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<nettime> wsis digest no. 2
geert lovink on Fri, 24 Oct 2003 14:44:18 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> wsis digest no. 2


World Summit on Information Society
Nettime Digest, no. 2, October 24, 2003

(alternative counter activities gather at http://www.geneva03.net)

0.   Tough issues face Information Society summit
1.   World Web Summit Worries Journalists
2.   Unions Want Employment Issues on Agenda
3.   Temporary Cyber Bus project
4.   WSIS events and information
5.   GEMEINSAME VISION IN WEITER FERNE (Berlin event)
6.   More hypocrisy as Tunisia hosts international congress on digital
divide
7.   Swiss cultural project during WSIS
8.   Statement of Bellagio Symposium on Media, Freedom and Poverty
9.   "Vision Informationsgesellschaft" (Tutzing)
10. FSF/Richard Stallman  {AT}  WSIS

--

0. Tough issues face Information Society summit
Major clash expected

By John Blau, IDG News Service October 01, 2003

Delegates attending the World Summit on the Information Society
(WSIS)in Geneva in December can look forward to another major clash
overseveral contentious issues that blocked agreement of two key
documents during a critical round of negotiations in the Alpine city
last month.

WSIS is an attempt to bridge what many governments view as a widening
gap between people who have access to modern communication services and
information, and thus knowledge, and those who don't, according
to Yoshio Utsumi, secretary general of the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU), the U.N. agency responsible for the
summit. The importance of communications and access to networks "is
no longer just a technical matter, but a fundamental policy goal for
every nation," Utsumi said in a statement.

At September's Prepcom-3, the final preparatory conference before the
summit, government representatives and members of the private and civil
sectors, including the media, met to agree on final drafts of two core
documents, the Declaration of Principles and the Action
Plan. Despite some progress, they failed to produce documents ready
for signing at the world's first Information Society summit.

Now the ITU is hastily trying to organize at least one "intersessional"
meeting, if not two, in an effort to build a consensus before heads of
state from at least 50 countries -- both developed and developing --
meet at the summit from Dec. 10-12, said Gary Fowlie, an ITU spokesman.
The first intersessional meeting is planned for Nov. 11-14, "pending
resources," he said. The second, depending on the outcome of the first,
could take place directly before the summit from Dec. 7-9.

The expectations of the summit are high if the Declaration of Principles
is any indication. The document seeks "a commitment to build an
inclusive Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize
and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals and
communities to achieve their full potential and improve their quality of
life in a sustainable manner."

The document, representing a framework of fundamental principles, is
intrinsically linked with the second, the Action Plan, which contains
more than 140 items to achieve them. Copies of the draft documents
are available on the ITU-sponsored WSIS Web site: www.itu.int/wsis.

Both, however, are riddled with contentious issues, such as who will
finance the development of the Information Society and govern the
Internet, not to mention intellectual property rights, open-source
software and freedom of expression.

"This is the first time that issues like financing, Internet
governance and security and even spam have ever been discussed at a
global level," Fowlie said. "Because they're so broad and some of
them so new, it's definitely a challenge to address them all."

For sure, money is one of the biggest sticking points, according to the
spokesman. Demands by several developing countries to create a "digital
solidarity fund" have met strong resistance by developed countries,
which argue that existing financing mechanisms could be better
leveraged, he said.

Another prickly subject, almost on par with financing, is Internet
governance, Fowlie said. China and Brazil are among several countries
calling for one or more global bodies to manage Internet resources, such
as domain names, root servers and IP (Internet Protocol) addresses -- an
area heavily controlled by the U.S. Hardly a
surprise, the idea has fallen upon deaf ears in the U.S. delegation,
which continues to back ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and Numbers). Delegates from the European Union (EU) likewise
support a private model, along the line of the U.S.-backed ICANN,
preferring not to see the ITU become involved.

Also, the role of different software models in ensuring access to
information and knowledge has raised heated debate, according to the ITU
spokesman. Many countries, and not just developing ones, feel
that proprietary software, like that developed and marketed by
Microsoft Corp., doesn't meet all users' needs optimally in terms of
cost and usage.

Earlier language in the August draft of the Action Plan, advocating wide
use of open-source software, is toned down in the September draft,
largely because of demands by U.S. and EU delegates that commercial
software interests receive fair representation in the
plan. The language now speaks of "striking a balance" among the
different software models, including proprietary, open source and
free software.

The fact that free software is listed in the latest draft in addition to
open source is the result of intensive lobbying by several groups,
including the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Europe.

"Free software doesn't have to be free of charge; it can be sold
commercially," said FSF Europe President Georg Greve. "What
distinguishes free software from the other software models is basically
the freedom it gives users to modify, distribute and use
the software in an unlimited way. Open source is a term that even
Microsoft is now using when it talks about opening its code for
governments to view. Microsoft software is proprietary software."

