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.
Zelyonaya Set’s headquarters are no different from any other non governmental organisation (NGO) office in Central and Eastern Europe. Still, something is a little different here, where an online network for environmental groups is being set-up for Belarus.
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].