Six major international civil society networks working on questions of access and affordability of the internet have emitted a joint statement on 27 September 2005, during the third Preparatory Meeting (PrepCom 3) of the WSIS process. The World Summit on the Information Society is making a last stop in Geneva before phase II of the summit in Tunisia, in November of 2005. The statement of the Informal Coalition on Financing ICTD goes beyond a document released by the WSIS Chair of a Sub-Committee on Internet Governance and suggests a series of steps to be taken to make the internet a true tool for development.
What role do ICTs have in alleviating poverty? This issue was hotly debated at a distinguished panel on September 30, 2005 at the International Telecommunication Union Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Several APC member representatives and staff were among the audience. The debate was also broadcast on BBC World Television around October 22, 2005.
The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) gets underway later this year. Between September 19th – 30th, GenderIT.org writers Jac sm Kee and Brenda Zulu participate in the third and final WSIS preparatory meeting (PrepCom 3) before the summit in Tunis. Check out their chronicle and read the following unreleased (on the APC website) postings about the activities of gender advocates, and women concerns regarding key issues on the agenda – internet governance and financing.
Podcasting hasn’t yet caught on among the alternate circuit but Partha Pratim Sarker of BytesForAll got off to a quick start at Geneva. At the Prepcom 3 events, Sarkar took along recording equipment to do what he described as a "sort of audio blogging with an RSS feed". APC’s Lenka Simerska, on hearing it, commented: "Cool blog, really! I find it useful and refreshing to use combination of written word and voice. I had a problem to listen though… But on second try it worked well." Podcasting is a method of publishing audio programmes via the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed of new files (usually MP3s). It first became popular in late 2004.
Earlier this week, Karen Banks, Networking and Advocacy Coordinator for APC, expressed solidarity with a statement released by the Human Rights Caucus. The caucus, composed of many leading human rights activists of the global civil society, called for procedural safeguards to "avoid the reign of the arbitrary" on 22 September 2005, on the eve of the PrepCom 3 meeting in Geneva. The Human Rights Caucus thereby condemned the systematic blocking of the Human Rights in China (HRIC) association accreditation to the WSIS process. The original statement, proposed to adoption by the Civil Society plenary meeting in Geneva reads as follows.
Philippine government releases position on Internet governance; civil society seeks inclusive process
The Philippine government’s position on the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) Report, presently recently, is based on nationwide consultations Philippine Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) ran from June to August 2005 at the Manila Hotel. But the civil society points out hat the consultations were rather limited and that only the last consultation in Davao City had the benefit of discussing the WGIG Report. The rest had as main documents WGIG’s 12 issue papers.
Communication infrastructures are changing at such an accelerated pace that while new technologies are released continuously, we are still ignorant about questions of internet interconnection. While the users of the North reap the benefits brought about by information and communication technologies’ advances, the users of the South are increasingly prevented from taking advantage of the innovations. Leading among the many factors, the privatisation of this sector’s operations in the industrialised countries and the adoption of new technologies have reduced the financial flows of the network towards the developing world. Available in English and Spanish.
What do ostrich eggs, free attitudes, ICT and graciousness have in common? An exciting new research initiative that brings together African researchers to study Africa, ICTs and women’s empowerment, called GRACE. The Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment held its first researcher capacity-building workshop in Durban in July 2005, and while researchers from all over the continent honed their project proposals and fine-tuned networking skills, they also learned how to create ostrich eggs around themselves.
What changes does World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) — which meets in Tunisia in November — bring in regards to gender equality and women’s empowerment? Is WSIS worth it? How effective is gender advocates participation? What are the main challenges faced by gender equality advocates? This paper aims to answer these questions and summarise what has been achieved so far for gender equality in the WSIS process. It seeks to clarify the "gender and ICT" agenda for both phases of the WSIS. It analyses why gender advocacy was such a challenge within the whole process, and assess the outcomes as well as some of the indirect benefits WSIS brought for gender and ICT advocates. Written by Karen Banks, APC.