Perhaps less contentious, but an issue nonetheless, is the protection of
intellectual property rights (IPR), according to Fowlie. "We have to
look at how IPR, patents and copyrights are affected by a global
communications network," he said. "There's been a lot of debate on
this."

Freedom of expression is another sensitive topic and one that must be
addressed if communication services are to extend to the masses
around the globe, the spokesman said.

With so many issues still on the negotiating table and with so little
time and money to resolve them, some participants in the negotiations
wonder how successful the December summit will be.

"Consensus building is very difficult to begin with," said Karen Banks,
a spokeswoman for the Association for Progressive Communications, one of
the nongovernmental organizations observing
the negotiations as a member of the "Civil Society" group of
participants. "But add to that the fact that this whole effort is
incredibly under-resourced. It's primarily a U.S.-EU affair. They
have resources to send delegates who can argue their cases. Many of
the developing countries don't have these resources."

Other Civil Society members have been even more outspoken in their
criticism. Governments should "listen or leave us alone in the
Information Age," said Ralf Bendrath, a Civil Society representative
associated with Germany's Heinrich Böll Foundation, in a statement
posted on the organization's Web site, www.worldsummit2003.org.

The Civil Society, representing about 500 groups, has begun drafting
a "vision paper," which it plans to submit in December, according to
a statement.

Should heads of state in December sign documents that fall short of the
expectations of the Civil Society and others, they will have an
opportunity to make corrections in two years, Fowlie said. "We are
blessed with the fact that this is a two-phase summit," he said.
"When we meet again in Tunisia in two years, we can measure what
success has been made and, if necessary, re-evaluate the Action Plan
and make adjustments. This is the beginning of a process; it's not
the end."

The follow-up summit is scheduled for Nov. 16-18, 2005, in Tunis,
Tunisia.

--

http://www.mediainfo.com/editorandpublisher/headlines/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=2007079

1. World Web Summit Worries Journalists
With Good Reason, Says 'E&P' Editorial

This unsigned editorial appeared in the Oct. 20 issue of Editor and
Publisher.

When the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) met last week in Chicago,
it wrestled with the many issues that personally concern Latin American
newspaper publishers, such as the death threats that are all-too-frequently
carried out against their reporters. Yet, again and again, the IAPA meeting
returned to an issue that at first blush seems remote from the quotidian
concerns of Latin American publishers and editors: the World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS) that convenes in Geneva Dec. 10 to 12.

IAPA officials peppered speeches with warnings about the event, and the
group unanimously passed a resolution expressing grave doubts about the
intentions of many summit participants.

Why all this fuss about yet another United Nations chat fest? Because Latin
American journalists have learned through long and bitter experience that
the obtuse blather issued at these international jaw-jaws is often used by
their governments back home to justify censoring and closing newspapers and
fining or imprisoning journalists. And that, Latin newspapers fear, is what
may be in store for them in Geneva.

The summit has the noble purpose of eliminating the so-called "digital
divide" between rich and poor nations. But in the preparatory meetings for
the summit, numerous governments have used this goal to slip in restrictions
on the free flow of information on the Web. Cuba, for instance, has tried to
insert language that would encourage government "screening of private media.

The problem is, the WSIS allows 185 UN members a shot at regulating the
Internet, and authoritarian nations such as China -- which keeps its Web
users inside a Great Firewall -- are not shy about trying to impose their
censorious standards on the world at large. It cannot be taken as a good
sign that this whole summit process will wind up in 2005 with a declaration
and "action plan" issued from Tunisia, where Zouhair Yahyaoui languishes in
jail after being arrested and tortured by special Interior Ministry police
last year because his news Web site TUNeZINE made fun of President Zine
el-Abidine Ben Ali.

There is some good news about the WSIS. The United States is taking the
position that the Internet must be allowed to operate under the same free
press and free speech principles as any other media. And in a high-level
preparatory meeting in Paris last week, ministers finally adopted language
that's been missing from previous working papers: a declaration that WSIS
standards must include press freedom and universal access to news and
information.

The enemies of liberty, however, are nothing if not persistent. Like their
Latin American counterparts, U.S. newspapers must remain alert to the
dangers this summit could impose on world press freedom.

Source: Editor & Publisher Online

--

http://ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=20743

2. WSIS: Unions Want Employment Issues on Agenda

Brian Thomson

GENEVA, Oct 22 (IPS) - Global unions are concerned that organisers of the
World Summit on the Information Society due to open in Geneva December have
ignored key employment issues.

The draft declaration and action plan have failed so far to acknowledge the
role the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector plays as
employer, says the Swiss-based Union Network International (UNI).

