APCNews No. 70 November 2006

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APCNews, the monthly newsletter of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
November 2006 No. 70
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Welcome to this special edition of APCNews. It’s dedicated to the Forum on Internet Governance that took place in Athens, Greece, between the October 29 and November 2. The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) was represented by a large group of members and staff. The APC team organised and participated in workshops as well as main sessions that discussed issues of internet access, capacity building, online content regulation, environmental sustainability, privacy. APCNews and GenderIT.org writers and bloggers covered the event in English, French and Spanish.

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PRESS RELEASE: 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 closed, APC insisted that two issues be given priority: access to internet infrastructure and capacitybuilding. – APC

NEW INTERNET RIGHTS CHARTER: APC updates its groundbreaking charter

The internet can only be a tool to empower the peoples of the world if a number of crucial rights are recognised, protected and respected. APC’s revised charter takes on board issues of internet governance raised during the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and captured in the Working Group on Internet Governance report and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society. It also takes into account the discussion of the internet as a global public good that took place in the deliberations of the WSIS as well as the UN ICT Task Force. The revision also draws on APC’s recommendations to WSIS on internet governance. The Charter was published by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in November 2006.

ISSUE PAPERS: Opening internet access in Africa, convergence and developing country participation in the UN summit on the information society: All the focus of new papers from APC

Several new papers on key issues now and in the future are available online. Part of the “APC Issue Papers” series, they were circulated at the UN conference on internet governance being held in Athens in English and French. – APC

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OPEN ACCESS: APC puts up the fight for an open-access, equal-opportunity and educative internet

APC viewed the inaugural meeting of the Internet Governance Forum as a “vitally important event”. “For the first time in a global policy forum, governments, civil society, the private sector and international organisations can address public policy issues concerning the internet on an equal footing,” said APC’s policy programme head Willie Currie. – APCNews

INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE: Seminar calls for unity among poor nations

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 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meet. The seminar took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on October 14. – Bangladesh ICT Policy Monitor Network

REGIONAL REPRESENTATION: Latin America makes noise at the Forum on Internet Governance

What were they key priorities for Latin America at the first Forum on Internet Governance? How is each sector approaching the pioneering event? APCNews spoke to Raúl Echeberría, LACNIC executive director, the Latin America and the Caribbean internet address registry. – APCNews

DIVERSITY: Utopia called diversity?

What does diversity mean on the internet? The organising committee for the Internet Governance Forum chose to focus on linguistic and content plurality. – APCNews

ACCESSIBILITY: Accessibility for all, central to internet forum

Aside from ‘access to the internet’ – the single most important issue at the first Internet Governance Forum – was ‘accessibility’. 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, the underprivileged and people with disabilities on board. – APCNews

APC to IGF: Cyberspace should promote maximum sharing, creativity and innovation

APC executive director Anriette Esterhuysen has told the Internet Governance Forum 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. – APCNews

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Blatant censorship is one thing. But who controls the controllers?

Blatant censorship is one thing, and can be fought. But who controls the controllers? APC member-organisation RITS’s Carlos Afonso, made this point articulately 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. – APCNews

OPENNESS: In the activist’s eye

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 to task 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. – APCNews

OPEN STANDARDS: Think standards are boring? Think again!

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. – APCNews


“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. – APCNews

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INTRODUCTION: The IGF is on, does that mean we’ll get an “internet as a free-zone”?
By Frédéric Dubois
Here I am, sitting in a plenary room at the opening session of the Internet Governance Forum in Athens. This forum was set a couple of months back, in Tunisia, where the second summit on the information society (WSIS) was drawing to a close. Some of you might have noted back then that the two main issues discussed in that UN-organised summit were internet governance and ICTs for development. Well just about eleven months later, what appears to be the legitimate space for continuing the debate on the future of the internet is called the Internet Governance Forum. – APC blog

INTERVIEWS: Internet Governance Forum – What is it All About?
By Mavic Cabrera-Balleza
Internet Governance is a difficult concept to grapple with for many of us. Even those who have been keeping track of discussions on gender and the new information and communication technologies (ICTs). Naturally, people who know or who have heard about the Internet Governance Forum, are asking what this meeting is all about. – Feminist Talk

PRIVACY: Privacy and Data Retention Related Concerns at IGF
By Namita Malhotra
The session on privacy and data protection and retention was a follow-up on the session on free flow of information in cyberspace. It was interesting to have issues regarding free speech set up in the previous session, which revolved primarily around the application and protection of rights under Article 19 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and its counterpart in European law. – Feminist Talk

ACCESS: Highways, roads, and byways
By Anriette Esterhuysen
There are many different dimensions of access and the IGF panel here in Athens certainly touched on many of them… from access for people with disability, for people that are not literate, access for scientists and researchers. – APC blog

OPEN SHARING: Piracy, FLOSS, peer production, new models, innovation… a voice at the IGF
Of all the many bytes emerging out of Athens and the IGF, this one made the most sense to me: Piracy creates jobs, but [Free Software and] Open Source and Open Standards create opportunity, create entrepreneurs. And I think that’s the challenge for the IGF as well, how to look at it is a public interest forum, the Internet is a public space, and how can we facilitate maximum sharing, maximum creativity, peer production, new models, innovation. – APC blog

GENDER: Setting the scene at IGF without gender perspective?
By Danijela Babic
The first IGF session entitled Multistakehoder Policy Dialogue / Setting the Scene, was facilitated by Kenneth Cukier and spectacularly ignored the question on gender and ICTs. – APC blog

