In August, APC member SANGONeT started raising money to fund its projects in a most innovative way – executive director David Barnard will be running the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, also known as the the “big daddy of marathons” in South Africa running circles, from 17 to 23 October 2010. The week-long race covers approximately 250 km, split in six legs with daily distances ranging from 28 km to 76 km. The event takes place in the Kalahari Desert, with average daily temperatures reaching in excess of 40 °C and dropping to below 5 °C at night. You can show your support on SANGONeT’s Facebook page, or donate to SANGONeT online. Photo: Photo:http://www.extrememarathons.com/augrabies/
After regional IGF processes in the US, UK and Kenya have demonstrated that national discussions can have an impact at the global level on issues such as child pornography and internet security, West Africa will host its first regional IGF from August 23 to 25 in Dakar Senegal, in part thanks to APC. The space for policy dialogue on Internet Governance will allow for issues that are particular to West Africa to be discussed by the different stakeholders.
Attempts to get human rights on the internet onto the agenda at the Fifth Internet Governance Forum –the UN conference now in its possibly final edition— which is to take place in September foundered in the face of government resistance. And the IGF agenda for 2010 will focus on development and internet governance. However Vilnius will be the scenario to shape a debate on censorship, freedom of expression and privacy that has been clamouring for attention. APC and partners will hold a discussion on internet governance and human rights immediately before the IGF in Vilnius, Lithuania on September 13.
APC´s gender and ICT policy site GenderIT.org speaks with Sylvie Niombo and Françoise Mukuku, ICT activists from the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They discuss the internet, mobile phones and how they are being used in their countries to reduce incidence of violence against women and how conversely they aggravate violence and lead to violation of privacy laws. They also explain why access to ICTs is critical for the achievement of the third Millennium Development Goal on women´s empowerment. Photo: Françoise Mkuku helps a friend with bluetooth
A recent consultation held by APC in Buenos Aires found that cell phones are becoming increasingly regarded as a way for men to harrass and monitor their wives and girlfriends. While a number of laws protecting women’s rights have just been passed, they are yet to be tested in court. This GenderIT.org article looks at the current legislation regarding violence and technology, the gaps that exist and what grass-roots organisations are advocating for. Photo: APC WNSP
While women’s rights activists have been at the forefront of making the private crimes that occur at home – domestic violence, marital rape – public, new technologies are making the private public in ways that disenfranchise, alienate and violate women. Esther Nasikye and Sally-Jean Shackleton explore how ICTs, privacy and domestic violence in South Africa are exposing problems in both policy and practice. Photo: “John Atherton”:http://www.flickr.com/people/gbaku/
Just as women are disproportionately the victims of violence worldwide, the situation is just as bad online. The UN estimates that 95% of aggressive behaviour, harassment, abusive language and denigrating images in online spaces are aimed at women and come from partners or former male partners. Other surveys show that the victims of cyberstalking are predominantly female. As part of our Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women project, APC and partners have carried out studies of the current situation of violence against women and ICTs in twelve countries and how the legislation or lack of legislation connected to both hinders or helps women. Photo by “John Fraissinet”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jfraissi/4286109087
On an improvised stage, locals act out a play about an African-Colombian girl who feels rejected because of the colour of her skin. It’s part of a community gathering to highlight violence against women in a small sugar-plantation town a few miles from Cali. For eight months, men and women of all ages attended workshops on gender and technology as part of piloted trials of the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) in 24 government-sponsored telecentres. GEM exposed not only the stereotypes and prejudice women must face, but also the strengths that lie within women who least expected it. As a result, the entire community has come together.
Since South Korea’s conservative president was sworn in in 2008, administrative control on internet content has been getting progressively tighter in South Korea, a country with the second most connected population on Earth. Progressive groups criticise the government’s “three cyber evils”: the cyber insult law, the internet “real name” system and deep packet inspection to monitor and control internet communication.
At the United States Social Forum on June 24 fifty politically progressive technologists came together for the first US Progressive Techie Congress. The Congress emerged with a statement applauded by other socially-responsible networks like the APC as “a great set of principles”.
Broadband for All aims to provide broadband connectivity to South Africa’s under-served areas through a community-centric model rather than a telco-driven model. The model leverages wireless-mesh technologies to link priority government sites and high bandwidth users such as schools, municipalities and government offices, who in turn provide a link to smaller customers such as businesses, NGOs and individuals.
Rozi Bako reports that after researching the state of access to online information for extending democracy in Romania “we are now advocating for open e-government”. Bako of the StrawberryNet Foundation found that technology in Romania is far more advanced than information dissemination practices, and that if Romania is to become a transparent, participatory society, government initiatives and a business community drive have to be backed up by opinion-makers and citizen action groups.
Fishermen from coastal villages in southern India can now access information on weather conditions and the market in their own language via mobile phone. This has not only improved the standard of living for their entire communities, but it has also saved the lives of a number of fishermen who would have died at sea. This article from Global Information Society Watch 2009 – Advancing human rights and democracy looks at concrete examples of how access to information through mobile phones and technology is adding to the wallets of the poor. Photo: “Carl Parkes”:http://www.flickr.com/people/friskodude/
In a strongly worded blog post on APC.org, an anonymous blogger from Pakistan has named and shamed political actors and the courts as responsible for the recent “Facebook ban” which blocked over 10,000 websites in Pakistan. “We knew that it’s not blasphemous content which is depriving citizens from using the internet. We wanted to dig deeper to uncover the political motives of politicians that are taking a whole nation hostage for their own vested interests,” says the text. Essential reading for anyone following internet rights in South Asia.
Google has launched a world-wide campaign on how the internet can be used for peace in support of the worldwide network’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 on the basis that “the Internet is a powerful tool that promotes freedom of expression, while fostering the global spread of democracy”. Support the nomination by selecting your country and adding your name to the list of supporters, or take part on the debate as to whether the prestigious Nobel Prize should to go the internet and its users or not. APC is a campaign affiliate.
EngageMedia has been working hard over the past five years to establish itself as “a leading distribution platform of social justice videos from the Asia-Pacific Region.” Come share with EngageMedia before 6 August what you think of their services and give suggestions on what you think they do best, what they should do more of, and help them create their strategic plan for the next few years.
In a unique study, researchers from the Netherlands asked, if you type the word “rights” into Google.co.uk, do you see the same types of rights in the top ten search results as if you type “derechos” (rights in Spanish) into the Argentinian Google? The answer is no. The search results showed that the “rights of the over-indebted” is unique to Ivory Coast as was the “right to education in a native sign language” to Finland. The results –which have been turned into a unique rights-map— together with an analysis of tweets during the 2009 Iranian election crisis are published in Global Information Society Watch 2009 which highlights the use of online information for advancing democracy and human rights.
APC member in Budapest, Green Spider, is challenging Facebook and YouTube by offering a home-grown Web 2.0 suite for Hungarian activists. “In the face of the overwhelming monoculture of corporate social networking tools, the service has taken off amongst grassroots activists, community organisers and charities in the Hungarian social and environmental movement,” says Green Spider.
A campaign to expose illegal logging is a new wall against the extinction of forests in Bulgaria. The campaign combines digital tools and green activism in an online system for filing whistle-blower alerts.
As part of its plan to bring an end to violence against women in the country, Cambodia’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs will set up a Gender Issues Observatory, the first of its kind in the country. According to the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dr. Ing Kanthaphavi, the centre will study the challenges that Cambodian women face to prevent further violence.