Friday, April 26, 2013

Pakistan Needs to Improve its framework on Intellectual Property Protection

Pakistan Needs to Improve its framework on Intellectual Property Protection

On the World Intellectual Property Rights Day 2013, MishalPakistan, a country partner institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the World Economic Forum shared the State of IPR in Pakistan.

The country is not being able to improve the environment to protect the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Pakistan is showing substantial deterioration on the indicators to improve the IPR, Pakistan now stands at 106 among 144 countries on Intellectual Property Protection, as compared to 86 in 2010. The trend shows 20% decline in IP protection in the country, announced Mishal sharing the data on IPR from the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum.

On the other hand, an enabling framework required to create intellectual asset in the system continues to perform poor. The capacity of research institutions and private sector spending on scientific research and development has been stagnant for the past three years. This is causing the country to lose its competitiveness by not being able to create implementation mechanism for the citizens to protect their intellectual property.

The University-Industry Collaboration is also a matter of concern in Pakistan as more emphasis is being put on non-research initiatives or research in isolation from the industry. This also indicates that the businesses in Pakistan are not benefiting from the R&D being done in academic and research institutions across the country, resulting in lack of indigenous solutions for the local and international challenges.

Although Pakistan has shown improvements on the number of applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) per million populations, where Pakistan stands at 88 among 144 countries globally, a thirty percent improvement as compared to 2010.

The recent developments and initiatives by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan to encourage academia and research institutions to file for patents has resulted in more applications filed for patents in the country, however the lack of expertise and understanding about new ideas and innovations at the Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) has hampered IPR activities in the country.

Pakistan adopted the Intellectual Property Rights Act in December last year, which protects the Intellectual Property Rights including copyrights, trademarks, patents, designs, lay-out designs of integrated circuits, trade secrets and other intellectual property laws; supported by other laws are powerful tools for economic growth. The protection of these and similar intellectual property rights of the citizens is essential to foster creative thinking, stimulate creativity, provide incentives for technological innovations, and attract investment.

An increase in patent filing and lack of capacity of IPO to decide on patent declarations can create a serious situation for IPR appreciation in the country, said Amir Jahangir, CEO of Mishal Pakistan. Intellectual property protection is important for recognizing and respecting creative and intellectual work in a knowledge-based society.

Mishal Pakistan is the partner institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Networks, World Economic Forum. Mishal assists the forum in creating the soft-data on Pakistan, identifying Pakistan’s competitiveness challenges. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Media Unite to Promote Ethical Coverage of Election

Media Unite in Pakistan to Promote Ethical Coverage of Election 2013

On the day that the battle for votes in next month’s historic elections formally commenced, Pakistan media leaders launched their own campaign – to make reporting of the upcoming national vote to be safe, professional and fair to all parties.

Media Guidelines for Elections 2013 in Pakistan in the picture (R-L): 
Arif Nizami, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, 
Aidan White, Director of the Ethical Journalism and European Union, 
Election Observer Mission’s media analyst Inta Lase
As the Election Commission of Pakistan announced the final list of the candidates for the May 11 vote, broadcasters, publishers and editorial executives across all platforms of media highlighted an unprecedented agreement on media guidelines that aims to ensure fair reporting of the election and to avoid all forms of hate speech and incitement to violence.

The Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Arif Nizami speaking at the meeting of the media and support groups in Islamabad, “Forum on Media Guidelines for 2013 Election” said that the guidelines were essential to ensure a truly democratic vote.

He also said that all journalists and media must be able to report freely without any threat to their security and safety. “Media play a pivotal role in a democratic transition,” he said, “steps should be taken to ensure that they are able to report freely without any threats.”

Earlier, the meeting heard from the European Union, Election Observer Mission’s media analyst Inta Lase, who is helping a team of experts to monitor the performance of selected media outlets in their coverage of the election.

She said a sample of major media had been selected for monitoring.

The team will analyze the time allocated to each party to ensure balanced access for all political parties. They will also identify hate speech and monitor the tone of reporting to test whether the coverage is positive, negative or neutral.

