Summary: Working Group on the Information Society
Civil society organizations in promoting an open and inclusive information society
||18 July 2002, 14:00-15:30
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
||Jeroen Van Hove (MI)
||Jeroen Van Hove (MI)
||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,
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.
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
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
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).
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
Presenters' Documents Available
18.11_wortley_david.doc (24 K)
18.11_wortley_david.ppt (361 K)
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