UNI is a global trade union for the skills and services sectors, with about
15 million members worldwide. Three million of these are in
telecommunications and information technology (IT).

The UNI says governments and the business community taking part in the World
Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) have done little to push issues
such as workers rights, labour standards, health and safety, and equality on
to the agenda.

These issues and more industry-specific issues such as universal access to
communications and public investment in ICT are being pushed to the
sidelines, says UNI general secretary Philip Jennings.

"We are bothered about the need for the summit to address what kinds of
rights and opportunities should be given to working people," Jennings told
IPS. "There seems to be insufficient attention given to a lot of the aspects
of labour relations as well as occupational and employment aspects."

Members of international trade unions working at the WSIS under the Global
Unions platform say they recognise that society is moving to a new stage in
terms of organisation of work, location of work, how work is done and how
businesses function.

They say these issues must be addressed during the course of the summit,
being organised by the International Telecommunications Union with
sponsorship from the United Nations (UN).

Neil Anderson, head of the telecom division of UNI says the declaration
expected at WSIS has some words about the UN human rights declaration but
nothing about labour rights.

"Workers have to produce the things that make the information society work
and they have to be recognised in the declaration and action plan," he
says.. "There are some governments that don't want them in there and
certainly business is opposing to some extent as well."

Despite the tripartite approach of bringing government, business and civil
society together at the summit, it seems that organisers are not facing up
sufficiently to issues on the trade union agenda.

The Global Unions group says their concerns have not been helped by the
seeming determination of government representatives to keep civil society
out of decision-making procedures.

Until recently, UNI has been unhappy with the organisers' stand on access
for participants outside of normal government representation, Jennings says.

"We along with a number of other non-governmental organisations made
representations to the organisers and the president of the Prepcom about how
unhappy we were about how other voices were being excluded," Jennings
says. "And I think they've made a pretty reasonable effort to try and
accommodate this, but it still isn't working as we would like."

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society groups have been
allowed an hour of informal sessions ahead of the formal sessions. But civil
society groups remain frustrated over their lack of input in the overall
process.

"We welcome the opportunity to have the possibility to make our case heard,
but it's also imperfect," Jennings says. "The danger is we could end up just
talking to our own audience."

Despite the moves to open up the summit process, there are still very strong
fears among many within the trade union lobby that the WSIS might be headed
for failure.

Trade unions are worried that the World Bank-International Monetary Fund
(IMF) approach to issues facing the WSIS will be swallowed whole when it
comes to issues such as liberalisation, deregulation and the question
whether or not public service can meet the challenges of the IT revolution.

"Look at Colombia for instance, where we just had a case where the World
Bank told the telecommunications carrier in the country they had to
privatise," says Jennings. "That means that essentially the universal access
provision is questioned."

On the other hand the business community "has forgotten the society part of
the information revolution," Jennings says. "This isn't just about improved
IT infrastructures, this is also about what does this new world mean for
people at large."

The WSIS focus has been aimed clearly at bridging the digital divide, which
it describes as the ever increasing gap between the technological haves and
have nots. The Global Union platform believes this is important, but that
the summit should focus equally on the social divide.

"It's also about what people earn, where people earn it, and the conditions
in which new employment opportunities are made in a new working
 environment," says Jennings. "We are looking for the NGO community to
support us in this argument."

Jennings is confident of moving in that direction. "We've got our act
together, we know what we want, we're already talking to union centres
around the world," says Jennings. "We have networked the network of unions,
so we are pretty well prepared."

Brian Thomson is also correspondent for the Infosud News Agency. (END/2003)

--

Temporary Cyber Bus project

Proposal of the project (debating bus, September 2003)

A COMPUTER BUS TO PROMOTE THE RIGHT OF COMMUNICATION

(For the World Summit of the Information Society)

The idea

The idea for this project was born upon the world summit of the
information society, to be held in Geneva (from 10 to 12 december 2003)
and on a next round in Tunis (november 2005)

It is the intention of the project to promote a collective vision of the
information society and to reduce the digital gap, as the summit deals
with different topics of the changes in the actual society due to the
impact of information and communication technologies

This means that a worldwide mobilisation would be very welcome, enabling
as much people as possible to join the reality of the civil society.

In Italy, a platform of communication has already been created between
the civil society. This platform now wants to attract the attention of
the general public on the multiple legal problems concerning technology
and wants to develop a way to let civil society speak out and express
itself.

The bus will be a very important instrument to get the attention to the
summit, to the topics that will be discussed and the positions that will
taken by the different actors on the field.

In fact, the bus only forms part of a much larger project that is set up
to promote the concerns of all aspects related to information,
communication and the recognition of the communication right as a
fundamental human right that is granted to all citizens.

The proposal

Between September and December 2003 a mobile unit will be present at
several special occasions (see calendar), during the summit, and could
continue its mobile presence until the second round of the summit in
2005.

