17th May: World Telecommunication and Information Society Day
Written by Roneel Narayan on May 17, 2022
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is celebrated annually on May 17 to raise awareness about the opportunities and possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) brings to nations, societies, and economies.
It also aims to spread awareness about the ways to bridge the digital divide.
History and significance
WTISD marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The event started in 1969, and the day was celebrated as World Telecommunication Day to commemorate the creation of the International Telecommunication Union on May 17, 1865.
In 2005, however, the World Summit on the Information Society urged the UN General Assembly to declare May 17 as World Information Society Day (WISD). In March 2006, the UN General Assembly resolved that WISD would take place every year on May 17.
Later in 2006, the ITU in a Plenipotentiary Conference in Turkey’s Antalya decided to combine both the events and name it World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD).
WTISD 2022 Theme
This year’s theme for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is “Digital technologies for Older Persons and Healthy Ageing”. The theme emphasises the importance of using telecommunications and information communication technologies (ICTs) for the elderly to stay healthy, connected and independent on a physical, emotional and financial level. Ageing of the global population will be a defining demographic trend of the 21st century.
However, societies still struggle to see the opportunities that this trend can bring. Telecommunications and ICTs have a great role to play in achieving healthier ageing and help build smarter cities, combat age-based discrimination at the workplace, ensure financial inclusion of older persons and support caregivers.