BERLIN, Germany, 29 January 2006
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) provides online coverage of the World Social Forums (WSFs) happening on three continents this year. While Bamako hosted the first in a series of three consecutive WSFs*, Caracas is presently filling up with participants from the world of NGOs, grassroots social movements and the socially engaged from all over the Americas.
During 10 days, between January 19 and 29, follow frequent updates on APC blogs, articles on ICT-related workshops and conferences with APCNews, as well as in-depth reports on GenderIT.org and the Africa and Latin American & the Caribbean ICT policy monitor portals.
APC is on the ground to offer you first hand accounts of the latest themes at stake in these international forums of the non-governmental and activist sector. Under the never-dying banner of “Another World is possible”, a special axis focuses on communication issues, while another one looks into gender topics and the state of women’s movements in Africa and the Americas.
Among the thousands of participants in Caracas, many social techies and internet artisans for sustainable development prepare to unroll new technical platforms, launch fresh communication coalitions and dialogue about free and open source software.
As original Spanish-language coverage, Clio Bugel, information facilitator of the Latin America & Caribbean ICT policy monitor (lac.derechos.apc.org) will not only represent APC at the CRIS campaign** events, but also blog and interview several communication advocates from Latin America.
Along with several meetings and workshops following-up on last November’s UN-organised World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), speakers from alternative news organisations discuss the democratisation of media access, copyright, as well as the gaps opening in the monopoly of major global media. Version II of the World Information and Communication Forum (first held in 2005 in Porto Alegre) is coordinated by Ciranda (ciranda.net), Le Monde Diplomatique, Inter Press Service (ipsterraviva.net), Novib Oxfam and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).
The latter is not to be mistaken with another major regrouping bound to make noise. The launch of the Continental Campaign for Communication Rights (tecnica.movimientos.org/derechos-comunicacion) is happening on January 26, between 8h30 and 11h30 at the Caracas Hilton, Gran Salón, room A. Expect news about this ambitious new venture promoted by APC WNSP (Women’s Networking Support Programme) and the APC ICT policy monitor for the LAC region.
Three representatives of the Brazilian APC member RITS (Information Network for the Third Sector) are showcasing analysis of the influence and meaning of a 6th polycentric World Social Forum on fsm2006.rits.org.br. The Portuguese-language website is taking a specific look at the Brazilian participation and links to other sources like the excellent “X-Ray of the 2005 Forum Participation” project, launched on January 24 by IBASE, the Brazilian Institute for Social and Economical Analysis.
RITS representative Graciela Selaimen will be scrutinising the WSF from a gender perspective and publicise her articles on GenderIT.org, the authority in Gender & ICT analysis.
Ten delegates of Quebec-based APC member Alternatives will also be present at the many venues of Caracas which range from university colleges, tents, art centres, parks, hotel lobbies and even museums, in order to present a total of three workshops. One of these workshops, organised in partnership with Brazilian NGO Terrazul is about an ‘Agenda 21’ designed to help foster a participatory democracy for sustainable development. It will be held on the 27th and 28th of January.
Some of Alternatives’ delegates will write French and English language workshop and conference reports for APCNews (APC.org), snapshots of participants and lively blog entries on APC’s trilingual blogs: blog.apc.org/es
Several collaborators have started sending in their blog updates and articles as the Caracas WSF gets going. Keep your eyes open for what promises to be a colourful happening. Apart from ICTs and internet related issues, you might read blog posts about the hip hop festival against AIDS or world circus and theatre performances.
Bamako is hosting its first WSF ever. Inversely proportional to the North’s media coverage, the Bamako WSF organisers have put an extremely interesting, impressive and varied blend of workshops and cultural events together.
From Bamako, read the inspiring stories by Brenda Zulu. Known for direct and refreshing writing style often found on GenderIT.org and Feminist Talk, Brenda tells us what 70% of Bamako’s WSF participants are up to. Read her assessment of the World Court of Women that saw women testify about resistance to wars, wars of globalisation, and the wars against women in a poetic and visual manner. Her invaluable contributions also dig into technologies implications in Africa in her latest blog post titled ‘Feminist dialogue urges women to embrace ICTs’ (blog.apc.org/en)
Alternatives, the APC member from Quebec has participated in several workshops planned by Alternatives International, a newly created international network including 10 organisations from Canada, the U.S., France, Niger, Mali, South Africa, Palestine, India and Morocco. Posts have started coming in on the French language blogue.apc.org including a live account of day 1.
For more information visit APC’s website at : http://www.apc.org
Contact: Frédéric Dubois, APC information coordinator, frederic
* The Karachi Social Forum will be held later this year due to the humanitarian crisis that has ensued from the earthquake that hit northern Pakistan October 2005.
** CRIS stands for Communication Rights in the Information Society. It is an international network of social activists working for a new order of communication rooted in the concept of the common good. The CRIS campaign holds a major event called “Communications rights, communication justice” on January 27 between 15.30 and 18.30 in room PE.02 of the Parque del Este, Estacionamiento este.