Many of us question the use of the term Information Society. It has the tendency to de-emphasize more fundamental inequalities. Nevertheless, the term is here to stay, and the recent United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Geneva in December 2003, popularized its use by governments and the media. Participating governments adopted a Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action which outline policy for global coordination of information and communications technologies (ICTs), and propose actions to “bridge the digital divide.” Civil society organizations adopted their own declaration, which expresses an alternative vision and plan.
APC’s overriding objective at this year’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 12 to 15 November, was to promote internet for development.
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is organising a one-day event called EQUITABLE ACCESS to start a process of consolidating emerging lessons and knowledge on innovative access solut
The APC Council is made up of two representatives of each APC memeber. They gather together face to face every two years, to set and revise APC strategic priorities.
In 2004, APC became focused on producing policy commentaries, proposals and positions, reflecting its independent and critical perspective. APC formed strategic alliances with like-minded groups with whom for instance it promoted the position that the internet is a global public good. The APC annual report 2004 includes APC’s advocacy work for the United Nations summit on the information society (WSIS) as well as in stimulating and supporting accelerated ICT policy and regulatory reform in six African countries.
The Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment (GRACE) is a research project that APCNews has been covering in the past. APC’s women programme in Africa (AAW) also engaged with the project over the last months. But where is it at? Capacity building workshops were held in July 2005 and June 2006, with a third workshop planned for July 2007. Here is a short update on GRACE.
Blatant censorship is one thing, and can be fought. But who controls the controllers? What about the more subtle forms of control and blockages, that often can work in the more brutal ways of the unseen hand? APC member-organisation RITS’s Carlos Afonso, made this point articulatedly at the Internet Governance Forum in Athens. Afonso underlined that it was difficult to deal internet-related issues "without considering the situation of regulation, legislation and control of the network itself." He questioned the view that "the technical question is not as relevant as the other issues." What is the responsibility of network operators? Controlling players decide if voice over IP traffic can pass through an exchange point or not.
The APC Internet Rights Charter is available in 20 languages including Urdu, Filipino, Bengali, Bulgarian, Czech, Catalan and Russian.
Why did ten APC members from around the world decide it was time to set up ICT policy portals in their countries?
Ten APC members have created national portal websites tracking communications and information related policy in a joint initiative. The portals have been set up in Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, the UK and Uruguay. APCNews asked some of the site administrators who were still putting last minute touches to their portals which were launched collectively on June 8 2004 to comment briefly on ICT policy in their countries and their hopes for the portals.