"Connectivity is a term referring to the means by which people are connected to or are able to access communications channels such as the internet, email, computer and people networks." The theme for this year’s Hafkin Prize recognises community initiatives that use the internet and other digital communication networks to access markets, skills and opportunities to derive real economic benefits. APC accepted applications until February 14 2005. The winner will be announced in mid 2005. Visit the Hafkin Prize site.
Government delegates are meeting in Paris, from January 31 to February 12th, to negotiate the near-final text of the proposed UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity.
Carlos Afonso, former chair of APC and member of the UN body charged with coming up with a definition of what ‘internet governance’ should encompass
amongst other tasks has written an opinionative report on the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Internet Governance, November 23-25 2004, Geneva. For the first time published in English and Spanish from the Portuguese original. Translation by APC.
The CRIS Campaign released a statement to the Social Assemblies of the World Social Forum putting the spotlight on communication rights violations in Tunisia, the host country for the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society. The statement also lays out CRIS’ support for proposals at UNESCO for a strong international convention to promote and defend cultural diversity – a step which could provide a legislative defence for nations contesting damaging international free trade agreements. APC is a member of CRIS.
The British BBC, one of the world’s major communications networks, recently decided to digitalise its gigantic archive. A campaign was launched on the internet and within the company for the archive to be freely available to the public to use as it wishes. Christian Ahlert, of the Oxford Internet Institute, managed to convince the company’s management and BBC documentary-makers to use Creative Commons licencing, which has different levels of free use. This report from RITS at the World Social Forum translated into English by APC.
Tens of representatives from a variety of communications organisations came together on the morning of Saturday 29 January at the World Social Forum to take advantage of the rare ‘face-time’ to share information about the events that they believe are critical for the media to cover in Latin American and the Caribbean in 2005 and to schedule news coverage in collaboration.
"I’m a minister and a musician but I’m a hacker at heart" – Gilberto Gil, Brazilian minister for culture and pop icon. The roundtable on the "Digital Revolution" at the World Social Forum brought together some of the biggest names in the internet debate including Spanish academic Manuel Castells, open content and open source guru, lawyer Lawrence Lessig, and now Brazil’s most illustrious musician. This report from RITS translated into English by APC.
APC is among more than 120,000 activists at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The WSF is the world’s largest gathering of social movements, non-profits, and progressive groups who believe that "another world is possible".
This year there are 2,500 planned activities taking place in almost 300 tents and over 200 meeting venues and APC is collecting and covering the debates, panels, workshops, and stories that illustrate the use of internet and ICTs for social justice and sustainable development. Visit our WSF site.
You can tune in to programming in AMARC, the worldwide network of community radios, in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian coming live from the world’s biggest gathering of activists.
Activists from Tunisia, Italy, Paraguay and Brazil reported on conditions in their countries and the response of civil society. APCNews reports from the Vth World Social Forum.
The first four World Social Forums — from 2001 to 2004 — were extraordinary moments of congregation, participation, debate and exchange amongst tens of thousands of activists from around the world, who transformed the WSF into the trademark meeting of civil society.
In late January, India’s technology mecca Bangalore became the venue for an international ‘camp’ intended to promote free and open source software (FOSS) among civil society. Asia Source, as the ‘tech camp’ is called, was held from January 28 to February 4, 2005 and "hopes to bring together over a hundred people from 20 countries to increase the use and awareness of FOSS amongst the non-profit sector in South and South East Asia."
The control wielded by big media and the need for strategies to challenge that power were among the central themes addressed at the First Information and Communication World Forum (ICWF).
Sihem Bensedrine, from OLPEC (National Council for Tunisian Freedom) believes that holding the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), in her country in November 2005, will help Tunisian people realise the importance of their right to communicate. It will also encourage work for changes in the communication field in our country, she added.
APC will be participating in a number of meetings at this fifth annual gathering of social movements, NGOs, and progressive groups who believe that “another world is possible”. On Thursday January 27th we are offering a workshop on “Networking for change and empowerment: building a gender and ICT policy agenda in the women’s movement”. Check out our agenda in English, French and Spanish.
Presenters at the First World Forum on Information and Communication, discussed the possibilities of creating new methods of communication that are inclusive and have the potential of breaking down well-estalished communication patterns linked to the market and media corporations.
The World Social Forum has open information systems in place to go with an open political ethos. All of about 1,000 computers at the forum are using free software. The official website has been developed for the first time in ‘php,’ an open source language. A new translation system is also a free software tool. The Forum is hosted in Brazil, a nation whose government at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society held in Geneva in 2003, strongly opposed intellectual property on software, and succeeded in getting this omitted from the final resolution.
The new year presents everyone at SANGONeT with a number of fresh and exciting challenges and opportunities, starting with the first SANGONeT "ICTs for Civil Society" conference and exhibition which will be held from 1-3 March 2005 in Fourways, Johannesburg. Read about this and other important plans for 2005 in SANGONeT’s monthly e-newsletter, "Lwati".
For an sector that talks of alternatives, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or voluntary sector stays surprisingly aloof from one significant alternative that has really worked — free software. But there are stirrings to bridge this huge chasm. In end-January, India’s technology mecca Bangalore is to be the venue for an international, APC-supported ‘camp’ meant to promote FLOSS among the NGO sector.
Beginning a process of regionalisation APC member Computer Aid International opened its Southern Africa Regional offfice in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new Computer Aid office will support existing and future partners in Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.