Special attention will go to education centres in the area of Triveneto
and in the rest of Italy.

The mobile unit will be at the disposal of several actors that prepare
their participation to the discussion on the Wsis and all form part of
the Italian platform of the civil communication society. The mobile unit
will contain 10 PC plug-ins, a HIFI connection and an antenna to
broadcast live images.

What will the « cyber-bus » be used for ?

a.. To inform about the summit of Genève : by illustrating the topics
that the summit is dealing with and the risks these topics contain, by
presenting the different positions, by proposing alternatives to a
society that is dominated and defined by a technology that doesn't
respect the human rights and the human dignity

b.. To organise activities to inform, to train and to organize the civil
society on issues as communication of information and knowledge.

c.. To promote existing projects that enable a direct access of civil
society to the production of information and the use of technologies
that are under no copyright.

d.. To create a convergence of alternative media, including television
and radio, that shows the horizontal information society and the right
of access to information and technologies under no copyright in a
concrete way.

What can you do on the « cyber-bus » ?

a.. Follow workshops about the topics of the Wsis, and take part into
debates and meetings
b.. Follow the presentation of the campaigns of different groups that
record and distribute audio or video, and teach the theory and practice
of the different technologies that are available (Linux, stream radio,
antennas.)
c.. Use the material that is at your disposal to receive/make
alternative information around the Wsis of Geneva and to report upon the
continuation of the summit and its related activities
d.. Work closely together with the different 'static' media laboratories
that will be installed on different events.

Provisional calendar

Trento, October 2003 : public meeting on communication during the summit
around the peace rally
Paris, November 2003 : European social forum
Geneva, December 2003 : world summit on the information society
Padua, May 2004 : CIVITAS

At these events, the functions of the BUS will be :

A) An access point : mobile unite will be used to create a public access
point to the technology of information and communication, assisted by a
technical staff that will be present on the different occasions where
the BUS will stop.

B) A mobile education unit : short workshops on different educational
levels (ranging from one hour to an hour and a half)

C) Mobile production unit : a mobile unit that contains equipment to
distribute information related to the different events on which the BUS
will be present and function as a support to the modalities and
principles of independent information.

--

4. WSIS events and information

WSIS Intergovernmental Conference, Palexpo 10-12 December 2003
United Nations summit hosted by the ITU, 50+ heads of state, observer
status for accredited NGOs, civil society organisation have limited
speaking rights
www.itu.int/wsis

WSIS Civil Society Section, Palexpo, 10-12 December 2003
Civil society section at WSIS, various working groups and caucuses
including human rights, community media, gender, regions, copyright,
cultural diversity
www.geneva2003.org (official civil society secretariat)
www.wsis-cs.org (civil society plenary and caucus lists)

World Electronic Media Forum, Palexpo 9-11 December 2003
Mainstream corporate and public media conference and workshops supported
by EBU, International Association for Broadcasters, World Council for
Radio and Television
www.wemf.org

ICT4D Exhibition, Palexpo, 10-12 December 2003
Exhibition of ICT for development, includes government, private and NGO
stands. African Media Village and Bolivian stands will have operational
community radio and telecentres.
www.ict-4d.org

World Forum on Communication Rights, Palexpo, 11 December 2003
Alternative forum of campaign on Communication Rights in the Information
Society (CRIS) with support of AMARC, APC, WACC, Heinrich Boll Stiftung,
WSIS Human Rights Caucus
www.communicationrights.org

Community Radio Seminar, Palexpo, 12 December 2003
Launch of La Practica Inspira, presentations on community media from
Latin America, Africa, Asia, North America and Europe. Supported by
AMARC, ALER, Pain pour la Prochaine, Cameco
www.comunica-ch.net (details to be posted)

WSIS? We seize! (dates/activities/locations to be confirmed)
Counter summit and alternative events including - MakeWorld Convention,
Polymedia Labs, Indymedia webcast. Organised autonomously from the WSIS
www.geneva03.org, www.geneva03.net

