Privatisation without regulation does not necessarily improve service delivery, and may even decrease access to information and communication technology for the poor. This is the view of US-based academic and ICT policy analyst Robert Horwitz, who was speaking at a one-week research workshop held in Johannesburg in July 2008. Horwitz is no newcomer to South Africa, or to the politics behind antennas, cables and wires.
On July 29, free thinkers and open culture activists from around the world gathered on Hokkaidō island, Japan. What is so free and open about this venue, traditionally inhabited by the Ainu People? The fourth edition of the global ICommons ISummit, reply those converging on the island’s city, Sapporo. The summit is set to “grow the commons” until August 1 and beyond, as participants – among them APC members and staff – will advocate for open content, open education, do-it-yourself video, and academic research on free culture.
>>Read Natalie Brown’s blog post on linguistic diversity at iSummit 08
>>Watch Andrew Garton’s in-the-field video, asking the question, what is the commons?
As part of the TRICALCAR project a set of seven new training modules, which the WILAC network is pleased to share with its African counterpart, has been made available. The modules range from WiMax to energy for telecommunications systems, visiting VoIP, long distance wireless links and community, gender and technology on the way. There are even sustainability strategies and network planning modules.
As new copyright laws attempt to keep pace with the shifting landscape of digital cultural production, legal restrictions on media use and distribution are being championed by heavyweights in the global media industry. This has led to the web of restrictions on media consumption becoming denser. Civil society network APC hopes to re-shape the discourse surrounding piracy by providing a thoroughly researched, credible alternative to the industry’s data.
At the end of 2008 Dutch funder Hivos will commission an external evaluation of its ICT & Media programme “Making Civil Voices Heard” to be carried out in the course of 2009. A call for proposals & terms of reference will be circulated in October 2008 to interested evaluation researchers. People interested in receiving the terms of reference for this position should send a very brief CV to Karel Chambille, Hivos Evaluation Manager, at k.chambille[at]hivos.nl
The president of the Cameroonian non profit organisation and APC-member PROTEGE QV, Sylvie Siyam Siwe, was elected president of the GOREeTIC on Friday June 20 2008 in Senegal. She was unanimously voted in as the first president of the GOREeTIC nework – a newly created group of journalists, activists and ICT4D advocates who intend to make internet policy reform a top priority.
APC’s new member Sulá Batsu is a cooperative operating in Costa Rica since 2005. It sees itself as a collective workspace for social change. It’s experience spans over the sharing of knowledge, social economy and information and communication technologies. APCNews interviewed Margarita Salas of Sulá Batsú in order to grasp the challenges associated with the cooperative model, the opportunities and challenges that the internet represents in the Costa Rican context, the link between gender and technology and her perspective on what is referred to as social economy.
Following the IGF, APC has taken some time to reflect on its involvement at the IGF, improvements and problematic areas of the event in general, and areas APC should work on for future events.
The Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Programme is proud to announce that Take Back the Tech was awarded an honorary mention by the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica International Competition for Cyber Arts for its innovative, collaborative campaign to end violence against women.
WOUGNET has explored the use of SMS in information sharing and carrying out SMS campaigns around different themes. In a test of Mobile Advocacy Tools a campaign on ICTs and poverty reduction, was successfully carried out in April/May 2008 and proves that SMS is a powerful tool of information sharing. WOUGNET members, partners and interested persons discussed questions sent out by the secretariat on the theme, ‘ICTs: Is your wealth a click away?
This is the statement issued by civil society, gathered at the OECD ministerial conference on the future of the internet, which ended on June 18. It says: “The policy goals for the Future Internet Economy should be considered within the broader framework of protection of human rights, the promotion of democratic institutions, access to information, and the provision of affordable and non-discriminatory access to advanced communication networks and services” [pdf format].
APC welcomes its new Cambodian member, Open Institute. “We see ourselves as facilitators,” explained Chim Manavy, executive director of the start-up NGO. “We facilitate communication, knowledge-sharing and gender equity through the strategic use of ICT and of the Khmer language”. What this means on the ground, is easy to understand when one takes a look at the track record of OI’s colleagues.
The OECD ministerial meeting on “the Future of the Internet Economy” is being held in Seoul, Korea from June 17th to 18th. The Korean government seems to use this meeting as an opportunity to show off its advances of the Internet technology. However, no one would call a nation a ‘leading country of the Internet’ solely on its strong information technology base and IT industries. We hope this meeting would be a chance for the Korean government to recognize and feel embarrassed for its information and communication policies, including Internet policies, which violate many human-rights and is lagging behind. Read APC member in Korea, Jinbonet’s press release.
Anriette Esterhuysen, executive director of the APC, is one of the speakers at an OECD ministerial meeting on the future of the internet being held in South Korea on June 17-18. Over thirty ministers have confirmed they will attend the Ministerial, along with leaders from international government organisations, business, organised labour, the internet’s technical community and civil society.
PROTEGE QV talks about the celebrations of the internet day in Cameroon. They were busy organising workshops, exhibiting new tools and helping young people how to find new jobs through the net.
The wireless school connectivity project is an initiative that has connected a secondary school in a poor township of Harare to the internet, using wireless technologies. The genesis of this project was a result of the wireless skills training workshop, which took place in Pretoria, South Africa in 2005 and was facilitated by APC. Muroro Dziruni of Connect Africa in Zimbabwe tells the story of how wireless technology can work in Africa, when everyone joins in and cooperates.
News reports from South Africa are shocking. Violence unseen in years was unleashed in the poorest districts of Johannesburg, a city where APC counts four of its member organisations and many staff. From neighbouring Pretoria, Tshepo Thlaku of member Ungana-Afrika decided to act, using what he knows best: technology. He started a group on the social networking website Facebook called South Africans Against Xenophobia, Racism & Tribalism. “The group is growing fast like wild fire and there is a number of people from NGOs and church groups sharing contacts and project ideas,” Tshepo declared.
As the global community marked World Intellectual Property Day 2008, last 26th of April, an eight-country African research network was launched with a mandate to investigate the relationship between copyright and education in African countries.
A new online privacy and data protection consultancy firm called ‘80/20 Thinking’ is partnering with the internet rights network Association for Progressive Communications (APC) to support initiatives in developing countries that are working towards strengthening democratic processes and civil liberties.
APC urges International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to limit use of toxic chemicals in electronics production
APC is supporting environmentalists’ calls to the South African National Committee of the IEC to vote against Clause 7 of IEC Standard 62368. Clause 7 requires that large amounts of fire retardant chemicals be used in electronics production, despite the lack of reliable fire data showing a need for such chemicals. If passed, this clause will make it even more difficult and dangerous to recycle electronic waste, or e-waste, and may pose serious health risks to consumers.