In Nairobi, where the World Social Forum 2007 was taking place, human-rights advocate Rikke Frank Jorgensen files a story about Tunisia’s current human rights standing. “The situation has gotten worse and worse, since the Summit. I think we are being punished for WSIS. It’s hardly possible for us to work anymore. A large number of sites are being blocked, email is not working, phones are cut off, NGOs are harassed, and meetings are prevented from taking place. How can you work under these circumstances?” asks the interviewed Souhayr Belhassen.
In Punwami there are 35 toilets in total, and four computers. No internet is available, and the computers are mostly used for playing CDs with preventive HIV information. Walking around Pumwani, I visit a small para-legal office. Para-legals are people who receive basic training in human rights, in order to give legal advice to other people in the community.
Another world is not possible without women who yesterday demanded for their rights at the ongoing World Social Forum in Nairobi. “We want our rights” chanted the women participating in the women’s rally organised by the Feminist Dialogue Coordinating Group. Over 500 people took part in the march around Kasarani Stadium.
If you believe in the power of technology, here’s a book you just can’t afford to miss. “Challenging The Chip” is a 2006-published book on labour rights and environmental justice in the global electronics industry. Fresh out of the oven, the 357-page book is structured in three parts that look at global electronics, environmental justice and labour rights, and electronic waste and extended producer responsibility.
In campaign mode, everyone understands the importance of getting a voice in the media. The problem is, the mainstream media often trivialises or misunderstands your cause. So? You needn’t just sit back and groan. Technology is today increasingly placing the tools in the hands of those who want to wield them. And it’s getting simpler, more affordable and freer all the time.
In Uruguay, the National Women’s Institute led a consultation process with a range of social actors to develop the First National Plan for Equality of Opportunities and Rights. One of its chapters specifically includes gender as a strategic priority. According to GenderIT collaborator Cecilia Gordano, this represents “a big step forward on the slow journey towards consolidating a national strategy for digital inclusion. Nevertheless, the timidity with which this need is addressed leads one to believe that pieces of this puzzle are still missing”.
Lamija Kosovic examines the country’s current ICTs situation in light of post-war reconstruction efforts, particularly to the need to integrate gender concerns by both the women’s national machinery and civil society organisations.
Following an APC coordinated meeting in London about wireless internet technology in Africa last December, John Dada and Alaa Ahmed Seif al-Islam gave interviews to the BBC World Service. Those of you not based in Africa may have missed the broadcasts. Here they are in mp3 files. Both were broadcasted on the BBC’s Focus on Africa Programme in December 2006.
In March 2006, APC organised a consultation in Mombasa, Kenya to bring together key stakeholders who could have an influence on the model that the consortium might choose. A few weeks before the event, it became clear that the level of interest was much higher than expected.
Blind use of authority, high-handedness of intelligence agencies, yawning gaps in policies and misleading rules and regulations have all converged on Pakistan in early December, when the Federal Investigation Agency and staff of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority raided the offices of small VoIP start-up in Islamabad. Read the full story on APCNews.
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a landmark disability convention that will benefit ten per cent of the world’s population. “It is the most rapidly negotiated human rights treaty in the history of international law; and the first to emerge from lobbying conducted extensively through the internet” by the community of people living with disabilities, the Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. The convention covers rights to education, health, work and a range of other protective measures for people with disabilities.
“ICTs play an increasingly important role in the day-to-day work of community radio producers,” states Karel Novotny at the ninth annual conference of AMARC. The World association of community radio broadcasters conference took place in Jordan’s capital city of Amman between November 11 and 17 2006. Novotny and colleagues of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) were there to contribute two workshops: one on community wireless networking and the other on the gender evaluation methodology (GEM). This article looks at the wireless efforts specifically.
Artemisa is a Greek goddess that inspired two argentine communicators, Sanda Chaher and Sonia Santero, to promote the gender perspective in social communication. This “archetype" of the independent woman went from the Olympus to the internet through the Artemisa News portal. On November 16 and 17, Artemisa Communication organised the first national forum for journalists with a gender perspective in Argentina, during which the PAR network was formed. APCNews spoke to Sandra about this meeting where solidarity and empathy set the beat via e-mail.
Eleven years after the Indian Supreme Court directed New Delhi to "open up the airwaves", campaigners who battled long for this to happen gave a sigh of relief when India finally opened up its broadcasts to community radio in mid November 2006.
The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, section Asia Pacific, condemns the military takeover in the Fiji islands. Particularly, the APC partner organisation expresses its solidarity and support for "femLINKPACIFIC: Media Initiatives for Women", one of its members in the Fiji islands. Read the entire press release.
Skills for the people. That’s the motto of APC’s newest member, the Tokyo-based Japan Computer Access For Empowerment (JCAFE). JCAFE’s agenda is to "fill the gap" between the potential offered by the net, and the blocks to accessing it – specially by non governmental organisation who lack the technology and skills to take advantage of this exciting new medium.
A bill of rights for the internet age has been proposed at a United Nations’ first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum in Athens. It is an attempt to "update and restate" rights that have been enshrined in international law for centuries, according to the civil liberties group IP Justice. This campaign for the recognition of inalienable rights on the web also brings into focus the APC Internet Rights Charter.
You can’t see it; you can’t even know it exists. But for enabling data communication on the fringes of an internet-enriched globe, wireless communication makes a world of a difference. For groups like the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), it offers untapped power in harnessing wireless technology for social purposes.
APC-member Community Education Computer Society conducted a training in July 2006, as part of an e-readiness training for community radio stations. Among the "most important things" participants said they learnt were the the whole notion of free and open source software and the ability to broadcast radio over the internet.
Over the past few years, a considerable number of discussions have been conducted on linguistic diversity in the online world. It has brought with it a controversy, in part due to the fact that the spread of the internet is frequently hailed as a cause for the loss of cultural diversity. At the recent Internet Governance Forum though, much attention was given to the protection of our linguistic diversity.