Russia offers to help Myanmar with digital legislation, e-govt

Russia will help Myanmar in drafting the first cyber security law and building e-government platforms. Photo: Ko Ko Htay/The Myanmar Times. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NAY PYI TAW, Sep 22, 2019, Myanmar Times. Russia offered to support Myanmar on the digital front, with proposals to help the country draft its first cyber security law, build e-government platforms and develop smart cities. More than 70 percent of the Russian population has round-the-clock access to e-government platforms, the use of which also helps to eliminate corruption and errors, said Alexey Volin, vice-minister of digital development, communications and mass media of the Russian Federation, reported the Myanmar Times.

U Soe Thein, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Communications, said: “We are trying to promulgate a cyber law to cover e-government, e-commerce and cyber security. We are currently working with the World Bank to draft this legislation. We are waiting for the next step which is to conduct public consultations for the draft law.”

The Russians are also keen to help local broadcast media transition from analog to digital transmission. “Russia has 98.6 percent digital transmission coverage, the bulk of which is free of charge,” Mr Volin said, adding that Russia can also help local companies invest in the right equipment and infrastructure to make the transition.

But U Win Naing, senior managing director of Shwe Than Lwin Media, which owns Sky Net, said the biggest hurdle to adopting digital transmission in Myanmar is cost and terrain. “Myanmar is a big country with lots of mountainous terrain, so the infrastructure needed for digital is very expensive,” he said.

He added that “Myanmar currently uses satellite transmission, which is the quickest way to reach the whole country, as of today.”

Mr Volin said one of the deciding factors for Russia to switch to full digital broadcast is to allow the people free access to television. While the initial capital investment is high, going digital is ultimately cheaper than satellite access, for which users have to pay regularly.

U Win Naing said Myanmar and the rest of the Asean region is priming for a 2020 goal to switch fully to digital broadcasting.

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