Mobile phones can be the way into the information society for lower income people and less developed regions. Some structural factors help: mobile phones do not require either electricity or special training and the costs of connectivity are much lower than those of landline telephones.
PROTEGE QV, APC’s Cameroun civil society group, released a multimedia kit late last year. Accompanied by full training of radio broadasters, this tool is meant to provide the general public and professionals with the means to exploit and use technology to create micro enterprises. Called the MMRK is increasingly being recognised as flexible tool which can be used in a variety of contetx, including rural.
A two-day training was held by VOICE on March 18th and 19th 2008 in Dhaka on information and communication technologies (ICTs). Online media and communication such as blogs and digital photography were expored. The creation, editing, optimisation and transferral of media for the web were of prime interest to the participants from non-profit organisations.
The APC stated its whole-hearted support of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for the drafting of regulations prescribing a list of essential facilities for electronic communications which will create conditions of open access on a non-discriminatory basis to undersea-based submarine cables. APC also called on ICASA to take immediate action to counter anti-competitive behaviour of Telkom, the dominant fixed line operator. Read the full statement.
LaborTech which holds a semi-annual international labor communication conference has issued a call for paper for the conference which will be held on December 4,5,6&7 at the University of San Francisco in San Francisco.
The first preparatory meeting for the next Internet Governance Forum (scheduled for December 2008 in India) was held in Geneva on 26 February 2008. APC issued a statement recommending the implementation of regional and national IGFs, using sustainable development as a key theme and advising on the format of working groups to address and follow up on key issues. APC also submitted a paper that identifies and documents the main areas of discussions and ‘recommendations’ that were generated under the access theme at the second IGF, held in Rio de Janeiro in November 2007.
The use of free software in West Africa would represent an opportunity to reduce the digital divide with the South. In this region, the low level of free software production goes hand in hand with marginal usage. Free software is present in certain businesses, in education, etc. but there is mistrust, as a result of the fact that free software is developed rapidly and is proliferating. It causes fear because there is a belief that “whatever is free is not of good quality”. IDLELO3, a panafrican conference on free software, will look at these questions and beliefs from March 16 to 20 2008 in Dakar, Senegal.
The United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN GAID) has invited APC policy programme’s manager, Willie Currie, to participate in an ad-hoc group of experts on financing ICT for development (ICT4D). This group has been set up in preparation of the upcoming GAID Global Forum on Access and Connectivity in least developed countries and small island developing states in Asia-Pacific and innovative financing mechanisms for ICT4D, Malaysia, 18-20 May 2008 [link to UN GAID page].
At a ceremony that took place last January, the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport presented a new information and communication technology (ICT) textbook that are to be used in all schools, universities and teacher training facilities in that country. The new textbook teaches the use of Khmer language free and open source applications, such as OpenOffice, Mekhala (Firefox) and Moyura (Thunderbird), which have been fully translated to Khmer language.
All of us are aware of the biggest maritime disaster the world has known: the sinking of the ‘unsinkable’ HMS Titanic. But what many of us may not be aware of is that the wireless operators on the Titanic had, in fact, received alerts from other ships about massive icebergs in the vicinity. But the operators, overworked with transmitting private messages of the ship’s wealthy passengers, failed to pass that vital information onto the bridge.
Watch the compact and straight-forward, fully subtitled video presenting the Association for Progressive Communications and some of the work of its members. This thirteen-minute film takes you from the beginnings to the current form in which APC pursued the goal of sustainable development and social justice through and with the use of information and communication technologies.
Through an initiative of the Information Network for Civil Society (RITS), Latin American and Caribbean actors met in Rio de Janeiro in November 2007. Why in Rio and what for? To exchange ideas on the issues that were debated at the second Internet Governance Forum. Read the main pointers.
The programme committee for the 2008 LaborTech conference is soliciting papers and suggestions for topics from labour and technology researchers, activists, workers, and educators. The conference will be organised under four themes, with each theme being explored through panel discussions, hands-on/training workshops, academic paper presentations, and participatory strategy workshops.
APC is pleased to announce the new APC executive board elected by members at the APC council meeting in Rio de Janeiro in November 2007 for a three-year term.
For the first time, in September 2007, a large group of people involved in one way or another with development work met to discuss the possibilities and drawbacks of sophisticated web-based applications in situations of low bandwidth and limited access to powerful hardware. Many of them had the chance to experiment with the tools in a workshop APC co-organised at a conference called Web2forDev. The interest of this community, gradually expanding under the ‘Web2forDev’ label, focuses on how cutting-edge technology can help to close the gap in access to ICTs, as opposed to widening it further.
The distinction between “new” and “old” technology is no longer significant in the current state of technology convergence. People from community radios and telecentres are working together for more democratic and participatory access to communication, specifically in rural and poor urban areas. This paper by Carlos Rivadeneyra provides conceptual tools to re-think, from this perspective, what we understand by information society [pdf version, in Spanish].
Digitalisation of media is an approaching reality for Latin American countries. This technologic paradigm shift promises more democratic and diverse access to radio and TV frequencies. However, there is also a great risk of reproducing the same inequalities and power relations that exist in the “analogical” world and thus of media being in the hands of a few. This paper by Gustavo Gómez Germano
illustrates the political and regulatory implications of an apparently technical and thus neutral phenomenon. It also suggests advocacy priorities to create a more informed and active civil society [full version, pdf format].
Statement from participants in the “Civil Society Workshop on Open Access to ICT infrastructure in Africa”
A statement by African civil society groups was made in light of the publicised commitments and goals of the Connect Africa Summit taking place in Rwanda, Kigali on 29th and 30th of October 2007. The statement acknowledges that the private sector plays a key role in the deployment of infrastructure in Africa. Its continued investment should be encouraged through the implementation of a stable policy environment that encourages investment as well as protect the public interest. Read the full statement here.
In response to the growing demand for information on multi-stakeholder processes in ICT policy, APC has produced the book “Frequently Asked Questions about Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships in ICTs for Development – A Guide for National ICT Policy Animators”. Download full version [also available in French, pdf format].