The second phase of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) takes place in Tunisia later this year. APC’s GenderIT.org team joined the third and final preparatory meeting, held in Geneva (Switzerland) from September 19 to 30. In the run-up to the mid-November WSIS summit, there ‘s a special section collating a wide variety of resources and articles related to gender and the WSIS.
The word ‘trafficking’ suggests something very physical. But does it always have to be so? Take this case: a 19-year-old is filmed by her 30-year-old lover while they have sex. They break up, and years later, without her consent, the video hits the internet. Suddenly, the woman’s image is crossing the world, making some people a lot of money in the process too. Is this trafficking? The woman herself hasn’t been transported across any international boundaries. But her image has. An informative backgrounder to the modern dimensions of a global issue of widespread concerns.
Follow GenderIT.org writers Jac sm Kee and Brenda Zulu as they participate in the third and final WSIS preparatory meeting (PrepCom3) before the summit in Tunis. Read their postings from Geneva about the activities of gender advocates, and women’s concerns.
A "Cantenna"? What’s that? It’s a solution that comes out of using empty tin cans and other simple tools that a lot of communities can afford. "Cantenna" technology can make wireless connection cheaper for poorly served rural areas and economically disadvantaged African people who do not have access to Internet connectivity. This is what emerges from a report on an APC-run series of capacity-building workshops in Africa.
A mobile help-line service that takes information to the poor in Bangladesh, an information and communication technologies (ICT) centre that shares skills with marginalised women in India, and a venture that encourages home-based careers for Malaysian women won this year’s Gender and Information & Communication Technology (GICT) Awards sponsored by the Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) and the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP).
On June 17, 2005, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, approved .xxx as a global top-level domain for sexually explicit material on the internet, after five years of negotiations. Jac sm Kee from APC WNSP uses this peg to point out that the issue goes much further. Women have to demand their right to freely move, create knowledge and represent their diversity, communicate and form networks with each other and be safe from harm. Can information and communication technologies help to truly transform socil relations, instead of just amplifying inequalities?
APC member Ungana-Afrika has won this year’s Dirk Award, given annually to circuit or eRiders making an extraordinary contribution. eRiders are ICT capacity-builders for development organizations, and work in a movement which spans over 20 countries.
Want to develop a quick Web campaign? Are you a conservation activist that needs technology assistance? Any tricks for non-profits to make the most of the Internet? Can non-governmental organisations benefit if they have a better idea of consultants around? For this, and more, information check out the Institute for Global Communications (IGC) online resources put out as part of their "commitment to helping nonprofits working on advocacy campaigns get the most out of the internet today".
The IFIs Latin American Monitor — http://ifis.choike.org/ — aims to contribute to the global and Latin American follow-up campaign to promote reform of the international financial institutions. It is an initiative of the Instituto del Tercer Mundo (Third World Institute), with financial support from the Mott Foundation. The Monitor selects, produces, translates and disseminates information and analysis about the Bretton Woods institutions in Latin America. Dialogue and collaboration is thus promoted among key actors, contributing to an enhanced North-South interaction. Since September, the Monitor publishes a monthly bulletin that contains the main news and the most outstanding reports, produced for our team, centers of research, non-profits, press, and expert in these subject. To receive a free bulletin, fill in this form after clicking here.
It is free, open-source, contains no advertising and runs online so there is nothing to download. Loband works by displaying any website with the original text and layout but with after removing un-necessary adverts, images and web objects such as Flash animations. Its promoters call this a "unique simplification and compression process (which) can reduce access time by up to ten times". Loband is perfect for speeding up browsing and searching on the internet, making it cheaper and less frustrating. It potentially allows internet access where it was impossible before. The newly released v2.0 supports more websites, including ones featuring international character sets. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org For a demo of APC’s Spanish homepage through Loband, see this link.
On Monday 29 August 2005 the APC network lost someone who was a colleague, a leader and a friend. Chris Nicol, member of the APC council and also of the APC executive board, died in Barcelona after more than a year of struggling against cancer. For much of the time during this battle Chris was winning, continuing to work, travel and network when the difficult cycle of surgery and treatment left him with any spare time.