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Potraz promoting online content in local languages

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BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) is promoting the creation of online content in local languages to support inclusive internet usage.

Addressing the World Summit of Information Society Forum (WSIS) on Wednesday, Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said the localised internet content would be shared through community information centres.

“In order to maximise the benefits of community information centres to local communities, there is need for these centres to have local content relating to localised economic and social activities including local tourism, produce markets, weather patterns and community meetings, among other things,” Machengete said.

“The advent of information communication technologies saw the development of the digital divide, as content especially on the internet follows a cultural and linguistic perspective of content creators. As a result, the divide actually keeps widening as the internet does not promote cultural diversity, heritage of minority groups, linguistic diversity and local content creation. In fact, the internet promotes the widening of the  gap between cultural and linguistic groups.”

Machengete bemoaned limited investment in translating content into minority languages, which had caused the dominance of content in a select few languages.

“As long as there is not enough investment in translating content on the internet to all languages then others will always be left behind,” Machengete said.

“Irrelevant content which reflects language, lifestyles and concerns that do not address the needs of residents of developing countries, is a challenge that needs to be addressed,” he added.

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