[Fsf-friends] [OFFTOPIC] WSIS special... APCNews

Frederick Noronha (FN) fred@antispam.org
Thu Nov 17 11:28:56 IST 2005

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --
	*APCNews, the monthly newsletter of the
      Association for Progressive Communications (APC)*
	       -   November 2005 No. 58 -
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
The second World Summit on the Information Society has started. Today, 
Wednesday November 2005, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and 
Tunisian President Ben Ali opened the summit which has focussed 
primarily on the twin issues of financing of ICT for development in 
developing countries and internet governance since the first summit was 
held in Geneva in December 2003. A controversial host for an 
international 'information summit' given its well-documented suppression 
of freedom of expression including on the internet, the Tunisian 
authorities were openly criticised by Swiss President Samuel Schmid and 
civil society representative Shirin Ebadi for their repressive acts 
against local and international civil society prior to the summit 
opening. The Tunis Agenda and the Tunis Commitment -the two summit 
documents- were finalised on Tuesday after long negotiations.

APC is producing two APCNews and APCNoticias specials direct from WSIS 
and for the first time, original content in French. Here's the first on 
Day One of the WSIS Summit. The next APCNews will appear on Day Three, 
the last day of the Summit.

Keep informed about the WSIS with APC. We covering events on the ground 
from Tunis and logging it all on our blogs in English, French and Spanish.

English blog: http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/blog
Spanish blog: http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/blog
French blog: http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/blog

RSS feeds also available from each blog page.

Detailed coverage in Spanish comes from APC's Latin America and 
Caribbean ICT Policy Monitor. Http://lac.derechos.apc.org/wsis

All stories in this APCNews Special are from the APC WSIS blogs.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


The Tunis Commitment almost signed [By APCNews]

APCNews writing from TUNIS, Tunisia, 16/11/2005 09:15 -- By 10 pm 
Tuesday, the chairperson, ambassador Khan, had concluded negotiations on 
chapter 3 on internet governance and received a standing ovation from 
all attending delegates. The outcome of the internet governance process 
is to have a forum that will take up broad public policy issues on the 
one hand, and a process of cooperation on the narrow principles that 
relate to domain name, numbers and the root zone file on the other.

"This outcome has to be evaluated in terms of the balance of power in 
the community of nations," said Willie Currie, APC's Communications and 
Information Policy Programme Manager. "The U.S. clearly saw that its 
strategic interest with regard to the war on terror and its dominant 
role in the global economy meant that it had to retain its oversight 
over the primary form of communications in the world, which today is the 
internet," Currie added. 

Who will control the internet? Negotiations appear to be pointing 
towards a multi-stakeholder, multi-lateral forum [By APCNews]

Heated discussions between governments meeting in Tunisia at the World 
Summit on the Information Society seem to reaching results which could 
change the face of how the internet is managed for the next several 
years. APCNews reports. 

APC... recommendations on internet governance [By APC]

APC crystallizes a set of recommendations with regard to internet 
governance for the final Summit in Tunis in November 2005 including for 
an internet governance forum that has become reality in the Tunis 
declaration. Recommendations available in English, Spanish and French. 

IPS, WSIS and paedophile issues [By FN]

 From my RSS-feed, I just came across this story from one of my 
favourite news sources -- IPS filing from Bangkok -- that makes a case 
on why the information society must block paedophiles.

Who gets the credit, and who controls? [By FN]

Here's an articulate post by a journalist colleague from India -one of 
the few that makes sense of the issues at Tunis. It was written by Anand 
Parthasarathy of The Hindu, a prominent Indian newspaper, and reproduced 
via the One World South Asia network. BytesForAll mailing list, an APC 
member, reproduced it... and it raised a (brief but interesting) 
discussion. http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/blog/index.shtml?x=2447992

Crucial drafting session in Tunis [By APCNews]

Late on Sunday night, November 13, 2005, an assembly of about 100 people 
agreed to a series of minimal points of common ground related
to internet governance in Tunis. These points were then to be reported 
back to the general plenary of what is called the resumed PrepCom 3 
meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) for 
definitive negotiation and implementation.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


NEWS ALERT: Censorship by the host of THE UN summit on information? 
People in Tunisia cannot access a number of websites because they are 
being blocked. And the Citizens' Summit on the Information Society has 
also been taken 'offline' for Tunisians. List of filtered websites: 

Flagrant violation of human rights at Tunis [By APCNews]

Under the incredulous eyes of the participants at the World Summit on 
the Information Society (WSIS), journalists and human rights defenders 
were manhandled, insulted, and then violently beaten. APCNews reports 
from Tunis. http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/blog/index.shtml?x=2431813

Many civil society activities cancelled [By Markus Beckedahl]

Many international NGOs taking part in WSIS have collectively decided to 
cancel their activities planned for today at WSIS. This measure is 
intended to make government, private sector and civil society delegates 
aware of the human rights violations that have been adding up since the 
beginning of PrepCom3 resumed. It is also a clear showing of solidarity 
with all independent NGOs in Tunisia who
seem to have to put up with police repression on a daily basis. 
Interview with Anriette Esterhuysen of the APC.
In OGG format: 
http://www.netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/Interview_with_Anriette.ogg In MP3 
format: http://www.netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/Interview_with_Anriette.mp3

