The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is observed every 17 May to mark anniversary of signing of first International Telegraph Convention (ITC) and creation of International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The purpose of the day is to help raise awareness of possibilities that use of Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge digital divide.
This year it is 50th anniversary of WTISD and is celebrated annually since 1969. It is celebrated to mark founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865.
The 2019 Theme is “Bridging the standardization gap”. It seeks highlight importance of ITU standards in accelerating ICTs for all Sustainable Development Goals. It also seeks to allow participation of developing countries in ITU's standards-making process.
About International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
- It is United Nations specialised agency that coordinate telecommunication operations and services throughout world. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It was originally founded in 1865, as International Telegraph Union. This makes it oldest existing international organization. It is member of UNDP.
- Membership: It has total 193 countries as its members and also 800 private-sector entities such like carriers, equipment manufacturers and academic institutions etc,
- It consists of three sectors: (i) Radiocommunication (ITU-R): It ensures optimal, fair and rational use of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. (ii) Telecommunication Standardization (ITU-T): It formulates recommendations for standardizing telecommunication operations worldwide. (iii) Telecommunication Development (ITU-D): It assists countries in developing and maintaining internal communication operations.
- Functions: It sets and publishes regulations and standards relevant to electronic communication and broadcasting technologies of all kinds including radio, television, telephone, satellite and internet. It helps emerging countries to establish and develop telecommunication systems of their own. It conducts working parties, study groups and meetings to address current and future issues and to resolve disputes. It recommendations are non-binding but it member countries adhere to them in interest of maintaining effective international electronic communication environment. It organizes and conducts exhibition and forum known as the Global TELECOM every four years.
- India and ITU: India is active member of ITU since 1869. It has been regular member of ITU Council since 1952. In November 2018, India was elected as Member of the ITU Council for another 4-year term (2019-2022). In March 2019, ITU had decided to set up ITU South Asia Area Office and Technology Innovation Centre in New Delhi.