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.
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.
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.
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].
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].
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].
Adding to their long history of reports on the study of internet filtering, the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) has compiled, and released, a bulletin on the recent demonstrations in Burma and the Burmese government’s shutdown of the internet there. The executive summary of "Pulling the Plug: A Technical Review of the Internet Shutdown in Burma" reveals the "the role of information technology, citizen journalists, and bloggers in Burma" today.
The Open Institute – a Cambodian NGO – launched a Khmer language web portal on October 24 2007. It will give non-profits, the government, and other organisations working on women’s issues in Cambodia easy access to legislation and latest developments related to women’s issues.
In preparation for the Hello Regulator? session to be held during the Global Knowledge 3 conference, to be held in December in Malaysia, the Kenya ICT Action Network (Kictanet) is currently holding a 10-day e-discussion on eCommunication Strategies for Regulatory Authorities. The objectives of the discussion include: raising awareness on the role and objectives of information and communication regulators; identifying opportunities provided by the internet for achieving regulatory objectives; understanding threats that the internet presents to regulatory functions; discussing how regulatory bodies can use the web to achieve their objectives; establishing appropriate e-communication strategies & practices for regulators; and determining a way forward and conclusions.
LIRNE.NET and APC invite internet and telecom practitioners, ICT policy and regulation experts, and other stakeholders to submit statements on what they identify as the key issues and important factors currently facing regulators concerned with access to infrastructure. This dialogue is being undertaken in preparation for the “Regulatory Frameworks for Improving Access” workshop to be held at this year’s Internet Governance Forum.
The 2007 Global Information Society Watch report identifies Nigeria as the fastest growing ICT market in Africa. Despite this, women remain severely under-represented among the country’s ICT professionals. And yet, one young woman in APC-member Fantsuam’s ICT department became a role model when she became the first woman to climb a communications tower in northern Nigeria.
The first APC FOSS Prize established in 2006 to honour Chris Nicol, a long time FOSS advocate and activist who for many years, worked with APC, has been jointly awarded to Free Geek (USA) and NepaLinux (Nepal).
Access remains one of the greatest challenges facing the internet community in the developing world. The Nominet judges believe that the work of Computer Aid epitomizes what their access category represents. Computer Aid has enabled thousands of people in developing countries, who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity, to access to the internet. Computer Aid’s partners are also able to provide training, capacity building and routine maintenance, to ensure that the use of equipment is maximized.
Journalist Miguel Peirano finds that "Many people think that a laptop for every child is a magic solution and that just giving the children a machine will make them happy," in his well-documented opinion piece about the CEIBAL Plan. This Uruguyan adaptation of the One Laptop Per Child project turns this South American nation into the only country in the world that has adopted, as government policy, the proposal to endow every schoolchild with a low-cost laptop connected to the internet.
APC member Protege QV celebrated a belated but successful Software Freedom Day on Saturday 6 October 2007 with a Web 2.0 and web-based project management application workshop. The international day to educate the public about the importance of software freedom and the availability of free and open source software (FOSS) was officially 15 September 2007, but due to technical constraints, Protege QV pushed its plans ahead.