Other important WSIS news and information sites

Council of NGOs news and information site on WSIS
www.prepcom.net/wsis

German news and information site on WSIS
www.worldsummit2003.de

--

5. ** *"Weltgipfel zur Informationsgesellschaft" Genf 20003 - Tunis 2005: *
*-------GEMEINSAME VISION IN WEITER FERNE---------------
*
* Tagung
* der Heinrich Böll Stiftung  in Zusammenarbeit mit
* dem zivilgesellschaftlichen WSIS-Koordinierungskreis
* 1. November, 14.00-21.30 Uhr  auf der Galerie
* der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung,
* Rosenthaler Strasse 40/41,
* Hackesche Höfe I,
* 5. Etage, Berlin-Mitte
*
* Anmeldung:
* medien {AT} boell.de,
* Anmeldeschluss: 25.10.03
* www.worldsummit2003.de
*
* Informationen:
* Olga Drossou
* Fon: +49/ 30 - 285.34-183
*
***************************************************************************
*** Eine gemeinsame Vision von der Informationsgesellschaft zu formulieren
ist der Auftrag der UN-Generalversammlung an den "Weltgipfel zur
Informationsgesellschaft" (WSIS). Der inklusive, optimistische Anspruch
der Generalversammlung wird auch darin deutlich, dass Zivilgesellschaft
und Wirtschaft erstmalig in der Geschichte der UN-Weltgipfel aufgerufen
wurden, sich am Diskussionsprozeß aktiv zu beteiligen.

Doch kurz vor der ersten Gipfelkonferenz in Genf im Dezember diesen
Jahres ist der Prozess ins Stocken geraten. Nach dem Ende der dritten
Vorbereitungskonferenz (PrepCom 3) im vergangenen September erscheint
ein Konsens in weiter Ferne. So mußte sich die Prepcom 3 an ihrem
letzten Tag kurzfristig auf eine erneute Zusammenkunft Mitte November
vertagen, um in einem letzen Versuch ein Scheitern zu verhindern.
Angesichts der starken Interessensgegensätze -  in erster Linie zwischen
den Regierungen der Industrieländer und der Entwicklungsländer -
erscheint ein Durchbruch schwierig. Wird WSIS ein neues Cancún?

In der Veranstaltung werden wir die  Hintergründe, (fehlende) Visionen
und Konflikte beleuchten:
- - Wieso werden die Menschenrechte nicht mehr vorbehaltlos von allen
Staaten (wieder) anerkannt und warum sind "Kommunikationsrechte" so
umstritten?
- - Welche Konflikte verbergen sich hinter der Forderung nach "freiem
Zugang zu Wissen und Information" und warum geben sich die
Entwicklungsländer mit dem "Schutz des indigenen Wissens" zufrieden,
ohne das sie benachteiliegende Copyright- und Patentsystem offensiv zu
hinterfragen?
- - Ist eine gemeinsame Vision der Regierungen dieser Welt überhaupt noch
denkbar?

"Die Visionen haben wir." Das ist die Überzeugung der "dritten Säule"
des Gipfels, der Zivilgesellschaft. Sie tritt selbstbewußt und immer
koheränter und organisierter auf die Bühne des Weltgipfels. Durch
Expertise und visionärer Kraft verschafft sie sich Respekt und manchmal
auch Gehör. Ihr Einfluss bleibt jedoch weit hinter ihren Erwartungen
zurück. Vom "Input" zum "Impact"  bleibt dringende Aufgabe.

In Deutschland haben zivilgesellschaftliche Organisationen dem WSIS
einen hohen Stellenwert beigemessen. Frühzeitig wurde ein
zivilgesellschaftlicher Koordinationskreis gegründet, der den
WSIS-Prozess verfolgt und mit eigenen Konzepten interveniert. Als
Ergebnis eines breit angelegten Diskussionsprozesses wurde z.B. die
"Charta der Bürgerrechte für eine nachhaltige Wissensgesellschaft"
erarbeitet und in die Gipfeldiskussionen hineingetragen. Plattform für
die Vernetzung der deutschen mit der internationalen Zivilgesellschaft
ist die zweisprachige Website www.worldsummit2003.de.

- - Wie verwirklicht sich der Partizipationsanspruch im Gipfelprozeß? Wie
wird er auf nationaler/regionaler Ebene realisiert? Erfahrungen und
Erwartungen von VertreterInnen der Bundesregierung, der
Zivilgesellschaft und der Wirtschaft werden auf einem Podium
gegenübergestellt.


Programm
- ------------------

14.00 Uhr: Eröffnung
Ralf Fücks, Vorstand der Heinrich-Böll Stiftung

14.15 Uhr: Einschätzungen eines unvollendeten Vorbereitungsprozesses
Heike Jensen, Deutscher Zivilgesellschaftlicher
WSIS-Koordinierungskreis, Terre des Femmes
Raoul Weiler, Club of Rome

14. 45 Uhr: Europa auf dem Weg zu einer nachhaltigen
Wissensgesellschaft?
Reinhard Bütikofer,  Vorsitzender von Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (angefr.)

