At a presentation at APC’s national ICT policy workshop currently going on in London, I was shocked to see a map in a presentation by Russell Southwood which shows how poorly connected Africa is with submarine internet fibre.
South Asia-based BytesForAll‘s newest member, Nalaka Gunawardene of Sri Lanka, who is a veteran journalist and observer of the “ICT4D” (information and communication technologies for development) field, was there at the launch of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN-GAID) in mid June 2006 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He wonders whether the newly-formed UN-GAID will manage to connect disparate initiatives, enhancing or multiplying their impact? Or might it evolve into another self-serving bureaucracy, competing with everyone else for limited resources, media attention and people’s time?
An ant, they say, can infuriate an elephant. That is, if the ant choose the right target, and goes into the elephant’s ear. In the Egyptian world of technology, an 24-year-old engineer is doing the same by giving a voice to protest that’s otherwise stifled in that part of the globe.
Alaa has finally be released after 45 days in prison. We heard the good news from Manal earlier this week. Here is a news report from the The Independent published on 21 June 2006.
Supposedly the birthday should be a bright day, with pleasant weather, gifts, lots of flowers, hundreds of birthday wishes via SMS and emails, sumptuous ice cream cake, dinner party with friends etc. However, this wasn’t the case on my birthday this year.
Says Amnesty International: "Independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas has been staging a hunger strike since 31 January 2006 to obtain access to internet for all Cubans. Internet remains under governmental control, accessible only through official organizations or at hotels from where Cuban nationals are normally barred".
Check this out! It’s a letter to the editors of the New York Review of Books, sent by Ahdaf Soueif, the aunt of incarcerated Alaa Abd El-Fatah.
She says: "During the last month Egyptian state security forces have arrested close to eight hundred citizens for (peacefully) demonstrating solidarity with Egyptian judges demanding the independence of the judiciary (see www .baheyya.blogspot.com). […] Among the young activists still in custody in Tora jail is my nephew, Alaa Abd El-Fatah. Because he is a prominent computer man and blogger he has become the centerpiece of the campaign to free all the detainees."
Internews Pakistan (http://www.internews.org.pk) compiles an annual State of the Media in Pakistan report. The one for the year 2005-06 has recently been launched. Welcoming the report, Hasan Rizvi, one of the pioneers in ICTs and development communications guru in the country commented that "The report is somewhat sketchy, especially in terms of media’s coverage/access (geographic, demographic, ethnic, as well as thematic), the issues related to plurality, gender and the vast under-privileged sections of the society. That’s hardly surprising for it is compiled from media practitioners point of view, and as such, the citizens’ perspective is missing " .
Alaa is fine, treatment is fine in prison..the problem is in the state security.. they can interfere with any other authorities.
100-Dollar Laptop: UN Secretary General’s Office shouldn’t be used for exploiting the poor
My eyes were stuck to the news that the UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan, while launching a 100-Dollar Laptop, on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, Tunisia, said “the invention is an impressive technical achievement.