News

JCA-NET: From e-mail inbox to anti wire-tapping in Japan

DHAKA, BANGLADESH 20 April 2006 (FN for APCNews)

Tadahisa Hamada of APC-member JCA-NET tells the story of an internet service provider that evolved from a technical support group for Japanese peace and social change organisations, to an advocacy hub. The non-profit is starting to itensify its fight against new wire-tap laws and electronic communication control by the Japanese state. Interview with a first-mover in the technology-for-social-justice realm in Japan.

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GenderIT en español: A brand new portal catalyses women’s voices in political sphere

CUERNAVACA, MEXICO 19 April 2006 (APC WNSP)

Exactly one year after the successful introduction of GenderIT.org – the gender and information and communication technology (ICT) Policy Monitor in English – the APC WNSP now presents GenderIT en español, the Spanish counterpart of the monitor with original resources and coverage in Spanish, as well as in Portuguese.

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Making dry policy alive with WITTy tools for activism

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 6 April 2006 (Erika Smith)

"There is great potential for using free software in women’s organisations,” said an enthusiastic Lenka Simerska insisting that this potential “is driven by needs and growing interest in training and networking.” Simerska – one of three trainers in the Women’s Information Technology Transfer (WITT) team – commented at the end of a three-day ‘IT for women’ workshop taking place in Prague, Czech Republic on February 23 – 25 2006.

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Internet infrastructure: APCNews meets ‘open access’ advocates in the EASSy run up

BERLIN, GERMANY 6 April 2006 (FD, with files from FN)

Since 9 March 2006, an informal African ‘open access task force’ – made up of NGOs and small and medium sized ISPs – was initiated to lobby for the implementation of an open access model in internet infrastructure. The task force is currently mobilised to make the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) ‘easy’, affordable and open. APCNews staff writer Frederick Noronha has gathered statements from two civil society stakeholders in what is to become a determining project for Africans’ equitable access to the web.

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Indigenous women succeed in shedding light on their situation through the use of new technologies

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA 5 April 2006 (Dafne Sabanes Plou)

Indigenous women want to be the protagonists of the ICT appropriation process that they are experiencing. They are looking for ways to participate in the decisions that affect them. The only not to be excluded and sidelined to the margins is to plunge head on into the debate. The debate was moderated by Nidia Bustillos from Bolivia, a member of APC’s Women’s Networking Support Programme in Latin American (WNSP).

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A new life for computers from the United Kingdom

TOULOUSE, FRANCE 3 April 2006 (APCNews)

The digital divide ceases to be an abstract concept when we come across certain numbers: for 92 million of Latin Americans (sixteen per cent), lack of access to information communication technologies is a daily reality.

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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Another way of fighting poverty

TOULOUSE, FRANCE 3 April 2006 (APCNews)

In a country where the majority of the population lives below the absolute poverty level, where political crises and violence have done away with social institutions, does it make sense to invest energies in information and communication technologies (ICTs)? Canadian APC member, Alternatives, firmly believes in this opportunity.

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enREDando.org.ar was awarded the Juana Manso Prize 2006

ROSARIO, ARGENTINA 3 April 2006 (Nodo TAU)

On Wednesday March 8, an awards ceremony took place at the Municipal Bank Auditorium in the city of Rosario, Argentina. The jury – made up of several different women from the university of Rosario, the municipality and the press – decided to present the Juana Manso award to www.enredando.org.ar in the digital journalism division. "This is such a great recognistion for our team of citizen journalists" expressed Flavia Fascendini of the enREDando communication team.

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Colombia: Transparency is possible

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA 31 March 2006 (Colnodo)

Can the internet become an effective tool for efficiency and transparency in municipal management? APC member, Colnodo of Colombia is successfully carrying out two programmes aimed at local governments. In this article, Colnodo tells us about its participation in the Internet Project for Accountability and the Met@logo Project.

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Is it possible to control international financial institutions through the internet?

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY 31 March 2006 (ITeM)

The annual coordination meeting of IFIwatchnet took place March 7th-9th in Montevideo, Uruguay. The meeting was organised by the project’s current coordinator, APC member, ITeM (Third World Institute). The members of the executive committee and regional outreach coordinators participated in this encounter.

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aAqua, taking a harvest of IT solutions to the Indian farmer

PUNE, INDIA 24 March 2006 (FN)

APC member in South Asia, BytesForAll took part in the Baramati Initiative 2006 (www.baramatiinitiatives.org), a meet meant to promote ICTD in rural India, in March. This year’s theme was ICT-in-agriculture. From there, APCNews files a report on an interesting website.