The media guidelines are the result of detailed discussions between the Election Commission of Pakistan, South Asian Free Media Association, Pakistan Broadcasting Association, All Pakistan Newspaper Society, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Pakistan Television, National Press Club, Press Council of Pakistan, and the Pakistan Federation Union of Journalists.

The meeting discussed how to help journalists respect the guidelines.

Aidan White, Director of the Ethical Journalism Network moderating the discussion, said that monitoring the performance of media by journalists themselves is vital to the success of the guidelines project. He said media self-assessment would reinforce standards, correct mistakes and strengthen the independence of journalism for the future.

Mr. White was supported by the Election Commission of Pakistan representative Raja Mohammad Iftikhar, Additional Director General (Public Relations), who said that for the first time the Commission is working very effectively with the media to develop and maintain standards.

He stressed that the value of media monitoring is that it will not undermine the independence of journalism in a drastically changing environment.

Among the contributors to the discussion was All Pakistan Newspaper Society, President Sarmad A. Ali who said, that the APNS is in the process of circulating the guidelines to all the member organizations. Meanwhile, the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) will be holding training sessions for the editorial executives on the guidelines.

The Director General of Pakistan Radio, Murtaza Solangi, said that, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation had initiated a top-to-bottom process of informing executives and journalists about the guidelines to ensure that they are put into effect.

The meeting agreed to the following:

  • Media guidelines should be distributed internally to all editorial executives and news journalists for organising election coverage and reporting
  • Guidelines should be published widely to encourage public engagement in the work of creating a comprehensive and inclusive public debate around the elections
  • The process of monitoring of media performance should continue after the vote, when the media will be invited to review the impact of the guidelines and will prepare new strategies and structures for coverage and monitoring of future elections.

The forum was organized as a joint collaboration between Democracy Reporting International and Coalition for Ethical Journalism including other stakeholders and media support groups.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The role of ICT for sustained economic growth and job creation is crucial to improve Pakistan’s competitiveness

Pakistan lost 3 ranks on the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index (NRI), securing 105th position among 144 countries on the Global Information Technology Report 2013.

Despite efforts in the past decade to improve information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructure in developing economies, there remains a new digital divide in how countries harness ICT to deliver competitiveness and well-being, according to the 12th edition of The Global Information Technology Report, released today by the World Economic Forum.
Published under the theme, Growth and Jobs in a Hyperconnected World, the Report suggests that national policies in some developing economies are failing to translate ICT investment into tangible benefits in terms of competitiveness, development and employment. This is in addition to the profound digital divide that already exists between advanced and developing economies in access to digital infrastructure and content.
Pakistan continues to lag behind in the rankings. Unable to achieve a sustained rapid economic growth may put Pakistan’s ICT-competitiveness in jeopardy unless the right investments are made in ICT, skills and innovation.
Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan, a partner institute of Global Competitiveness & Benchmarking Network of the World Economic Forum said, “As other countries are improving rapidly, Pakistan has shown little change, this is a matter of concern. Pakistan is 37 ranks behind India. The big challenge for the next government in Pakistan would be to put more emphasize on ICT environment and regulatory framework. The role of ICT for sustained economic growth and job creation is crucial to improve Pakistan’s competitiveness". "ICT has revolutionized the way businesses are done and the country has not being able to capitalize on this”, he further added.

Pakistan's Score on the Global Information Technology Report 2013
Some of the areas where Pakistan lost its ICT competitiveness are; govt’s procurement of advance technologies, which ranked 109 this year as compared to 91 in 2012. Although Pakistan has improved the fixed broadband Internet tariff substantially by making Pakistan the 68th most competitive broadband provider in the world, individuals using Internet, which depicts affordability of Internet for citizens is shrinking. Pakistan lost 22 points in 2013 and ranks at 120 on individuals using Internet. The report highlights that the gains in broadband affordability are being achieved by cannibalizing the individual Internet users.
Pakistan achieved significant gains in the last decades, when it embraced the mobile technologies and led the region by providing human resources capital and technical knowhow to the global pool of mobile communication providers. However this gain has been greatly diminished due to lack of advancements and inconsistency in decision making to adopt new technologies at the right time. The Importance of ICTs to govt’s vision has deteriorated from 92 to 117 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Making ICT as one of the least priority areas for the govt. in Pakistan. 

