Open access

While in 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.

THE CLOSE OF WSIS: The civil society verdict

TUNIS, Tunisia

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.

How the others saw Tunis...

Goa, India

Here are some other voices about how civil society responded to the Tunis
mega-meet over the past week. href=“”>IPS/TerraViva has done an interesting
job in highlighting diverse issues. Including href=“”>reporting
on how the non-profit world saw the results of the global meet (a
“consolation prize”), href=“”>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.

Africa: divide within the divide

Tunis, Tunisia

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.

Snapshot: Ana María Ponce (.pe)

Tunis, Tunisia

She’s a Peruvian heading towards The Mountain Forum in Nepal. The forum is particularly created as a medium of alternative communication for mountainous areas, which is why, since its conception, it has specifically used the internet as a communication tool between the participating people and communities that constitute the different nodes.

Cost of accessing WSIS II

Had some conversations yesterday, and I thought I would share what I have found out in terms of some cost of participating in this event….I am wondering how much the total cost of building up these sprawling white tents cost, or hiring of the buses for the shuttle service, the planting of the trees, the printing of the Tunisian President’s picture to grace the streets… and I wonder how the payment for this eventually trickles down to you, me and the countless people who have no idea of what WSIS is about, nor have a chance to care.

Voices from Africa, HANA


Highway Africa runs the Highway Africa News Agency. (Interestingly, its work is put out under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.) They’ve got some interesting stories in their e-despatch which just reached mailboxes earlier today.One story is about African delegates boast of ICT success stories. Perhaps the most catchy title is No teeth but can still chew the fat and it’s a radio script for a radio report on the Internet Governance Forum and who controls the internet…You need to login to access these stories, but there’s no commercial barrier (or, unvoluntary sign-up fee) needed to gain access.

Unesco links... only a little handicap

Goa, India

Am sitting in Goa, at one of those fast cybercafes scattered across India, that charge about US 50 cents per hour, an am accessing a set of links sent across by the Unesco about their webcasts on events held in the WSIS at Tunis. It’s very slow in downloading, and the speech is jerky, but it works. See the links below….The links are to a Workshop on ICT and persons with disabilities, Case presentations: ICT and people with disabilities, UNESCO High-Level Round Table on the occasion of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). All of these can also be viewed at this site.

$100 laptop: hope or hype?


Prototypes for a $100 laptop for Third World schools are out… what does it look like? What can it do? Is there a catch? And, hangon, there is still discussion on whether the internet is a friend or foe of education….

US slams Tunisia on human rights


The US delegation to WSIS expressed disappointment with Tunisia’s failure to secure rights of expression and assembly

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