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President Lula of Brazil receives ITU Award

World Telecommunication and Information Society Award for protecting children online

Geneva, 15 June 2009 — President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva of Brazil visited ITU today where he received the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award.

Accepting the award, President Lula said he was pleased to see international recognition for the efforts of the Brazilian government to promote digital inclusion and a safe and democratic virtual space, especially for children and adolescents. "We are determined to fight digital exclusion, which is today one of the major constraints in the quest for development," President Lula said. "To reduce inequalities we need to increase access to modern communication technologies to a larger number of people. Access to technologies should go beyond the communications infrastructure dimension. People should be able to use these technologies in a critical and interactive way. This is important to promote the involvement of all people in the knowledge society."

President Lula described measures by his government to promote digital inclusion, such as connecting urban public schools to broadband Internet, distributing portable computers to students and teachers in elementary public schools and establishing telecentres where students can learn, study and entertain themselves. He said Brazil has reduced taxes on IT solutions and promoted open software to reduce cost and to build an inclusive people-centred information society linked to development.

President Lula congratulated ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré for launching the Global Cybersecurity Agenda. He noted that the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) had given ITU a mandate to strengthen cybersecurity and said ITU is the right place to coordinate this endeavour. He said, "The challenge of cybercrimes demonstrates the importance of discussing and debating Internet governance. WSIS concluded that Internet governance should be transparent and democratic with the participation of governments and civil society. ITU should be part of this effort."

President Lula added, "In fighting paedophiles, ITU could define standards that could be adopted by all countries. We need a multilateral instrument that would stimulate effective international cooperation."

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) brings attention to the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) in meeting the development and economic aspirations of societies and on the importance of the Internet as a global resource. The theme for 2009 is Protecting Children in Cyberspace.

WTISD marks the establishment of ITU in 1865.

Welcoming President Lula to ITU, Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré noted that Brazil became a Member State of ITU in 1877. "Brazil and ITU have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership, based on shared values of multilateralism and respect," Dr Touré said. "In 1906, following the invention of radio, Brazil was one of 27 countries which signed the first Radiotelegraph Convention. We share a long and distinguished history of excellent cooperation, and we look forward to continuing this tradition of mutual support and respect."

Along with the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award, Dr Touré gifted President Lula with a copy of the instrument of ratification to the International Telecommunication Convention of Atlantic City signed on 15 August 1949.

Citing Brazil’s remarkable progress in ICT development, Dr Touré said that it is at the forefront of the wireless revolution: "Brazil has 155 million cellular phones of which 5 million are 3G terminals already in operation, giving it a mobile teledensity of almost 80 per cent. At the beginning of 2009, over a third of the Brazilian population was online, and Brazil had over ten million fixed broadband subscribers and close to three million mobile broadband subscriptions."

Dr Touré added that Brazil is one of the world’s great satellite powers and has operated both geostationary and non-geostationary satellite networks since the early 1970’s. "Given the large dimension of your country, space systems play a vital role in helping connect remote populations as well as in remote sensing, monitoring climate change and resource exploration," Dr Touré said.

 

For more information, please contact:

Sanjay Acharya

Chief, Media Relations and Public Information

ITU

Tel: +41 22 730 5046

Mobile: +41 79 249 4861

E-mail: sanjay.acharyaitu.int

 

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Updated : 2009-06-16