15.00 Uhr: Menschen- und Bürgerrechte: Konfliktlinien im WSIS
Rikke Frank Joergensen , Human Rights Institut, Kopenhagen
Christin Maier, Auswärtiges Amt (angefr.)
Christoph Bruch, Humanistische Union
Moderation: Alvar Freude, WSIS-Zivilgesellschaftlicher
Koordinierungskreis

16.30 Uhr: Pause

17.00 Uhr: Freier Zugang zu Wissen: Grundlagen für eine nachhaltige
Wissenspolitik
Georg Greve, Präsident Free Software Foundation Europe
Werner Kannenberg, Bundesministerium der Justiz (angefr.)
Rainer Kuhlen, Nethics, Universität Konstanz
Moderation: Christine Wenzel, WSIS-Zivilgesellschaftlicher
Koordinierungskreis

18.30 Uhr: Imbiss

19.30 Uhr: Podiumsdiskussion: Kann der WSIS noch ein Erfolg werden?
Jeanette Hofmann, Vertreterin  der Zivilgesellschaft in der deutschen
Regierungsdelegetion zum WSIS
Annette Mühlberg, Verdi Bundesvorstand
Karl-Georg Schon, Auswärtiges Amt, Deutsche Regierungsdelegation
Peter Pöppel, Vizepresedent Alcatel, Initiative  D21
Moderation: Monika Ermert, freie Journalistin

21.30: Ende der Tagung

--

6. ALERT UPDATE - TUNISIA

15 October 2003

More hypocrisy as Tunisia hosts international congress on digital divide

SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris

**Updates IFEX alerts of 30 and 16 September, 25 July, 12 June, 27, 24, 13
and 5 February 2003; for further information on the Yahyaoui case, see
alerts of 20 and 4 June, 13 May, 4 and 3 April, 3 February and 17 January
2003, 1 October, 21, 20 and 6 June 2002**

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has voiced outrage that an international congress on the
digital divide is being held in Tunisia, a country that is assuming an
increasingly important role within international bodies regulating the
Internet despite the fact that it is one of the most repressive towards its
own Internet users.

The congress is being held in Tunis from 14 to 16 October 2003. It was
organised by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) and is
viewed as a preparatory encounter for the next World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS), the second stage of which is scheduled to take
place in Tunis in 2005.

"The WSIS is a major event for the Internet's development. The summit's
member states must take action to prevent the Internet's future from being
dictated by nations that repress freedom of expression," RSF
Secretary-General Robert Ménard said.

The Tunisian authorities continue to detain a cyber-dissident, Zouhair
Yahyaoui. Using the pseudonym "Ettounsi", which means "The Tunisian" in
Arabic, Yahyaoui founded the online magazine "TUNeZINE" in July 2001 to
distribute opposition documents and thereby provide information about the
fight for democracy and freedom in Tunisia. He was one of the first persons
to publish a letter to the president by Judge Mokhtar Yahyaoui criticising
the judicial system.

Yahyaoui was arrested by plainclothes police in an Internet cafe on 4 June
2002. He was subjected to interrogation that included three sessions of
"suspension", a form of torture in which the victim is suspended by the arms
with his feet barely touching the ground. On 10 July 2002, the Tunis Appeals
Court sentenced him to two years in prison for "distributing false news".

Further evidence of the Tunisian government's cynicism towards the WSIS has
been President Ben Ali's decision to appoint Habib Ammar to head the
preparatory committee for the summit's second stage. As a former national
guard commander and interior minister, Ammar actively participated in
repression for many years. "During the period when he was interior minister,
the ministry's facilities were transformed into a detention and torture
centre," according to the organisations TRIAL and the World Organisation
Against Torture (OMCT).

These two organisations recently lodged a criminal complaint against Ammar
with the Canton of Geneva's general prosecutor, but the Prosecutor's Office
shelved the complaint on the grounds that the Swiss Confederation gives
immunity from arrest and detention to representatives of member states of
the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which is organising the
WSIS.

The goal of the summit is to narrow the digital divide between rich and poor
countries, but it is also supposed to adopt a declaration of principle on
nations' policies towards the Internet. Many non-governmental organisations
specialising in human rights issues are concerned about the current draft of
the declaration, which has been heavily influenced by those countries that
are the most repressive with regard to the Internet.

For further information, contact the RSF Internet Desk, rue Geoffroy Marie,
Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 62, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail:
internet {AT} rsf.org, Internet: http://www.rsf.org

--

7. http://www.helloworldproject.com/#hello

--

8.

Dear All,

This meeting was organised by the Panos Institute, London, in association
with the Communication for Social Change Consortium and the Rockefeller
Foundation. Financial support was kindly provided by the Rockefeller
Foundation. The meeting was one of series of "Frati Dialogues on Media and
Social Change" organised at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Conference
Centre in Italy. The meeting built on work carried out at the Global
Knowledge Media Forum, a joint activity between Panos and the Global
Knowledge Partnership.

