Affordable internet access is crucial to the growth of developing nations, World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee said in the opening session of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2013. He was speaking via satellite link on the opening day of this year’s Abu Dhabi Media Summit, held under the patronage of HH General Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and attended by HH Sheikh Nayhan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development, and Minister of State HE Sultan Al Jaber.
The Summit opened with a welcoming address by the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit and Chairman of twofour54, HE Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, who said we must embrace the opportunities presented by developments in technology.
In a conversation with the Financial Times’ Matt Garrahan, Sir Berners-Lee spoke on topics including the importance of affordable and easy internet access for people in developing countries and the issue of internet privacy versus the monitoring of governments and other authorities.
Sir Berners-Lee, who recently launched the Alliance for Affordable Internet Access, said: “When you get connectivity to the web it puts you in a different class of people. People now online in rural villages in Africa, start to join social networks in their own country to enable business. They join social networks with others countries, which is very important in delivering healthcare and part of its education.
“If there is an important message to get out about an epidemic, or food, or how to deal with crop disease, when you have internet infrastructure it spreads very quickly. It is an important tool for delivering healthcare as well as commerce.”
Sir Berners-Lee also spoke about the issue of on-line privacy – and said that while this was important, “whistleblowers” perform an important role in monitoring people in positions of authority.
Hundreds of key influencers from the global media industry have gathered at the fourth Abu Dhabi Media Summit, that was held from October 22 -24 at the Yas Viceroy to examine the latest trends and challenges in the sector, with a focus on leveraging opportunities in the digital age.