On the economic impact pillar, Pakistan failed to show progress on creating impact of ICTs on new organizational models by losing 10 points (91). Keeping businesses in mostly traditional areas and connecting Pakistan with the global knowledge economies.

Similarly, government’s failure to create social impact through ICT also showcases it’s poor understanding of innovation ecosystem and value creation for the citizens in the digital age. 

The government failed to create value through ICT use and improving efficiency, where Pakistan lost an alarming 16 points (121 among 144 countries). Not being able to improve any regulations on venture capital availability has also created a bottleneck for an innovation economy in the country. This signifies Pakistan’s lack of correlation between innovation and competitiveness with finance, thus further isolating Pakistan from moving towards a knowledge-based economy.

Pakistan also lost 15 points on the E-participation index, where government engages citizens through online services and grievance mechanism, thus resulting in stronger red-tapism slower economic progress.

On the overall political and regulatory environment, the efficiency of legal system in challenging regulations has also deteriorated, where Pakistan is ranked 97 as compared to 79 in 2013 and 2012 respectively. Intellectual property protection has also been neglected and Pakistan lost 13 points by securing 103 on the network readiness index.

Some of the areas where Pakistan has shown improvements are on the business and innovation environment pillar, where the business sector has ensured the availability of latest technologies for ICT competitiveness by improving 10 points and securing 83 rank among 144 countries.

The Report’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which measures the capacity of 144 economies to leverage ICT for growth and well-being, finds Finland (1st), Singapore (2nd) and Sweden (3rd) take the top three places. The Netherlands (4th), Norway (5th), Switzerland (6th), the United Kingdom (7th), Denmark (8th), the United States (9th), and Taiwan, China (10th) complete the top 10.

“This analysis shows how matching investments in ICT with investment in skills and innovation can help economies cross a ‘magic threshold’, beyond which return on investment increases significantly,” said Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of the e-Lab at INSEAD and co-editor of the report. “Individual countries need to identify what separates them from reaching that threshold if they have not reached it yet in order to fulfill long- term growth, competitiveness and innovation targets” he added.
“ICT’s role in supporting economic growth and the creation of high-quality jobs has never come under such scrutiny. Despite initial concerns that ICT would hasten the deployment of resources towards developing countries, the benefits of ICT are now widely recognized as an important way for companies and economies to optimize productivity, free up resources and boost innovation and job creation” said BeƱat Bilbao-Osorio, Economist, Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network, World Economic Forum, and co-editor of the report.

Against this backdrop, “countries need tools to measure and track progress and the report has become the most comprehensive and respected international assessment, providing policy-makers, business leaders and civil society at large with a useful tool for designing national strategies for increased networked readiness and for benchmarking their country’s performance against other relevant comparators” said Soumitra Dutta, Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and co-editor of the report.

“Digitization created 6 million jobs and added US$ 193 billion to the global economy in 2011. Although in aggregate positive, the impact of digitization is not uniform across sectors and economies – it creates and destroys jobs” said Bahjat El-Darwiche, Partner, Booz & Company and sponsor of the Report. He added that “policymakers wishing to accentuate the positive impact of digitization need to understand these different effects if they wish act as digital market makers in their economies.”

“This report demonstrates that economies that fail to implement comprehensive national broadband strategies risk losing ground in global competitiveness and may fall behind in the delivery of societal benefits from ICTs. Plans that incorporate both supply and demand-side measures offer countries the best opportunity to advance broadband adoption," said Dr. Robert Pepper, Vice President for Global Technology Policy, Cisco and sponsor of the report. "

The Network Readiness Index (NRI) uses a combination of data from publicly available sources and the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the Forum in collaboration with partner institutes. This Survey of more than 15,000 executives provides insight into areas critical for networked readiness.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan or national interests.