When Worlds Collide #71: Bridging the ‘Other Digital Divide’

When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday broadsheet newspaper on 23 June 2013

“We’ll never allow satellite TV into our country! The minds of our youth must be shielded from those decadent western TV shows!”

Those words, uttered in private conversation by a top Bangladeshi government official in charge of youth affairs, have stuck in my mind even two decades after I heard them.

We were taking a bus ride from Bangkok to a beach resort in Cha-am, 200 km south of the Thai capital. As a young consultant working for UN-ESCAP, the United Nations regional arm, I was part of a team that ran an Asian consultative meeting on youth and sustainable development (such meetings mostly take place in exotic locations!).

Sharing our journey were permanent secretaries or additional secretaries of ministries covering youth or environmental affairs in over a dozen countries. Collectively, these…

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