ICT for development
"Whatever is the state of localisation in India, the government is definitely responsible for framing the policies. We have dreams of software superpowerdom, yet basic tools are not in place. They have spent crores (tens of millions by Government of India organisations) CDAC and TDIL, and that too all in the name of undertaking work in Indic computing and benefitting the people," says Ravikant of New Delhi, who has been closely keeping track of Free Software localisation efforts in India.
It is assumed that everyone who buys a cheap illegally-copied ("pirated") copy of music or software CD would actually buy
the costly ‘official’ version. Links have been made by piracy and terrorism, which are actually quite ludicrous. ‘Intellectual property’ is used as a term, instead of ‘creative expression’. When something is called property, we are stealing, poaching and pirating. Instead of what we should be really see it as being — sharing, creating and enhancing cultural products.
As far as radio waves go, South Asia could perhaps call itself the dark continent. This part of the planet has an almost-uniformly unenlightened policy when it comes to opening up its airwaves. Voices from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal….
Remember the old joke that the doctor’s operation was a success, but the patient died? Free/Libre and Open Source Software (or FOSS) is a great idea. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out right. This was the cautionary message emerging from an ‘open space’ at the APC Regional Consultation on ICT Policy in South Asia (April 19-21, 2006, Dhaka).
Does civil society understand ICT policies at all? Take your pick….
APC is currently holding an ambitious programme in South Asia, and is drawing a wide range of participation. Here’s looking forward to more activity in the most populous region of the planet. Where ICTs, if effectively used, could make a big difference…
India is also getting networked as never before. But that seems to be mainly for the middle classes. Some musings en route to Dhaka for the APC Asia ICT Policy Meet, to be held in mid-April 2006 at the Bangladeshi capital.
A report from the workshop “Post-WSIS and Uganda’s Way Forward” (arranged by the Collegium for Development Studies at Uppsala University Sweden, I-Network Uganda, Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), with support from the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications, Uganda) is now available as a pdf, 441kb.
Since 9 March 2006, an informal African ‘open access task force’ – made up of NGOs and small and medium sized ISPs – was initiated to lobby for the implementation of an open access model in internet infrastructure. The task force is currently mobilised to make the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) ‘easy’, affordable and open. APCNews staff writer Frederick Noronha has gathered statements from two civil society stakeholders in what is to become a determining project for Africans’ equitable access to the web.
APC member in South Asia, BytesForAll took part in the Baramati Initiative 2006 (www.baramatiinitiatives.org), a meet meant to promote ICTD in rural India, in March. This year’s theme was ICT-in-agriculture. From there, APCNews files a report on an interesting website.