Empowered by the information revolution, he said those who have internet access can hold their governments to greater account. “They can access a huge range of statistics, indicators and international comparisons. They can read and engage with opinions and political philosophies from different systems around the world.
“And if they are unhappy with the state of their government, they can and will tell the world about it, in real time, with pictures, videos and hashtags to help their message across,” he said when officiating the Umno International Forum with the theme “A Hyperconnected World: Challenges in Nation Building” at
the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here, today.
The second challenge, Najib said was that the people are increasingly getting their social interaction from friends, family and even strangers online, replacing time spent socialising in real life. However, he said nation building requires the engagement of the people who make up the nation. “In response, we must find new and creative ways to ensure people remain engaged with their local communities, that they feel as much a part of their nation as they do their favourite Facebook group,” he added.
Najib also said in a connected world, diplomacy which has been the ultimate “black box”, an invisible process by which governments interact on behalf of their people is now being more public than ever. He said the change has come from below and above. “From below, because of the release of thousands of classified documents online that has changed public and diplomatic discourse forever.
Governments and businesses now know that their secrets can be shared not just with their competitors but with the whole world instantly, anonymously and permanently,” he said. He said if it is from above, it is because the nation itself is now online where according to recent research, more than 150 countries have government twitter accounts and more than 500 government ministers are on Twitter.
“With so many people twitting on behalf of nations and so many lively discussions online, it is inevitable that sometimes tweets, status updates or blog post will slip past the diplomatic and common-sense protocol,” he said. Najib however said the internet carries huge oppurtunities for education, economic development and social interaction. “As leaders and parties, we can ensure that the internet, one of the most significant inventions of our time, remains one of the most beneficial and we can harness its power to the cause of nationbuilding.