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OPINION: The Digital Solidarity Fund and The Economist

NEW YORK, USA 1 April 2005 (APCNews)

APC’s policy manager, Willie Currie, responds to an editorial on the digital divide from The Economist magazine in which it derided the Digital Solidarity Fund that had been welcomed by governments at the WSIS Prepcom 2.

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ICTs for Grassroots: Women from South Asia

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 1 April 2005 (Maud Hand)

Like bright flowers in a grey space, the grassroots women of India livened up February’s Prepcom proceedings and it wasn’t just their stylish saris that did the trick. Undaunted by the suits and officialdom of Geneva’s UN machinery, these Indian representatives vigorously demonstrated the value of ICTs in their working lives and made a cogent case for finances to build more equitable ICT infrastructures in developing countries like India. Over chappatis and chi, they shared their stories with Maud Hand for APCNews.

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APC REPORT: Finance of information and communication technologies for development (ICTD) at Prepcom 2

NEW YORK, USA 1 April 2005 (APCNews)

“Internet Governance is Important…it would have been more so, if people HAD the Internet…LET’S TALK FINANCING FIRST!” proclaimed a t-shirt worn at PrepCom 2. Who will finance info technology for development is an intensely ideological issue. WSIS 1 established a Task Force on Financial Mechanisms to break the deadlock amongst governments and to make recommendations for WSIS 2 to adopt. Those recommendations were presented and debated at PrepCom 2. This report from APC looks at the issues on (and off) the table.

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Interview with Ayesha Hassan, leader of the business sector at WSIS

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 1 April 2005 (Maud Hand)

When Ayesha Hassan contributed to the Open Consultations on Internet Governance in the run up to WSIS, it was clear that the business sector’s concerns were in competent hands. This stylishly suited lawyer, a Senior Policy Manager on ICT for the International Chamber of Commerce, leads the CCBI – the Co-ordinating Committee of Business Interlocutors at the conference. Maud Hand hears how this business interlocutor stays in command of her committee during PrepCom 2.

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The internet governance debate is one where civil society advocates can make a real difference

LONDON, UK 1 April 2005 (Karen Banks)

Internet governance brings together two largely impenetrable realms for the average WSIS delegate: the nuts and bolts of the internet – what it is, how it works- and who manages those nuts and bolts. It is too early to predict what the final impact of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) will be. But there is no doubt that it has created a much-needed space. “At a time of global malaise, indifference and lack of faith and legitimacy in many of our global and national governance institutions, the internet governance debate is one where civil society advocates can make a real difference,” concludes APC in this new report which covers the main developments in the internet governance debate.

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Markus Kummer, coordinator of the internet governance working group – Diplomacy at the cutting edge

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 1 April 2005 (Maud Hand)

As executive coordinator of the Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), Markus Kummer prepares sessions, facilitates their work and writes up their reports after meetings. But, as he explains to Maud Hand in a quiet moment prior to PrepCom 2, Phase 2, unlike the classical secretariat tasks of any international working group, the multi-stakeholder make up of WGIG makes for a very different job.

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WSIS PrepCom 2: A South Asian perspective

BANGALORE, INDIA 1 April 2005 (IT for Change)

A divergent discourse between what governments say in Switzerland and what they say at home, the almost complete lack of interaction between government and civil society representatives and an absence of civil society voices from the non-technical sector, characterised the South Asian presence in Geneva conclude Bangalore activists, IT for Change.

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WSIS PrepCom 2: A Latin American civil society perspective

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO 1 April 2005 (Olinca Marino)

Olinca Marino from LaNeta, APC member in Mexico, has been following the WSIS process since its beginning. In this report she comments on the united front shown by Latin American governments at PrepCom 2 but notes that the front begins to fall apart significantly in two areas that civil society activists care passionately about – free software and community radio.

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IL FAIT BON VIVRE EN TUNISIE? The state of human rights in Tunisia, host of the next World Summit on the Information Society

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 1 April 2005 (Maud Hand)

Attendees at the recent phase of WSIS couldn’t fail to notice the prolific presence of Tunisian delegates. From civil society plenaries through gatherings over coffee to the government sessions, they had their say in preparation for the November summit. But can a country whose government censors journalists, curtails web access and imprisons internet users without trial, be a fit host for the UN’s World Summit on the Information Society? Maud Hand seeks answers to one of the hottest questions of Prepcom 2 for APCNews.

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Multi-stakeholder participation and ICT policy processes

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 1 April 2005 (Anriette Esterhuysen)

The complexity of the WSIS process has been discussed extensively. But APC executive director Anriette Esterhuysen questions whether the WSIS is uniquely complex. In this article for APCNews she explores multistakeholder participation in policy processes, particularly at national level, and examines consensus and conflict in the WSIS civil society space and why the issue of collaboration with the private sector has become so contentious.

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