The Pacific Islands region is in the midst of an information and communications technology (ICT) revolution that could have major implications, particularly for democratic governance and the region’s development. In urban, and increasingly in rural settings, Pacific Islanders are using new digital tools to communicate, form online networks and coordinate.
Approximately 60 per cent of Pacific Islanders now have access to a mobile phone and this figure continues to climb. Mobile Internet is leapfrogging obvious barriers to Internet access such as geographical remoteness, financial cost and availability. A boom in mobile phone use has facilitated the rise of social media in the Pacific.
This Lowy Institute paper describes some of the early impacts of the region’s ICT revolution. In particular, the combination of these powerful digital tools has given Pacific Islanders greater opportunity to harness, influence and promote political and social change in the region. Led by bloggers, digital entrepreneurs and social media groups in Papua New Guinea, a Pacific ‘digital generation’ is emerging that is playing an increasingly influential role in society.