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A computer for Africa, will it work?

KADUNA, NIGERIA 24 March 2006 (FN)

A computer that’s encased in wood to resist tropical temperatures and consumes thirty times less electricity than the standard PC? The “Solo” a unique computer that fights rural Africa’s heat, dust and unreliable power supply is being tested in Nigeria and will be ready for commercial production shortly. APCNews interviews Ochuko Onoberhie, a technician from APC member the Fantsuam Foundation, responsible for testing the Solo.

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ZaMirNET founds a network of independent media

ZAGREB, CROATIA 23 March 2006 (Sonja Ludvig)

ZaMirNET’s web-based newsmagazine about civil society issues – ZaMirZINE [www.zamirzine.net] – established a network of independent webpages run by Croatian NGOs and civic groups, with the idea of improving the representation of civil society and its values in the media.

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Not so EASSy

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 19 March 2006 (Mail & Guardian)

Major South African weekly, the "Mail and Guardian", reports from the APC-organised conference on EASSy, the East African submarine cable. The good news is that excessively high international bandwidth prices in Africa are to be challenged says the M&G but the benefits can be curtailed if operators maintain monopoly control.

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WSIS follow-up: IT for Change makes commentary piece public

ITHALA, SOUTH AFRICA 17 March 2006 (APCNews)

IT for change, an NGO figthing alongside APC during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has published "WSIS: The beginning of a global information society discourse" on March 11 in the Economic and Political Weekly. The piece attempts to place WSIS in the present geopolitical context and discusses its outcomes. It concludes that "WSIS may need to be judged more from the processes that it has set into motion than what it has achieved substantively."

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APC's unease with EASSy made loud and clear

ITHALA, SOUTH AFRICA 16 March 2006 (APCNews)

A BBC News article published on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s online edition on Wednesday March 15 reports on the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and APC’s reluctance to the way it’s expected to be implemented. The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) has made its concerns and reservations about the new optical cable project for East Africa loud and clear at a consultation conference taking place a couple of days prior to the article’s release. BBC readers from Ethiopia, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Namibia and many other countries are presently commenting on the BBC article which highlighted that "campaigners [such as the APC] fear that the cable might not actually make much difference to consumers because of high prices."

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East Africa needs a fair entry-ticket to afford cyberspace: Easing Access to EASSy

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 8 March 2006 (APCNews)

Africa currently has to pay for some of the most expensive bandwidth in the world. All this will change if the proposed East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) cable is built as it will connect countries on the eastern side of the continent and if this new capacity is offered in a way that maximises use and lowers price.

To help make this possible, APC is launching a new website “Fibre-for-Africa” and on March 10 will hold a consultation with more than 80 key stakeholders from all over Eastern and Southern Africa to ensure that access to EASSy which will serve eight coastal and eleven land-locked countries is ‘easy’, affordable and open.

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More telecenters for Brazil

RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL 7 March 2006 (APCNews)

By March-end 2006, the first 50 telecenters of the Telecentros BR project are expected to be launched. They’re located in low-income communities. This project was developed by APC-member Rits, Brazil’s state-run oil corporation Petrobras and ITI (National Institute of Information Technology). Each unit is equipped with 20 internet-linked computers. Free Software technicians and social developers were hired and especially trained for the project. Rits developed a management system that can generate real-time reports about the usage of every telecentre. Telecentres will offer free access to the internet using Sacix – http://www.sacix.org.br – a customized Debian version of the GNU/Linux operating system.

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Two women lobby for communication rights

IN CYBERSPACE 7 March 2006 (APCNews)

In the Latin American and Caribbean Region, women representing civil society organisations in the WSIS process have been lobbying heavily in favour of communication rights. A report (see Page 6) in PDF format on the contribution by Olinca Marino is the director of the Mexican LaNeta, an APC-affiliated internet service provider, and Valeria Betancourt of Ecuador.

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Collective ICT policy making in Bolivia

BERLIN, GERMANY 6 March 2006 (FD at APCNews)

Surrounded by the tropical forests of Bolivia, about 18 organisations and institutions representing civil society, the private sector and the government gathered to develop proposals and action strategies for ICT policies. Most of the participants brought with them the lessons learned during their involvement in the Bolivian ICTD strategy – ETIC – process.

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