Utsumi happy about security... despite attacks on journalists and UN
staff [By Pavelan]

The internet should be more democratic and more international, says
the WSIS' chief organizer. More than 80% of the goals of WSIS have 
already been achieved, says ITU chief Yoshio Utsumi at his opening press 
conference for the summit's currently-underway second phase in Tunisia. 
He however skipped answering whether ITU has communicated concern to 
Tunisia's government regarding the safety of journalists and human 
rights' campaigners. Utsumi also announced that over 300 parallel events 
planned. Some 12,000 delegates are meanwhile in Tunis on the eve of the 
summit opening.

Obstacles ...and whose security? [By Jac sm Kee]

Took a cab to the Kram Palexbo, where the Summit and IT 4 All exhibition 
was happening[...] When we finally got to the site, we were stopped 5 
times at security checks at every turn of the road and I had to flash my 
registration card and a big smile to calm the security that I was 
indeed, a legitimate subject to attend this conference, accredited 
(somehow) and all. 

Cause for concern: how free is free? [By FN]

IFEX Action Alert Network, the International Freedom of eXpression 
Clearing House has come out with a statement quoting Article 19 to point 
to attacks on journalists and others at the WSIS by the authorities. 
This statement is being distributed on behalf of the World Summit on the 
Information Society (WSIS) Civil Society's Media Caucus.

Online protest ... an alternative home [By Neila Charchour Hachicha]

Since the official website of the Online Protest is censored as you
can check for yourself here http://www.yezzi.org. I copied all pics
from the protest on flickr cause I thought you might like to discover 
this online protest http://flickr.com/photos/yezzi/sets/1366354/. It is 
a virtual online protest to say "Yezzi...Fock" which means "Enough is 
Enough". They just cannot say we are disturbing the public order and 
protesting is
a constitutional right. The Keyboard Revolution is doing its way so
help us keep the internet free from censorship. 

In Tunis, internet governance rhymes with state control [By APCNews]

Today, the website of the Citizens' Summit on the Information Society 
(CSIS) was effectively off-line for all web users in Tunisia. It appears 
that Tunisian authorities have started to intensify their crackdown on 
legitimate initiatives related to the World Summit on the information 
Society (WSIS). Blocking the access to the www.citizens-summit.org is 
the latest in a series of measures
introduced to silence voices critical of the government and its human 
right record. http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/blog/index.shtml?x=2436066

Don't take pictures at WSIS-Tunis [By Shahzad BytesForAll, Pakistan]

Maxigas -- a friend from Hungary -- and myself had the opportunity to go 
to the Tunis City Centre last afternoon, just to have a feel
of the city and get to know a little more about Tunis. The atmosphere 
seemed quite festive, and preparations for the WSIS are in full swing. 
Green plants are being transported in numbers and transplanted on 
roadsides and important squares, large pictures of the Tunisian 
President are installed everywhere, and even most of the banners also 
carry his pictures welcoming the WSIS delegates ;)
But questions remain.... 

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


Making the ride to cyberspace affordable [By APCNews]

En route to the promised global village, the information superhighway is 
plagued by poor access and high fares that the bulk of this planet 
simply cannot afford. Reducing international internet costs is an 
important priority, underlined in a set of recommendations from the APC 
made to the WSIS stresses. 

Some figures... and hard facts [By FN]

Some figures, and hard facts, from a Highway Africa article, titled
ICT4 All expo to attract 40,000 participants: "According to the 
International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the 942 million people 
living in the world's developed economies enjoy five times better access 
to fixed and mobile phone services, nine times better access to Internet 
services, and own 13 times more personal computers than the 85 per cent 
of the world's population living in low and lower-middle income 
countries. ITU also estimates that 800,000 villages still lack 
connection by telephone line, the internet or any other modern ICTs." 

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


Programme of APC events in Tunis: 
http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/apc_wsis_programme.pdf (pdf  to download 
and print out)

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


APC blogs are open to anyone in Tunis or around the world who wants to 
write or comment on the World Summit on the Information Society. Here 
are some highlights.

WSIS II: A walking dead [By maxigas]

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a pseudo-transcript of the proceedings
of the Civil Society press conference held on November 15, 2005 
(Tuesday) at 16:30. The second round of WSIS has not even started yet 
but hearing the pronouncements below one would think that it is
already over!

ICT for All? Really? [By Jac sm Kee]

At the end of the day, Maxigas and I decided to take a walk and survey 
the images of women, men, elderly people, young people and disabled 
people at the ICT 4 All Exhibition hall. Afterall, the claim is that ICT 
is for all right? So who is this 'all' we are talking about. 

