Just four days before the WSF starts in Karachi on 24th March, it is common knowledge that leading women rights organizations in Pakistan have detached themselves from the WSF and will not participate in any event.
Internet traffic in Pakistan is very controlled as more than 90% of it is routed through Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE).
The role of the WSF is to help us ask the right questions when we return home.
If you’ve ever seen six degrees of separation you may remember the scene where Stockard Channing keeps repeating chaos, control, chaos, control, you like, you like? as she flips a two-sided painting back and forth (I think it’s a Kandinsky). I can think of no better way to illustrate the World Social Forum. It’s both and neither.
A little something for everyone at the World Social Forum…
Michael Gurstein has penned this interesting analysis Networking
the Networked/Closing the Loop: Some Notes on WSIS II which is available on the archives of the incom-l mailing list. Prof Gurstein, who specialises in community based technology applications, raises critical questions about the “networking opportunities” thrown up by
the WSIS at Tunis.
But I’ve many interesting experiences at WSIS. For example, one evening in
Tunis I was travelling back to my hotel by bus and the lady who was sitting
next to me was talking to me in French. When I’ve problems explaining
things in French, she started speaking to me in English and informed me
that she used to work with a writer group in USA.
On the afternoon of Friday, November 18, 2005, one of three stakeholders taking part in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) drew a line in the sand. Civil society representatives from all continents lined up to deliver a stark closing statement.
There were civil society thumbs up for the new multistakeholder Internet Governance Forum; the awareness built that people from all walks of life should be involved in ICT policy development, not just technology specialists and government officials; and the spotlight shone on state repression and surveillance in the host nation, Tunisia.
But thumbs were down for: the UN for choosing a flagrant violator of human rights as the hosts of a UN summit; wealthier governments which insist that financing for ICT for development should be voluntary only; the vague language on internet oversight; and the fact that WSIS follow-up will probably be assigned to technology-focused specialist committee.
Here are some other voices about how civil society responded to the Tunis
mega-meet over the past week. href=“http://www.ipsterraviva.net”>IPS/TerraViva has done an interesting
job in highlighting diverse issues. Including href=“http://www.ipsterraviva.net/tv/tunis/viewstory.asp?idnews=377”>reporting
on how the non-profit world saw the results of the global meet (a
“consolation prize”), href=“http://www.ipsterraviva.net/tv/tunis/viewstory.asp?idnews=364”>how the NGO world sees the deal on internet governance (“disappointed”), the treatment civil society got in Tunis (“a poor welcome”) and some crucial background to understanding the issues involved.
Only 11% of African people have a fixed line telephone, 12% of African people questioned have a mobile telephone, less than 3% have an email address…So says a new study conducted by RIA. Although one of the WSIS’s main objectives is to decrease the digital divide, 80% of African people today do not have access to any form of communication service. A shocking statistic is that 15% of African people who were questioned would have preferred to buy a cellular telephone than a refrigerator! In Francophone African countries, the statistics, with the exception of Senegal, are worse.