You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2008.

At the end of April, in the heart of Illinois, USA…is snowing. From one of the library’s window I can see bloomed trees and big snow flakes… It’s so unnatural…I often hear (and feel) that we are afraid of things that we don’t know. If this is true, how come we are not afraid of these (so often) weather changes that we cannot understand?

I want to go green!

Let’s say you have the power to create an Information Society (IS) in your country. Let’s say you want to do it, you think it can prove to be valuable for the people and you have all the means to help you. Let’s think unrealistic optimistic about it…

Then, let’s say you have the resources and you start working on the infrastructure (broad band, access points, free IT&mobile market, s.o). Now, it’s time to think about increasing the chances for the people to participate in this new society. Where do you start? A few of the possibilities would be:

  • Teaching people the skills to be able to participate in this new society;
  • Making sure there is enough and useful information that people could access and use;
  • Increasing their awareness related to the dangers and false dangers that are connected to this new society.

Again, where would you start from?

Would you consider appropriate to begin with a national campaign to inform the people about mobile phones and health, putting an emphasis on the fact that GSM antennas are not a electromagnetic radiation hazard? Don’t think so. Not for the first campaign, not as a single topic three months campaign…

Now, let’s take a real case: Romania. As part of European Union, we are to build an information society together with all the other EU countries. Because is a priority for EU, we make it a priority for us too. That makes many of the conditions from above reality for us. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies (MCIT) is leading us on this journey. So fat it proved to be quite active and efficient on the infrastructure development part.

On April 15th, 2008 MCIT together with Ministry of Health started a national campaign. If I am not mistaking it is the first campaign that the MCIT started after the IS became a priority… And the topic chosen was? Mobile phones and health, of course!

The economic interests are spelled out so well that it’s scary. I am wondering what mobile brands will be use to exemplify… I am sure they will be European though 😀 All this is done with public money and it’s plain and simple advertising for mobile phones and indirectly for the mobile phone companies. I know that mobiles represent the tools that will be most used in the future Information society but is this right? Don’t think so.

Mircea Cartarescu wrote this article after a Romanian murdered an Italian woman last fall.  A whole debate started about Roma population in Romania and Cartareascu states in his article that “the Gypsy problem in Romania results from Romania’s policy towards the Gypsies” . This is true however…the more I looked at policies in Romania the more I think that Roma people are not an exception. The policies in Romania were never created having a population in mind but rather some individuals and their interests.

The policies and laws that are supposed to help libraries and enhance their activities cannot be applied. That is what the representative from the Minister of Culture stated. (His Minister is the one responsible for managing the National library, public library system, the professional development of librarians…)And he sounded like “since this is the case there is nothing we can do. Sorry!”.

Bullying is a big problem in Romania but not only that we do not have policies about it in schools…we don’t have a proper term to translate it in Romanian. (Please help me out if you have a good translation for it)

Carrying about the people in the community, about their problems and needs is something we need to learn in Romania. Writing good laws and policies is the way the administrative leaders can show that they care (not to mention that is their job to do it!). So far it is not the case in Romania when it comes to most ethnic minorities, different educational professionals, artists, low income communities. It might be because people who write these policies do not know how to write them well…it might be because they don’t really care…

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