Some voices... about Tunis

Goa, India

How's the world comprehending Tunis? From disinterest to unheard voices, bewilderment, hidden agendas and nationalistic positions... all these seem to be the trends emerging from the media conference on November 2005's World Summit on the Information Society at Tunisia. More so, if one looks at the media from a Southern perspective.
How's the world comprehending Tunis? From disinterest to unheard voices, bewilderment, hidden agendas and nationalistic positions... all these seem to be the trends emerging from the media conference on November 2005's World Summit on the Information Society at Tunisia. More so, if one looks at the media from a Southern perspective.

Brenda Zulu -- identified as a journalist specialising in reporting on Information Communication Technologies for Development -Handout: ICTs for Development (ICT4D), Multimedia Training Kit (part of APC's ICT policy training curriculum)">ICT4D

- issues -- has this report on AllAfrica.com that is titled WSIS Set to Begin in Tunis As SADC Lobbies Countries To Diffuse The Dakar Paper.

Zulu explains that the (Dakar) resolution "generated a lot of discussion since it was very different from the Accra resolution, which advocated change from the status quo where Zambia participated in the Africa WSIS in Accra. The Dakar resolutions, in the main, advocated the status quo although it did not refer to internationalisation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)."

The Jamaica Observer has this column which sees Cyberspace as backyard for the new 'Monroe Doctrine'. [The Monroe Doctrine, expressed in 1823, proclaimed that the Americas should be closed to future European colonization and free from European interference in sovereign countries' affairs. The Doctrine was conceived by its authors, especially John Quincy Adams, as a proclamation by the United States of moral opposition to colonialism, but has subsequently been re-interpreted in a wide variety of ways, including by President Theodore Roosevelt as a license for the U.S. to practice its own form of colonialism.]

From India, The Financial Express interviews Nitin Desai, who is special advisor to the United Nations Secretary General.

Desai is quoted saying, "Our main goal is to find ways for developing countries to gain better access to the Internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs), helping them improve their life standards right from their knowledge base to their work culture, and spread awareness about diseases and other crucial issues. This will aim to bridge the huge communication technology and infrastructure gap existing currently in the world. This will include connecting villages, community access points, schools and universities, research centres, libraries, health centres and hospitals, and local and central "state" in this glossary). As a general rule, "government" should not be capitalised.

Source: Wikipedia">government

departments. Besides looking at the first two years of implementation of the Plan of Action after the Geneva summit, the Tunis episode will seek to encourage the development of content meant to empower the nations."

Sounds great. But are we really getting anywhere close?

He says: "The way India has made use of IT, fetching the country not only profits, but a huge percentage of employed people, it has been really impressive." My view: it's a shame that we in India have so many IT professionals, but these skills get used so much for the export-dollar, and hardly at all (except in a spillover manner) to tackle the huge isuses that a Collins English dictionary ">billion

seeking a better life have to daily deal with.

Xinhua, the Chinese news agency sounds optimistic when it says, "Solutions are expected to be found to the dispute over who should govern the Internet and whether to set up a fund aimed at helping narrow the digital gap between rich and poor nations at the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) due to be held in the Tunisian capital of Tunis from Nov. 16 to 18."

Ma Lian and Liu Hao, writing with a Cairo dateline, also note: " In an article published in the Washington Post on Nov. 5, the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that the Tunis phase of WSIS could end up giving too much focus to Source: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society">internet governance

and not enough to the summit's original goal of ensuring that poor countries experience the full benefits of new information and communication technologies."

SABC, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, has this Reuter report titled Rights groups says Tunisia is not right for WSIS, citing the position of the IFEX. It said: "As thousands of delegates and InfoTech experts gathered in Tunisia this weekend for a UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), human rights and media freedom groups were asking: Is this meeting in the wrong place?" and points to both the positions critical of the Tunisian government on free speech, and the administration's defence of its record.

Finally, when it comes to reporting on the unfair global village, and communication rights we have within it, isn't it ironic that the awareness and ability to keep up with the issue -- of information -- is itself so unfair?

The International Freedom of Expression eXchange draws attention for its joint statement which reports that in a 10 November 2005 letter from the executive secretariat of the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS), Reporters Sans Frontiers secretary general Robert Ménard was informed that Tunisian authorities would not allow him in the country to attend the summit.


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