Access to information
The structure as well as the struggles for the second
phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) summit process are slowly becoming clearer. One thing is clear: It will be more complex than the first round, as it has to deal with many more loose ends. WSIS 2003 only had to deliver two pieces of paper (the declaration of principles and the action plan). This left a lot of time for endless discussions, arm-twisting on wording, sorting out friends or foes in different arenas, and for civil society to start playing inside the official UN process. Now, the negotiators from Geneva will meet the real world. And as conflicts remain, the actors are positioning themselves for the second round.
Carlos Afonso, director of planning at RITS
APC’s Brazilian member organisation outlines the digital inclusion opportunities and initiatives carried out in Brazil so far, from the successful ones to the dismal failures. According to Afonso, despite the flurry of acronyms being thrown around, Brazil still does not have a national strategy that will provide the majority of Brazilians with access to the internet. He believe it’s crucial that the Brazilan government gets involved in the set-up of community telecentres and computers in schools and public libraries – the cheapest and most efficient way of democratising access to information and communication technologies.
After the excesses of Christmas and New Year, the CRIS Campaign in their own words has been very quiet in the early part of 2004. However, the team is back with an update on the First World Forum on Communication Rights held in Geneva in December, plans for CRIS for 2004 and an invitation for local networks to become part of CRIS.
The depth of disappointment with the formal outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society cannot be fully explained by reference to the usual process of summit attrition, governments horse-trading down to the lowest common denominator.
APC at the World Social Forum 2004, Mumbai: A Personal Account from APC’s African Policy Coordinator
Emmanuel Njenga Njuguna of APC’s Africa ICT Policy Monitor project has been involved in various global policy-making processes on communication rights issues. He gives us his impressions of the World Social Forum as he went to Mumbai to run an ICT Policy for Civil Society’ workshop for Forum participants.
APC takes you through the main events in the run-up to the first World Summit on the Information Society phase in Geneva 2003 from the perspective of civil society representatives.
A UN summit designed to shrink the technology gap between rich and poor nations has ended with agreement on lofty principles, but no commitments to practical measures.
"How information and communication policy is decided today will shape the future of contemporary societies," says APC in a new book presented at last week’s World Summit on the Information Society.
APCNews asked the editor of APC’s new book "ICT Policy: A Beginner’s Handbook" Chris Nicol to comment briefly on motivation behind the handbook which was published in December.
APC’s partner IPS (InterPress Service) sent a letter of complaint to the Secretary General of the ITU (organisers of last week’s World Summit on the Information Society) following the removal of many hundreds of their independent newspapers, Terra Viva, by Tunisians trying to suppress criticism of their government. The same people were disrupting meetings critical of the Tunisian human rights record, including the World Forum on Communication Rights which also took place last week in Geneva.