Murali

---------------------------------------------
Murali Shanmugavelan
Communication for Development Programme
Email: muralis {AT} panoslondon.org.uk <mailto:muralis {AT} panoslondon.org.uk>
----------------------------------------------
Panos Institute
9, White Lion Institute
London, N1 9PD
Phone: +44 (0)20 7239 7608 (direct)
Phone: +44 (0)20 7239 7608 (board)
Fax: +44 (0)20 7278 0345
----------------------------------------------
Panos-London's mission is to work with the media to enable developing
countries to shape and communicate their own development agendas by
catalysing and promoting informed public debate. We particularly focus on
amplifying the voices of the poor and marginalised.

Bellagio Symposium on Media, Freedom and Poverty

Statement

The Bellagio Symposium on Media, Freedom and Poverty came together to
explore the links between and develop a better understanding of current
media trends and poverty. This meeting was in part an attempt to bridge
differences in approach among organisations involved in media freedom, media
pluralism and social advocacy. While we have differences in perspective, we
agreed on the following points.

We are particularly concerned that in the World Summit on the Information
Society some of the measures being considered run counter to freedom of
expression; that insufficient attention is being paid to the crucial role of
the media, and to the importance of poverty reduction; and that there is
inadequate mapping of development objectives against the proposed actions.

We believe that urgent attention needs to be brought to bear on issues of
media and poverty in ways that are rooted in the principle of freedom of
expression.

Freedom of expression, as expressed in Article XIX of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, is a fundamental right which underpins all
other human rights, and enables them to be expressed and realised. The
eradication of poverty is essential to the realisation for all peoples of
the aspirations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

People living in poverty face particular obstacles to achieving freedom of
expression and access to the media which are associated with the conditions
of poverty. These obstacles include economic, social, educational,
logistical, and political factors. Economic obstacles include the cost of
equipment for production, distribution and reception, and the costs of
licences and operation; social obstacles include gender and language;
educational obstacles include literacy and  language; logistical obstacles
include transport, physical access and electricity; political obstacles
include repression and lack of will of many states to allow democratic
expression and to give voice to the most marginalised groups, as well as
censorship by government, commercial and social interests.

The interests and concerns of people living in poverty are not sufficiently
exposed in the media. Economic and market pressures on the media are tending
to deprioritise journalistic investigation and reporting on issues of social
and public concern. Because the poor often do not constitute a viable
market, issues of concern to them are increasingly and particularly
marginalised. New strategies, which address these issues and reinforce
freedom of expression, need to be devised. Threats to media freedom and
freedom of expression continue to come from undue political influence but we
are also concerned about issues of economic control and pressure.

We recognise that these obstacles need to be overcome in the interests of
society as a whole, and not only because in many societies poor people are
the majority. When people do not have a voice in the public arena, or access
to information on issues that affect their lives, and where their concerns
are not reasonably reflected in the media, development tends to be
undermined and catastrophes such as famines are less likely to be averted.
Lack of access to communication undermines the capacity of the poor to
participate in democratic processes. Frustration and alienation over lack of
means of expression lead to disaffection with the political process
resulting in apathy or violence.

Realisation of freedom of expression for people living in poverty requires:
media pluralism and diversity, including diversity of forms of ownership;
more equitable access to communication; support for cultural and linguistic
diversity; and promotion of participation in democratic decision-making
processes.

6.    Action points

* There is a growing number of initiatives taken by the media, by
people living in poverty and by other actors to address poverty reduction,
including issues of voice, content and access to information and
communication. These should be encouraged and actively supported. Best
practices should be publicised and exchanged.
* Access for the disadvantaged to information and communication should
be an integral part of any strategy to reduce poverty. Such a strategy
should include participatory media.
* Community media should be specifically encouraged, including through
access to licences and spectrum allocation. Frequencies should be allocated
in a balanced way amongst community, commercial and public service media.
Broadcast licensing should be administered by independent and transparent
regulatory bodies.
* There is a need for increased resources, better coordination and
targeting of training programmes; including training journalists in poverty
related issues.
* Involvement of media in education, and the development of media
literacy, should be promoted.
* Public service broadcasting mandates should include obligations to
provide information and education to address issues of poverty; and to
ensure that public service broadcasters provide universal service.
* National communication policies should be developed that address
access to communication for people living in poverty. Such policies should
be developed and implemented in a transparent and participatory manner.
* Professional standards and ethics of journalism, as defined by
journalists themselves, should be supported and encouraged. The journalistic
ethic should include sensitivity to issues of poverty.
* Journalists should be provided with living standards and working
conditions which enable them to realise these professional standards.
* South-South and South-North exchanges between media and journalists
should be encouraged, including personnel, training, equipment and content.
* Support should be provided for civil society organisations in
working with the media.
* Mechanisms should be encouraged for making newspapers more
affordable and more available to the disadvantaged, including measures to
cut the price of newsprint and equipment.
* The use of ICTs to provide the media with more diversity of
information sources should be promoted; together with combinations of
traditional and new information technologies to facilitate better access to
communication for people living in poverty.
* Resources should be provided, including by public authorities, to
address shortcomings in communication access for those living in poverty and
to remove cost and other barriers, in ways that do not compromise freedom of
expression.
* More research needs to be undertaken on the implications of current
media trends for poverty reduction.