CONTENT REGULATION: Good or bad? Harmful or not? Legal or illegal? – the challenge of regulating internet content
By Mavic Cabrera-Balleza
Who defines what is harmful and illegal internet content? How do we regulate online content? Participants in the panel discussion “Content regulations from gender and development perspective” organized by the Association for Progressive Communications – Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) in the ongoing Internet Governance Forum debate on these contentious points. – Feminist Talk

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Environment as part of internet governance
By Frédéric Dubois
I just ran into Pavel Antonov from APC-member organisation BlueLink in Bulgaria. He just flew into Athens from Riga where he was giving a training to leading Latvian state-TV and national newspaper journalists in how to report on sustainable energy. Pavel is the chair of a workshop here at the IGF in Athens. It’s called “Greening Development through ICT and Civic Engagement” and includes a brochette of five speakers. One them is Julian Casasbuenas, the director of APC-member in Colombia, Colnodo. – APC blog

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EURACTIV.COM: Internet Governance
November 2, 2006

[…] The Association for Progressive Communications (APC), an international network of civil society organisations, said: “The Internet […] must be seen as a global public infrastructure. In this regard we recognise the Internet to be a global public good and access to it is in the public interest, and must be provided as a public provision.” – Euractiv.com

TECTONIC, South Africa: Piracy creates jobs, FOSS creates opportunities
By Frederick Noronha. November 2, 2006

[…] That was the word from Johannesburg-based Anriette Esterhuysen, executive director of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). – Tectonic.co.za

IP-WATCH, Switzerland: Online Content Among Many Issues At Internet Governance Forum
By William New. October 31, 2006.

[…] For instance, Cerf and Karen Banks of the Association for Progressive Communications raised jurisdictional issues in cases of copyright infringement on a cross-border website. – Intellectual
Property Watch

IP-WATCH, Switzerland: UN-led Conference Grills Corporations On Support For Restrictive Internet Regimes
By William New. October 31, 2006.

[…] But Anriette Esterhuysen of the Association for Progressive Communications said she opposes her government, South Africa, having to prosecute people who pirate Microsoft products. – Intellectual Property Watch

CNET News.com, USA: UN blasts Cisco, others on China cooperation
By Staff Writer Declan McCullagh. October 31, 2006

[…] Anriette Esterhuysen, executive director of the left-leaning Association for Progressive Communications, said it is time to “begin to create an international policy and principle framework that stops that from happening.” – CNET News.com

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From October 25-27 2006, Rome hosted the World Congress on Communication for Development, bringing together the “development community (funding agencies, non governmental organisations, academic sector, international organisations) to discuss how to better circumscribe development efforts that rhyme with communications. APCNews was on the ground to make the links between this event and the IGF in Athens.

BLOG POST: Open spectrum, same struggle for open access?
By Frédéric Dubois
Interestingly enough, being present at the first Communication for Development (C4D, in NGO slang) conference in Rome gives me some insights for the upcoming Internet Governance Forum, a space where the future is supposed to be discussed. – APC blog

ARTICLE: World congress on communication for development shopping for an identity

The very first World Congress on Communication for Development 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. – APCNews

ARTICLE: BBC panel on media left audience laughing and out of breath

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. – APCNews

BLOG POST: Enabling The Voice of Those Most Affected by Ill Health
By Nicholas Perkins
In an attempt to blend ‘symbolic’ communication with ‘organic’ communication we structured the session like a live talk show, allowing our ‘in-studio’ guests panellists to respond to the radio audience as they attempt to ‘call-in’. – APC blog

ARTICLE: “C4D needs to embrace the world of technology infrastructure”

Politically, the World Congress on Communication for Development 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.- APCNews

BLOG POST: Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Communicate
By Chat Garcia Ramilo

The session started with music and song, a rarity in conferences, especially one that is convened by international bodies like the World Bank. But so is a panel of indigenous peoples in forums on communication and development. The invisibility and marginalisation of indigenous peoples from the development and communication systems were the main issues that representatives of indigenous nations from Asia, Latin America and Africa highlighted in a special session at the World Conference on Communication for Development currently ongoing in Rome. – APC blog

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NOVEMBER 8-10: APC/UNDP “Dialogue and exchange on promising options and critical issues for national policy and advocacy on ‘open access’ at the local and national levels” and APC Africa regional meeting Johannesburg, South Africa

NOVEMBER 8-10: Forum ICT4D research in contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Lima, Peru

NOVEMBER 11-17: AMARC 9 world conference (APC hosts a training on wireless internet access Nov 11-13)
Amman, Jordan

NOVEMBER 12-14: Women and ICT Task Force meeting
Paris, France

NOVEMBER 17-19: LaborTech: The digital revolution and a labour media strategy
San Francisco, United States of America

NOVEMBER 29-DECEMBER 3: APC Latin America and the Caribbean regional meeting
Montevideo, Uruguay

DECEMBER 4-5: Building communication opportunities (BCO) APC-IICD impact assessment meeting
Johannesburg, South Africa

DECEMBER 9-10: APC wireless capacity building meeting
London, United Kingdom

DECEMBER 12-15: Lead-Bangui ICT workshop for journalists
Bangui, Central African Republic

DECEMBER 15-16: APC women’s programme (APC WNSP) planning & evaluation meeting
Rome, Italy

The APC offices will be closed from December 20 2006 to January 7 2007.

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APCNews, in English, and APCNoticias, in Spanish, are distributed monthly by APC — a worldwide network supporting the use of internet and ICTs for social justice and sustainable development since 1990.

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