Information And Communications Bill Validated in Gambia

Computing

The Department of State for Communications, Information and Information Technology (DoSCIIT), in collaboration with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), and other stakeholders in the telecommunications sector, yesterday, converged to review and validate the Information and Communications Bill 2008.

Fatim Badjie-Janneh, the secretary of state for Communication, Information and Information Technology, described the validation workshop as a giant step in the development of the Information, Communication Technology (ICT) sector in The Gambia.

She said her department recognises the need to formulate a holistic ICT bill inline with the provisions of the Information Society (WSIS) and the Ecowas community text for harmonisation of ICT legal instruments, to which The Gambia is committed.

According to her, this information society compliant bill recognizes the need to bring together interdependent segments of ICT under a unified framework, in order to create the enabling environment for intercessions in the ICT industry. This draft legal instrument, she went on, also takes into account good governance in ICT, necessary to ensure appropriate laws and public policy as fundamental guiding principles in the fast growing and dynamic ICT sector.

"We have decided to formulate an ICT bill so as to cater for convergence between telecommunication, broadcasting, internet and allied technologies and services," she said, and continued "the current telecommunication landscape as you are aware, is so interlinked with other sectors that it is apparent that a telecom bill cannot address all the issues of convergence hence the formulation of this ICT bill; therefore, it is a solution to diminish the overall insufficiencies of the Wireless and Telegraph Act of 1964, on which the legal administration of the ICT industry is dependent".

The content of this draft bill, she went on, probes into substance and issues of licensing, access and interconnection, spectrum management and numbering, universal access/services, end user interests and rights and personal data privacy and protection. "Among other things, the bill contains information society issues such as computer misuse and cyber crime, electronic signatures and transactions, as well as elements of e-government and broadcasting," SoS Badjie noted.

She stated her department of state's commitment to ensuring a vibrant ICT sector that is enhanced by appropriate policies and regulatory frame works, stressing that they will leave no stone unturned to see that they achieve that goal.

The Daily Observer