5th October, 2003


This statement was agreed by:
Steve Buckley, President
AMARC - The World Association of Community Broadcasters

John Barker, Director of Africa Programme
Article XIX

Professor Cees Hamelink
Centre for Communication and Human Rights

Lindsay Ross, Executive Director
Commonwealth Press Union

Alfonso Gumucio, Managing Director
Communication for Social Change Consortium

Sean O'Siochru, Coordinator
Communication Rights in the Information Society

Mahfuz Anam, Editor in chief,
Daily Star, Bangladesh

Jean Paul Marthoz, International Media Director
Human Rights Watch

Mario Lubetkin, Secretary General
Inter Press Service

Luckson Chipare, Executive Director
Media Institute of Southern Africa

Wafula Oguttu, Editor in Chief
The Monitor Group, Uganda

James Deane, Executive Director and Conference convenor
Panos Institute, London

Diana Senghor, Executive Director
Panos Institute, West Africa

Damian Tambini, Executive Director,
Programme on Comparative Media Law and Public Policy, Oxford University

Denise Gray-Felder, Vice President
The Rockefeller Foundation and CEO, the Communication for Social Change
Consortium

Mr Gerolf Weigel, Head, ICT for Development Division
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Mogens Schmidt, Director, Division of Freedom of Expression, Democracy and
Peace
UNESCO

Ronald Koven, European Representative
World Press Freedom Committee

Guillaume Chenevière, Chairman
World Radio and Television Council

--

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

hiermit möchte ich Sie auf das Seminar "Vision Informationsgesellschaft" in
der Evangelischen Akademie Tutzing vom 31.10. - 2.11.2003 aufmerksam machen.

Der UN-Gipfel in Genf stellt im Dezember 2003 die Weichen für die vernetzte
Gesellschaft. Wird in der digitalen Zukunft der alte Traum einer gerechten
Welt endlich wahr oder reißt die Kluft zwischen Arm und Reich weiter auf?
Das Seminar greift aktuelle Fragen auf und ist wahrscheinlich d a s Seminar
in Deutschland zum Welt-Gipfel Informationsgesellschaft (WSIS), der vom
10.-12. Dezember in Genf stattfindet.

Online erhalten Sie alle weitere Informationen unter
www.ev-akademie-tutzing.de

Dort "Programm", dann "chronologisch", dann "Vision
Informationsgesellschaft" klicken. Hier kann man sich auch online anmelden!

Bisher haben sich über 50 Personen angemeldet, darunter auch bekanntere
Personen (z. B. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker), 100 können es werden.

Ich bitte Sie zudem, die Einladung an alle Ihre Freunde und Bekannte
weiterzuleiten.

Vielen Dank und herzliche Grüße,
Eike Messow, Stiftung Weltvertrag

--

10. FSF/RMS  {AT}  WSIS

Richard Stallman is speaking at the Scuola Superiore di Informatica e
Gestione in Bellinzona on Dec. 9 afternoon, arriving there on the 7th or 8th
and leaving for Geneva (and WSIS) after the conference. There RMS will be
presenting his conference within the Swiss Platform of NGO for WSIS, in a
conference room hall 4 (ict4d). It's organized by Ynternet.org network.

See also: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=81082&cid=7134275

"Two groups, in their own ways, are working to ensure that WSIS
encourages the promotion of open source amongst its participating
countries. The Linux Professional Institute [lpi.org] and the Free
Software Foundation [fsf.org] are two of the many hundreds of
non-governmental organizations which have received official status at
the Summit. (Here is Part 1 [geneva2003.org] and  Part 2
[geneva2003.org] of the complete list.)

LPI will tentatively be holding a number of events at the WSIS
conference in December, including an open source workshop and a
certification exam lab; it is also our intention to put a Linux "live"
CD in the hands of every WSIS delegate. We will have at least six people
at the conference, working to ensure that the delegations are capable of
overcoming the anti-open-source FUD which is no doubt going on.

To that end, LPI has submitted a commentary on the WSIS activities
[itu.int], now part of the official WSIS documentation, that is stirring
some interest. Anyone who is interested in helping LPI's efforts at WSIS
is invited to subscribe to the LPI {AT} WSIS mailing list [lpi.org].

The FSF is participating through the WSIS Working Group on Patents,
Copyrights and Trademarks [wsis-pct.org]; RMS is on the group's steering
committee and Georg Greve of FSF Europe is one of the co-ordinators. "

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