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Information Communication Bill reintroduced in Parliament

(MISA/IFEX) - Namibia's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has gazetted the Information Communications Bill. Speaking in Parliament in early June 2009 when the Bill was reintroduced, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joel Kaapanda says the Bill, "will revolutionize the ICT industry of Namibia and provide for the effective regulation of telecommunications, broadcasting, and postal services through a new independent and autonomous regulatory authority for Namibia".

MISA-Namibia is carrying out a thorough analysis of the Bill and will be making its submissions and responses to the government.

The Minister added that the Bill replaces the Namibian Communications Commission Act, 1992 (Act 4 of 1992) and amends certain relevant sections under the Posts and Telecommunications Act, 1992 (Act 19 of 1992), among others.

According to Minister Kaapanda, ICT usage in Namibia is low and according to him this new policy will accelerate our development plans and stimulate growth and provide new opportunities in education, trade, healthcare, job creation, among others, which will help Namibia to leapfrog stages of development and raise our living standards.

Minister Kaapanda called for the speedy implementation of the Information Communication Bill, in his words, "to level the playing field for all telecommunications operators. This will enhance competition and will take ICT infrastructure and services to the remote corners of the country giving our rural citizens the opportunity to fully participate and benefit from the Information Society".

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MISA-Namibia and others civic groups have expressed concern with interception of communication provisions in the Bill. MISA-Namibia is currently scrutinizing the Bill to see if these concerns have been addressed.

For the full text of the press release, see: http://www.misa.org

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