What does diversity mean in the internet age? Linguistic and content plurality was the approach chosen by the organising committee for the Internet Governance Forum, which took place in Athens, Greece, from October 29th to November 2nd.
The South African non-governmental organisation net (SANGONeT) is known for being at the forefront of South Africa’s civil society, especially in matters related to information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the internet. How that came to be and how SANGONeT is using technology is discussed with SANGONeT portal editor Fazila Farouk here.
What priorities did Latin America take in its suitcase to the first Internet Governance Forum? How did all the sectors participate in what was a pioneering event in this kind of format? APCNews spoke to Raúl Echeberría, executive director of LACNIC, the Latin America and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry.
In October 2006, The Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome hosted the first ever international Congress on Communication for Development. Scott Robinson from the Metropoltan University in Mexico City has attended and offers here a few indications on how he thinks the WCCD should be rethought. As part of his reflections, he offers new ways forward.
APC aims to demystify internet policies and regulations with an updated version of an important web site that is the only one of its kind across Latin America and the Caribbean. The updated monitor site has a new design and structure, which makes it easier to search for the material that Latin American civil society needs to be able to have a greater and more effective voice in local and regional negotiations over ICT policies.
APC’s charter was first developed by APC members and partner organisations at “internet rights” workshops held in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa in 2001-2002. APC’s new charter revised in November 2006 includes a section on internet governance – the focus of recent UN summits – and our position that the internet is a global public good. An essential reference for anyone concerned about the freedom of the internet and ‘internet access for all’ nationally and internationally.
Latin America makes noise at the Forum on Internet Governance. What priorities is Latin America carrying around in its briefcase for this first Forum on Internet Governance? How are all the sectors participating in a pioneer event in this format? APCNews spoke to Raúl Echeberría, LACNIC executive director, the Latin America and the Caribbean internet address registry.
What does diversity mean in the internet? The linguistic and content plurality approach is what the organising committee for the Internet Governance Forum, that is going on in Athens, Greece from October 29th to November 2nd, chose.
APC asserts `access´ to the internet & capacity-building are key to participative internet governance
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC), a network of civil society organisations working with ICTs and the internet for social justice and sustainable development thinks that the IGF is a valuable space for policy dialogue. As the first Internet Governance Forum that took place Athens in early November 2006 draws to a close, APC would like to insist on two issues be given priority: access to internet infrastructure and capacity building.
Aside from ‘access to the internet’ – the single most important issue at this weeks first Internet Governance Forum – ‘accessibility’ follows suite in what is to be labelled “priority”. In fact, access to the internet deals with submarine fibre optic cables, gigantic satellite dishes and other infrastructure considerations. That has to come first. But when you break down the story of internet access to the personal level, what is needed, is a strong commitment towards getting women, underprivileged and people with disabilities on board.
APC executive director Anriette Esterhuysen has told the Internet Governance Forum, meeting in Athens currently, that it has a duty play a much bigger role in spreading the sharing of ideas and encouraging innovation. Copyrighting and limiting the rights of teachers and learners in the developing world from share information would add only "limited value" to harnessing the internet for development, Esterhuysen said in the Greek capital.
Blatant censorship is one thing, and can be fought. But who controls the controllers? What about the more subtle forms of control and blockages, that often can work in the more brutal ways of the unseen hand? APC member-organisation RITS’s Carlos Afonso, made this point articulatedly at the Internet Governance Forum in Athens. Afonso underlined that it was difficult to deal internet-related issues "without considering the situation of regulation, legislation and control of the network itself." He questioned the view that "the technical question is not as relevant as the other issues." What is the responsibility of network operators? Controlling players decide if voice over IP traffic can pass through an exchange point or not.
The twist this IGF is giving to this old debate about ‘openness’ makes it that more relevant since it calls into life a confrontation, not only involving national law, but also market law. This is why corporations like Google have been taken for a ride at the IGF by those arguing that it is unacceptable that this advertisement firm – know for its flagship research engine – started operations in China, where restrictions on free speech are, to say the least, restrictive.
Opening internet access in Africa, convergence and developing country participation in the UN summit on the information society:
Several new papers on key issues now and in the future are available online. Part of the "APC Issue Papers" series, they are currently being circulated at the UN conference on internet governance being held in Athens in English and French.
"Someone from the Pacific Islands expressed that the single main challenge with which his region is increasingly faced with is global warming,” Milena Bokova said. Quite striking indeed that the very first workshop at the IGF would list this major environmental phenomenon as the greatest obstacle to making the internet accessible.
If you think standards are boring, you had to be in Greece this week, where a loose coalition of researchers, librarians and corporate representatives launched a campaign on open standards. The timing coincided with a forum on the future of the internet that is receiving about 1,500 people in a hotel outside of Athens four days in a row.
Politically, the World Congress on Communication for Development that is presently unrolling in beautiful Rome might not seem to be the most relevant event. No gender perspective to report on, little debate on the value of telecom infrastructure, almost no inclusion of information and communication technology for development on the agenda. In one seminar, APC nevertheless felt like going political.
In a packed plenary room of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome this week, the BBC’s World Service Trust organised a world debate, hosted by BBC World star moderator Stephen Sackur. “Is a Free Media Essential for Development?” was the question asked. Trigger-happy panellists did not loose a second to get in debating mode.
The very first World Congress on Communication for Developement got underway on October 25 in Rome. In the course of the WCCD, we will be able to measure if the participants will be able to give ‘communication for development’ a clear focus and genuine identity. With the diversity of voices in the audience though, one might scratch one’s head, doubting about the feasibility of this objective. APCNews is on the ground and offers an introduction here.
A single country will not be allowed to govern the internet, speakers at a national seminar vowed adding expectation of the poor countries should be addressed in the upcoming Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meet. The seminar took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on October 14.