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Governments' Woeful Y2K Web Sites Could Harm Confidence

Governments need to provide more online Y2K information to bolster confidence among the world's citizens, according to a July survey conducted by an international Y2K watch group. The International Y2K Cooperation Center (IY2KCC), released its survey of Y2K-oriented Web sites of 107 national governments that found 22 "highly informative," with 15 "somewhat informative," and 23 providing "limited" information. Forty-seven of the Web sites did not provide information in English -- which the group considered a prerequisite to being informative. Some countries that lack Y2K Web sites may have other types of Y2K outreach programs that don't use the Web, but the group reviewed Web sites because they are the fastest way to reach the public, says Bruce McConnell, director of IY2KCC. The IY2KCC maintains that countries that disclose more Y2K readiness information will be more likely to maintain public confidence in their own countries and in international markets. The 22 countries with "highly informative" Y2K Web sites include: Australia, Botswana, Canada, Chile, France, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, the UK, and the U.S. The 15 somewhat informative Y2K Web sites were maintained by the governments of: Azerbaijan, Austria, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Sweden, and Switzerland. Limited information was found on the 23 Y2K Web sites of the governments of: Albania, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Malta, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Swaziland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. The IY2KCC did not assess sites that lacked English language versions because of the feeling that to be effective in the international finance community and the press, English language publicity is essential. The IY2KCC was established in February 1999 under United Nations auspices with World Bank funding.

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