Access to information
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.
APC member, the Third World Institute (Instituto del Tercer Mundo, ITeM) has launched a research project intended to contribute to the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) decision-making process. Research will be focused on key issues of interest to developing countries. Based on the research, position and briefing papers will be produced to advise Southern negotiators and working groups on the policy implications of the different proposals they will be considering during the Summit process.
New partners mean that RITS
APC member in Rio de Janeiro is drawing up a blue-print for the set-up and operation of 1000 telecentres in municipalities situated in areas of extreme poverty throughout Brazil. This follows RITS’ experience working with the government in Brazil’s largest city to establish over a 100 free public internet access points in marginalised neighbourhoods.
Voices that must be heard - RITS reports on the latest round of the information society summit, WSIS
"The situation that was created in Hammamet makes it plain that there’s an urgent need to overcome the barrier to participation by organisations from civil society in the South." This is the conclusion of APC member in Brazil, RITS, at the conclusion of the first PrepCom of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Tunisia in June. "The massive presence of pro-government Tunisian ‘organisations’ made the work of international civil society present almost impossible because of divisions principally regarding the position of the human rights caucus which was calling attention to the question of rights in Tunisia." In Portuguese.
Collected on the CRIS Campaign site, reports in English and Spanish cover the progress of the first ‘prepcom’ from a civil society perspective of the second phase of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held June 24-26. There are reports covering each day – from Day 1 to Day 4.
A three-day meeting in Tunis last month sought to prepare the way for the next World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to be held Nov. 16-18 next year. But interest in this development has built up over the past 30 years.
Was WSIS worth it? The general verdict on the recent United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in December 2003 was a thumbs-down. The Summit outcomes were limited after an arduous and expensive process. However, argues Anriette Esterhuysen, APC’s executive director, from the perspective of many civil society organisations that participated actively, the WSIS has created a new opportunity for solidarity across ideological, sectoral and geographical divides.
On April 28, APC member in Brazil, RITS, and the Heinrich Böll Foundation will present a new publication "The World Summit on the Information Society: a subject for everyone". Composed of analytical articles on the principal issues involved in the WSIS process, the book will also look at the Summit Declaration and Action Plan and the civil society declaration. The presentation will also include a debate with panelists – Sergio Amadeu da Silveira, president of the National Information Technology Institute, and ambassador Clodoaldo Hugueney, representative of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. According to Paulo Lima, RITS director, this is the opportunity to place in the balance the Summit up till now and its strategic importance as well as broadening the debate and the participation of civil society in information society issues. More about RITS.
In December 2003, APC’s member in Brazil RITS carried out a survey of the users of 10 of the 107 municipal telecentres that serve under-privileged neighbourhoods in São Paulo in order to find out who’s using them, users’ habits and preferences when they visit the centres and use the internet, and to find out what their expectations and possibilities are regarding really getting the most out of ICTs. Two thousand questionnaires were distributed in different neighbourhoods. The results of the survey will be posted on the OPPI – the Observatory of Public Policies on Infoinclusion in Brazil- at the end of May. Find out more about RITS’s involvement in the telecentres.
Choike, the southern civil societies portal produced by APC member in Uruguay, the Third World Institute (ITeM), is now offering a monthly newsletter. This month’s features special reports on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and migrant sex work. The specials are produced by Choike’s editorial team but they take their sources from the work of civil societies in the South. Subscribe to the Choike bulletin.