After lifting the nationwide Facebook ban on May 31, the Lahore High Court directed authorities to devise methods to permanently block “blasphemous content” on the internet in Pakistan. “We believe that this order will be misused by the government to block citizens access to online activism and curb voices against corruption and corrupt practices by the government functionaries and that an open internet is essential in the fight for transparency,” says internet rights defender Bytes For All.
Coinciding with World Environment Day EngageMedia is launching a curated compilation of videos that deal with climate change issues from an Asia-Pacific perspective. Time for Reel Action (T4RA) is a video compilation of climate change stories that explores the impacts, the action and climate solutions emerging from the region.
The Republic of Korea has one of the highest percentages of broadband internet connectivity in the world, yet it trails miserably behind on internet freedoms, said a UN Special Rapporteur on a recent visit to the country. APC member Jinbonet reports that “Freedom of expression on the internet in South Korea is facing a serious crisis.” Koreans who criticise the government have to be prepared to allow articles be deleted or face prosecution.
Third regional Latin American and the Caribbean preparatory meeting for the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
APC, the NUPEF Institute, and the Regional Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC) are pleased to announce the Third Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) which will take place on 3-5 August 2010 in the city of Quito, Ecuador.
APC starts research into spectrum regulation in Brazil, India, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa
Every thirty months the amount of information that can be transmitted over a wireless internet connection has the potential to double. Wireless could be the way to provide affordable broadband to millions of people currently living with poor connectivity. However the policy and regulation related to spectrum is often inefficient, secretive and ill-informed. APC’s new research will examine how spectrum is assigned, who assigns it and what policy or regulatory framework they use.
Pakistanis woke up on Thursday 20 May to find sites like Facebook and YouTube blocked after a government crackdown on “blasphemous” websites. “We consider this ban unnecessary, based on wrongful accusations against civil liberties and it will further instigate hatred among international Muslim and non-Muslim communities,” APC member Bytes For All tells APCNews. In an update, we are told that more than 1000 sites are now being blocked. “We are in the midst of a major crisis,” says Bytes For All.
Not even a year after APC member Digital Empowerment Foundation set up a centre in the small town of Chanderi, where weavers could create new designs on computers, lives like those of young Mohammad Furqan have take an unexpected turn for the better. The town and initiative have become an inspiration to reproduce throughout the entire country.
For four days from March 31, fifteen women gathered at the Feminist Tech Exchange in the Brazzaville (Congo) Digital Campus. Participants and trainers alike came from human and women’s rights organisations, the media and politics to learn more about how to use technology to end violence against women and girls. APC member Azur Développement was involved in putting on the event which talked about the hows and whys of blogging, using video, audio and mobile phones, as well as social networking. The FTX is a part of the APC’s Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women project in twelve countries. Watch the video of the event (in French).
Last year, rural non-profit the Fantsuam Foundation trained almost six hundred locals in computing to improve their livelihoods – but only one was a person with physical disabilities. Now incorporating JAWS – a Job Access With Speech screen reader – Fantsuam will open their basic and advanced computer skills classes to people who can’t see.
While the Indian government attempts to include gender on the official agenda in traditional sectors like health and education, gender within the technology sphere is a relatively new concept in India and one that government officials are just not ready to take seriously. They are not convinced by recent findings on the disempowerment of women into rural e-governance in Chhattisgarh, India’s poorest state, and this has been a challenge for lead researcher Dr. Anupama Saxena, a political scientist. Saxena tells APCNews about the struggle to be taken seriously and how the GEM, APC’s Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM), has given her the credibility and confidence to tackle policy makers head-on.
The United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals is coming up from 20-22 September in New York. APC member SANGONeT is holding an e-consultation open to all African citizens interest in reviewing progress made and setting priorities. David Barnard, executive director, talks about the African agenda and how your opinion is crucial.