Hope remains forever... Tunis vignettes [Shahzad BytesForAll, Pakistan]

Have just gotten out of the Global Knowledge Partnership or GKP's 
partnership building workshop at the El-Hana Hotel in Tunis City Centre. 
It indeed was a pleasant experience. Frankly, had no clue earlier that 
how GKP works and what kind of partnerships they have all around the 
world ... http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/blog/index.shtml?x=2439181

It's another world out there... [By FN]

Inter-Press Service, the alternative news agency, has these stories 
related to the WSIS. Given its alternative perspective, it reminds us of 
some diverse perspectives which the first-to-break-the-news Western 
media often overlooks... or simply prefers not to highlight. One 
interesting piece is Media Enemies to
Share UN Spotlight by Marty Logan. 

Groggy at Tunis... another view [By Jac sm Kee]

The plane ride was as all plane rides become after awhile, uncomfortable 
and far too long. Once getting off, there were large posters everywhere 
advertising WSIS, especially about the IT 4 All exhibition, where the 
tagline -- complete with pictures of multi-gendered and 'raced' children 
smiling at a computer screen - promises to forefront the human dimension 
of information communications technologies development. I think I 
snorted audibly. http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/blog/index.shtml?x=2431649

Gender voices from Tunis [By Katerina Fialova]

Here's some information about GenderIT.org coverage planned for the
WSIS at Tunis in mid-November 2005. See details of what's expected via 
websites, blogs, RSS feeds and more, to keep cyberspace informed about 
what's emerging. http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/blog/index.shtml?x=2386770

Looking for environmental activists [By Milena B.]

Just curious whether environmental sustainability and ICTs is taking
place somewhere in the WSIS docs at all ;-) It will be good to know
if apart from BlueLink, whether there are other NGOs interested to stand 
up for the issue of environmental sustainability in Tunis.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


[Thanks to maxigas of Hungary, you can read more snapshots on the APC 
WSIS blog and here 

Jeanette Hofmann (Member of the German Civil Society Coordination Group):
The U.S. is not willing to talk about internet government oversight. 
Most likely the Summit will ask Kofi Annan the Secretary General of the 
U.N. to set up a Forum on internet governance and the U.S. is expected 
to participate. The Forum would take up a range of issues including 
Information Technology for Development and political oversight.

Rikke Frank Jorgensen (Civil Society Human Rights Caucus):
"Many have asked about the human rights situation. [...] 10-15 of us 
were to hold a coordination meeting at the Goethe Institute yesterday. 
The Tunisian civil society people were not allowed to enter, and were 
kept out by men in civilian clothes who introduced themselves as 
"security personel". I am not sure what kind of police it was. When 
myself and other members of the international civil society stayed 
outside in solidarity, we were forcefully removed. Then we walked around 
the city to find another place to peacefully gather - to exercise our 
right for peaceful assembly. Each time we were removed again, we were 
pushed, and some people were even tried to be taken into cars and taken 
away. In the end the German ambassador arrived and tried to enter these 
premises with his guests of his own choice but he was not allowed. After 
that each of us contacted our respective delegations, and asked for 
support from the governments to basically provide for a space where we 
can have this Citizens' Summit."

Parmindeer Jeet Singh (Coordinator of the Civil Society Caucus for 
Follow-up and Implementation):
"I am presenting the specific disappointment of the civil society. The 
Tunis round was presented as a "Summit of Solutions" by its organisers. 
We did not find any effective solutions to the problems that brought us 
here, of using the new communication opportunities for more adequate 
development in the developing countries. Countries of the North did not 
show the political will to getting forward with the policy of internet 
governance and did not establish any follow-up process. Financing ITC4D 
(Information Technology for Development), which is a very important 
issue, was not addressed at all and no commitments were made. At present 
the governments are trying to cover up the possibility of a complete 
failure of the implementation of the WSIS process."

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


Indepth: WSIS by Choike

RWB presents electronic dissidents at the WSIS

Humanity will survive information deluge ?·Sir Arthur C Clarke

Who owns and controls the information societies? FSF Europe 2003

WSIS and Beyond : A dialogue between Soenke Zehle & Geert Lovink

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---


The WSIS documents:
Tunis Agenda:http://www.ngocongo.org/ngomeet/WSIS/TunisAgenda.htm
Tunis Commitment: http://www.ngocongo.org/ngomeet/WSIS/TunisCommitment.htm

Citizens' Summit on the Information Society
This website has been blocked in Tunisia since Monday November 14, 2005. 
It is only accessible from WSIS Media Center but the rest of us around 
the world can still visit it.

WSIS official site from the ITU

United Nations Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships

Summit Newsroom, Tunis Phase

IPS on WSIS – the progressive Global News Agency


ITU's ICT success story home page

Unesco WSIS publication series

Gender at Tunis: from GenderIT.org

The World Summit on the Information Society Civil Society Meeting Point

Germany-based site on WSIS (also in German)

Heinrich-Boll-Stiftung (German Greens Party-linked foundation) on
WSIS. Some sections of the site in Spanish too.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --
APCNews, in English, and APCNoticias, in Spanish, are
distributed monthly by APC -- a worldwide network supporting the
use of internet and ICTs for social justice and sustainable
development since 1990. APCNews Archive:

Some rights reserved: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial
Licence 2.0 - 2005 Association for Progressive Communications

More information about the Fsf-friends mailing list