Access to information
It’s time to stop subsidising monopolies like Telkom, argues APC’s director Anriette Esterhuysen. That’s after Telkom told South Africa daily, the Financial Mail, that too much competition in the provision of international bandwidth in Africa could be bad for business.
In Punwami there are 35 toilets in total, and four computers. No internet is available, and the computers are mostly used for playing CDs with preventive HIV information. Walking around Pumwani, I visit a small para-legal office. Para-legals are people who receive basic training in human rights, in order to give legal advice to other people in the community.
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a landmark disability convention that will benefit ten per cent of the world’s population. “It is the most rapidly negotiated human rights treaty in the history of international law; and the first to emerge from lobbying conducted extensively through the internet” by the community of people living with disabilities, the Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. The convention covers rights to education, health, work and a range of other protective measures for people with disabilities.
You can’t see it; you can’t even know it exists. But for enabling data communication on the fringes of an internet-enriched globe, wireless communication makes a world of a difference. For groups like the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), it offers untapped power in harnessing wireless technology for social purposes.
In October 2006, The Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome hosted the first ever international Congress on Communication for Development. Scott Robinson from the Metropoltan University in Mexico City has attended and offers here a few indications on how he thinks the WCCD should be rethought. As part of his reflections, he offers new ways forward.
“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,” states Association for Progressive Communications (APC
APC executive director Anriette Esterhuysen has told the Internet Governance Forum, meeting in Athens currently, 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.
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. The timing coincided with a forum on the future of the internet that is receiving about 1,500 people in a hotel outside of Athens four days in a row.
Opening internet access in Africa, convergence and developing country participation in the UN summit on the information society:
Several new papers on key issues now and in the future are available online. Part of the "APC Issue Papers" series, they are currently being circulated at the UN conference on internet governance being held in Athens in English and French.
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.