South Asia is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing mobile markets, surpassing traditional media like television, radio, printed press and newer media like the internet. And mobile platforms are becoming the natural choice for extending digital services – SMS and basic voice to smart phones and enterprise workflow. Mobile is the choice for new content and services. APC member Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and the Government of India launches a new award to recognise the best mobile applications in the region with awards in ten categories “Find out more about the mBillionth award”:http://mbillionth.in/.
APC, the world’s longest-running network, celebrates our 20th anniversary in May 2010. Twenty years networking online for social justice and sustainable development. Send your message and memories (you must be logged in to send a message, you can also comment on other posts). Share old photos and videos with us (you can tag them “APC” and don’t forget to add descriptions so we know who’s in the picture). And thank you for helping make APC what it is today!
Proposals to fight cybercrime have been floating around in Brazil for more than a decade but the backers – primarily banks and music companies worried about internet fraud and unauthorised music sharing – couldn’t find public or parliamentary support till they switched their focus to child pornography. Lula has refused to sanction online censorship and the government has opened a public consultation on what a civil law to regulate the internet should look like. EroTICs researchers Corrêa, Maria and Queiroz explore the history of the Brazilian regulation debate and conclude that the time is ripe to talk about rights – and for feminists and sexual rights activists to get involved. Photo: “Mike Vondran”:http://www.flickr.com/people/over_kind_man/
Two out of three gay South African respondents to an online survey said that going online had helped them accept their sexual orientation and many admitted to coming out online before they did so offline. But the voices of transgender people rarely appear in studies and surveys. To address the gap, APC EroTICs researcher Jeanne Prinsloo of the University of Grahamstown looks at the use of a transgender site which provides a critical space for trans people to lurk and listen to ideas and debates that are not present in mainstream sites, to rehearse their new identity and to assess the risks they might take. Image: “Gender Dynamix”:http://www.genderdynamix.co.za/
Freedom of speech and its flipside, access to information, is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. However federally-funded libraries are required to prevent people under eighteen accessing “harmful” content. Kevicha Echols and Melissa Ditmore investigate the use of internet filters on public library computers and find that measures adopted by libraries range from installation of filtering software on all computers for child and adult use to no filters at all! The law is being implemented differently varying across city, county and state. Sectors of the society most likely to be affected by this ad hoc censorship are young people and the economically-disadvantaged who rely particularly on library computers to access online information. Photo: “FallWithMe”:http://www.flickr.com/people/fallwithme/
The proliferation of sexual content on the internet and the considerable size of the pornography market online is a concern to lots of different groups. However while the online adult sex industry accounts for 12% of web pages, the internet has also been used to express and explore a range of sexual experiences, relationships and content that cannot be considered “harmful”. This kind content is very important to people’s right to freedom of expression and right to information. Especially for people who have little access to resources, rights and spaces in the “off-line” world. Learn more about these issues and the research that APC is doing to understand them better.
“The gay rights movement in Lebanon would not be anywhere near where it is today if it weren’t for the internet”. In the midst of strongly censored neighbours, Lebanon enjoys online freedom that is hampered only by very slow and very expensive internet connections – but is that freedom there to stay? In a country where homosexuality is punishable by upto two years in prison, Nadine Moawad assesses the role of the internet in the rise of sexual rights activism in Lebanon and asks if Lebanon’s strict social controls are about to encompass the internet. Photo: “Laura Burlton”:http://www.flickr.com/people/lauraburlton/
“And I can chat with you baby / Flirt a little, maybe / But does your mother know that you’re out ?” Twenty-something middle-class women in Mumbai, the city with the highest internet use in India, talk about how they explore their sexuality online, how they present themselves however they want and how they deal with risky situations. Photo: “Jef Harris”:http://www.flickr.com/people/jefharris/
“If a boy wants to attend a computer course community members encourage him but if a girl wants to go elders ask her why she wants to complicate her life,” says Dhaka-based Mahmud Hasan. In a country where one in every two males accesses information online yet only three in a hundred Bangladeshi women do, access for schoolgirls is not just about the availability of computers and classes. For girls, it requires the support of the entire community and flexible school schedules as revealed by a study using APC’s Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM).