South African policy activist becomes APC's new Communications and Information Policy Programme Manager
Willie Currie joined APC as our policy programme manager in early September. Currently based in New York, from 1999-2002 Willie was a councillor with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA).
In the mid ‘90s, he co-ordinated the telecommunications policy process that led to South Africa’s first post-Apartheid telecommunications policy document. Prior to this, as general secretary of the Film and Allied Workers Organisation, Willie was involved in the development of broadcasting policy during the transition to democracy in South Africa and a public campaign to ‘free the airwaves’. APCNews talked to Willie about his new role.
South Asia has 23% of the world’s population but less than 1% of the internet users. Bytes for All
a Southern Asian network promoting ICT for development has just become APC’s newest member. Bytes for All is active throughout South Asia with volunteers from numerous countries including India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
A workshop held in Manila focused on pressing communication rights issues in the Asian region including attacks on freedom of expression and independent media. Activists issued a statement in support of a Thai colleague present who returned home to face a million-dollar lawsuit for speaking out in the press against government corruption.
“I learned a lot and changed my way of thinking not only about computers and the internet, but about working for the community”. “I didn’t just learn to write and upload news to a website, I learned about leadership and how to build projects.” “In the RIJ we are bringing about positive change for young people. We help get their message out.” This is how some of the teenage participants feel about RIJ, a communications network for Bogota youth. Now the project is over, they’re still planning to keep the network alive.
A crowd of about four hundred turned out to demonstrate against proposed European software patents legislation. It was the first "geeky", free-software related demonstration in Hungary said APC member Green Spider, organised by groups not typically used to leaving their computer screens to get their voices heard.
Following the successful World Forum on Communications Rights held in Geneva in December, communications activists including the APC aim to bring together those working at different levels on communication rights – from grass roots activists working on practical projects and street level campaigns, to those engaged in lobbying and advocacy, to researchers and academics for a European Forum on Communication Rights on October 14 in London.
Highway Africa is the world’s largest conference for African journalists. This year’s three-day meeting
called "Media making the information society" is attended by more than 350 people. The information and communication technology (ICT) focus will provide a platform for journalists to learn and report on information society issues. APC is running workshops on secure online communication workshops and ICT policy. Read news coming out of Highway Africa by visiting the site and clicking on the news box on the left.
Partnership will provide 1000s of low-cost computers for development work in dry lands of East Africa
APC members ALIN-EA and Computer Aid have come together in order to extend low cost PCs to not-for-profit community development groups working in the rural dry lands across East Africa.
The partnership has already shipped 450 fully refurbished Pentium II and Pentium III computers to Nairobi for distribution by ALIN-EA to its member organisations and to wider civil society structures. The intention of the partnership is to be able to provide literally thousands of quality refurbished PCs at the lowest cost possible backed up by a first class technical support service and one year guarantee.
Bulgarian environmental organisations have formed a coalition protesting the planned construction of a second nuclear power plant in Bulgaria. “The government has already announced that the decision for constructing the plant is made despite the fact that the public hearings and an environmental impact assessment have not been finished,” says a representative of the coalition coordinator, APC member, BlueLink. “We ask governments and civil society groups to contact the Bulgarian government questioning the project.” Campaign volunteers can write to beleNE@bluelink.net or visit the campaign site.
Catalysing a Gender and ICT Advocacy Movement: First APC women’s programme policy conference for change and empowerment
“We are constantly urged to make the case for gender and ICT,” said Karen Banks, former coordinator of the APC Women’s Networking Support Programme in her opening address to the APC WNSP’s first gender and ICT policy conference, “ICT policy makers, funders, governments and even civil society ICT advocates ask ‘why gender?’ and the women’s movement asks ‘why ICTs?’” Analysis of the debates that dominated the two-day meeting in Rio de Janeiro in June now online.