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  Summaries & Documents
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 Thursday, 18 July 2002
Time Title
09:30-11:00 Plenaries: On-going Forum: open discussion (2)
11:30-13:00 CS & International Orgs: Role of Parliamentarians and the IPU sys...
11:30-13:00 Info Society: A new role for electronic media in the I...
11:30-13:00 Enviro, Trade & Sustainable Dev: Climatic changes
11:30-13:00 Human Development: Cooperation for development: empowering ...
11:30-13:00 Enviro, Trade & Sustainable Dev: WTO and civil society
11:30-13:00 CS-Private Sector: Private sector, food, health and develop...
14:00-15:30 CS & International Orgs: How can civil society strengthen multila...
14:00-15:30 Indigenous, Women & Dev: Improving international cooperation with...
14:00-15:30 Info Society: Civil society organizations in promoting...
14:00-15:30 Indigenous, Women & Dev: The role of indigenous peoples and civil...
14:00-15:30 Health: Role of civil society's organizations in...
14:00-15:30 Human Rights & Law: The role of civil society in the impleme...
14:00-15:30 Peace & Disarmament: Education for peace
14:00-15:30 CS-Private Sector: Private sector - civil society: where is...
14:00-15:30 Self-determination & Conflicts: How civil society can promote the right ...
16:00-17:30 CS & International Orgs: Wrap-up Session
16:00-17:30 Indigenous, Women & Dev: Wrap-up Session
16:00-17:30 Info Society: Wrap-up Session
16:00-17:30 Enviro, Trade & Sustainable Dev: Wrap-up Session
16:00-17:30 Health: Wrap-up Session
16:00-17:30 Human Rights & Law: Wrap-up Session
16:00-17:30 CS-Private Sector: Wrap-up Session
16:00-17:30 Self-determination & Conflicts: Wrap-up Session
18:00-19:30 Human Development: The role of migrants and refugees in int...
18:00-19:30 Human Development: International co-operation and developme...
18:00-19:30 Peace & Disarmament: International Criminal Court
19:30-20:30 Cultural: Los alpaqueros de Puno (The Alpaca Breed...
20:00-21:00 Other sessions: Celto Fools
20:00-21:30 Cultural: Migrants and refugees - A spectre of hop...
19:30-21:00 Info Society: What is Information Society?

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Summary: Working Group on the Information Society

Civil society organizations in promoting an open and inclusive information society

Time: 18 July 2002, 14:00-15:30
Location: ITU H
Moderator(s): • Ms. Rosa Delgado, Internet Society - Devig (ISOC)
Presenters/ Participants: • Mr. Pape Diouf, Chargé d'enseignement, Graduate Institute for Development Studies (IUED)
• Ms. Bianca Miglioretto, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)
• Mr. Thomas Ruddy, Internet Society (ISOC)
• Mr. David Wortley, Mass Mitec
Reporter: Jeroen Van Hove (MI)
Resource Person: Jeroen Van Hove (MI)
Language: English
Key words: Ipv6, AMARC, Kerela, community radio, local content

Four different voices identified key problems to the creation of an open and inclusive Information Society and presented solutions by providing examples from their own projects. The main issue is access to Internet and Communication Technologies (ICT), physically and in your own language and the awareness of new developments like IPv6. 

Ms. Bianca Miglioretto of AMARC (World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters) opened the session by stressing the importance of community radios. This medium is important in order to democratize the airwaves. Radio and television are still more widely spread then the Internet. An open information society does not exist as such, due to lack of infrastructure, education and economical power. As an example, she outlined the gender program, put forth by AMARC's Women's International Network (WIN). It set an objective to cut across all AMARC programs, projects and activities, in all regions. Its goal is to create gender equality and equal opportunity access to the media. The WIN's specific projects focus on: technical training; educating AMARC members about gender issues; formulating a fairness policy. According to Ms. Miglioretto, Community radio can play a very important role in bridging the digital divide by transferring Internet content to the airwaves. However, it is not a final solution. AMARC also uses it to exchange information with grassroots organisations. The strength of this local medium is that it allows own production of information. AMARC has 2000 radio stations from around the world working on regional and international level (e.g. with the ITU). The 8th AMARC World Conference will be taking place from the 24 to 30 November 2002 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Mr. David Wortley, social entrepreneur from the UK, owns a small media company and focuses on interactive broadcasting. He stressed that ICTs entailed the most profound societal changes ever. Different from roads, bridges, canals and railways, the World Wide Web is accessible to everyone with an Internet connection, thus does not lay the power in the hands of a certain people. Of course, the access to communication tools is crucial and civil society must insist on having access to legitimate use of the latest information technologies and not second hand. Mr. Wortley demonstrated online The Harborough Community Learning Network (www.hcln.net). This is an innovative UK Government funded scheme to establish a community learning and media centre as hub to a network of rural Information and Communications Technologies. The WCSF could use those tools to share knowledge, since there is always a limited lasting value after events like the Forum. Web-conferencing is a tool where one can easily archive information, providing large access to it and thus have a much greater influence.

Mr. Ajay Kumar from Kerala (India) presented the Bureau of Industrial Promotion, that develops non-profit, free software. Kerela state has 30 million native speakers of the Malayalam language. Women have no access to ICTs, since there is no content available in the only language they speak. Actually the whole of Asia looses much of the content due to language barriers. 68% of the Internet is in English and a country like India has 450 languages, from which 14 are officially recognised. The development of free software is very expensive, however it allows access to education and thus pays back. An example can be found on www.keralaindustry.org/malayalam

The fourth speaker, Mr. Jonathan Robin of ISOC France drew the attention to a technical yet very important issue: IPv6. This new Internet standard will replace IP4 in 2005 and will have an enormous societal impact, allowing everyone to have one's own Internet Protocol address. The European Union decided that awareness around this issue is of top priority. Mr. Robin stressed that civil society should be aware of both the threat and the opportunity entailed by Ipv6 (For more details, see original presentation).

Conclusions
Civil society should use both traditional and new media for their activities. On one hand, the traditional media can bridge the digital divide, on the other hand, the development of the Internet (e.g. Ipv6) can be very beneficial to civil society, but only if civil society is aware of its meaning. ICTs should be available not only second hand, but also in local languages for civil society organisations.

Presenters' Documents Available

Word18.11_wortley_david.doc (24 K)
PowerPoint18.11_wortley_david.ppt (361 K)

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