Consumer Rights Day 2017
A Digital Sri Lanka Consumers Can Trust
The global economy is changing rapidly towards a digital economy and all stakeholders throughout the globe is working towards building a digital world consumers can trust. Consumers International has declared 2017 consumer rights day theme as “Consumer Rights in the Digital Age” considering its contemporary significance for developing as well as developed countries in the world. Over 3 billion or 40% of the world’s population is online now, compared with just 1% in 1995, with all projections suggesting this number will continue to rise. Although this still leaves many consumers who are struggling to access these technologies, rapid growth of the internet and its usage becomes a vital trend of e-marketing. The rapid increase of smart mobile phone usage and other digital devices has created opportunities as well as challenges for millions of consumers around the world.
Currently Sri Lanka has 6 million internet users and it is 29% of the total population. The internet has changed life style of people and people tend to log on to the internet for their entertaining purposes rather than watching television or listening to radio. According to the ITU statistics, Sri Lanka has relatively high mobile penetration than the regional average. The population falls between the age groups of 25 to 34 years account for the highest number of users with the 35 to 44 years and 18 to 24 age groups falling in second and third places respectively.
Internet is now penetrating in to the rural Sri Lanka. The mobile dominance, high demand for local language content, are the key reasons for this trend. Sri Lanka is going to experience a new user category of internet, who have never touched desk top or lap top computer before, but spending around 5 hours per day browsing face book on their mobile. They have no knowledge about their own privacy on the internet, and they have no respect of the privacy of others. Responsible use of social media has become one of the major concerns.
Even though consumers undoubtedly benefit from the increased access, choice and convenience that these technologies deliver, questions remain about how to improve the quality of services which provides trustworthy and cost effective services via online servers. Concerns over what happens to the data they share online and what consumers’ rights and inherited consumer ethics that relate with digital products will affect their buying behaviors. Therefore, consumer awareness and empowerment plays a vital role in promoting the use of digital technology in effective manner. In order to harness the benefit of digital revolution for the economic and social development of Sri Lanka all stake holders have a collective responsibility to place consumer in the central point in implementing all projects.
National Conference and Workshop for the Consumer Rights Day 2017
In line with World Consumer Rights Day 2017, Ministry of Industry & Commerce and Ministry of Telecommunication & Digital Infrastructure, under the active involvement of Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), and Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) has organized the National Conference and Workshop under the theme “A Digital Sri Lanka
Consumers Can Trust”. The National Conference will take place at Nelum Pokuna Auditorium on 15th March 2017 and this will be followed by the Workshop to be held on 16th March 2017 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. In order to promote the theme the CAA has planned to launch a social media campaign, Video competition, Creative Article competition and Twitter competition parallel to the National conference and workshop.
The objective of this event is to build up a dialog among key stakeholders on the theme and to facilitate policy recommendations required to strengthen the digital rights of consumers.
“A Digital Sri Lanka Consumers can Trust” campaign will promote access, participation and innovation which will benefit consumers, industry, economy and society in large. World Consumer Rights day 2017 is an excellent opportunity which gathers all stakeholders in one forum in order to ascertain new initiatives required to promote digital economy in Sri Lanka.
Representatives of all stakeholders such as government officials, industry partners, school children and university students, academia, researchers, consumer groups & activists, media, special interest groups will be invited for the Conference. Themes such as Digital Sri Lanka, Consumer Rights in Digital Age-Sri Lankan Context, Regional and Global Consumer Trends, Issues and Developments in Digital Age, E-Commerce and Online Services-Opportunities and Challenges, Strategies to make Sri Lanka a Digitally Inclusive Country etc. will be focused at the conference. The winners of Video Competition, Creative Article Competition and Twitter Competition will be awarded at the conference. Further the organizers are planning to launch a Social Media Management Platform for the CAA.
The main objective of the workshop scheduled on 16th March is to critically evaluate and understand the existing situation of the Sri Lankan digital consumer in order to draft policy recommendations and a road map to strengthen consumer rights in the digital era. This forum will consist of intellectuals, industry partners, researchers, academics, sector regulators, policy makers and consumer activists. All stakeholders concerns and views will be reviewed in the workshop under consumer, industry, policy making and regulatory perspectives. Sri Lankan Digital Consumer in today’s context, Key consumer issues of Sri Lankan Digital Consumers and their Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of Digital Consumer in Sri Lanka, Legal Framework for Safe Digital Consumer will be given due consideration under the consumer perspective. Under the industry perspective expansion of e commerce in Sri Lanka, what more to be done?, review of current regulation related to digital industry etc. will be discussed and reviewed. Valuable insights generated in the workshop will contribute to prepare the policy document on road map to promote and strengthen the campaign on “A Digital Sri Lanka Consumers can Trust “
Director Consumer Affairs and Information