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The Daily Summit. News, views and links live from the World Summit on the Information Society
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World Summit on the Information Society
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The content of this site was created as part of a British Council project for the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003 and is kept online as an archive


Live coverage from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva - with a bonus briefing on last week's Commonwealth summit (CHOGM) in Abuja.

March 01, 2004

Daily Summit reported live from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the World Summit on the Information Society, bringing up to the minute news and opinion from the summits.

All entries from Daily Summit at WSIS and CHOGM will remain on the site for the foreseeable future. Here you can browse through nearly 500 entries by category or chronologically - highlights include posts on Iranian censorship, Nigerian scammers, progress at the summit, our questions to the Iranian President, and what life at the summit was like.

We also covered Civil Society, the Digital Divide and the Media as well as many other topics. A round up of the events at CHOGM can be found here

You can also still access Daily Summit at WSSD by clicking here.
Jane Frewer @ 03:48 PM | About | Comments (0) | t

December 23, 2003

Goodbye Part I, Hello Part II. An interview in Terra Viva with the Tunisian Foreign Minister Habib Ben Yahia gives a flavour of the sparring we can expect between the WSIS 2005 hosts and critics of that government's record on press freedom. Ben Yahia's boss, State President Ben Ali, indicated one Tunisian tactic for deflecting criticism when in a keynote speech at Geneva he emphasized the need for a bigger role for both civil society and the private sector.

Meanwhile, to recapture WSIS Part I in pictures and to get a feel for the 'alternative space' occupied by non-official civil society, check out OneWorld TV's homepage
Andrew Taussig @ 04:25 PM | United Nations | Comments (1) | t

December 21, 2003

"Ideas and energy". OpenDemocracy has an intelligent reading of WSIS from Jamie Cowling (of the UK delegation and IPPR) - who says the summit "served to air crucial concerns", and points out that the challenge is to ensure Tunis does better.
Aaron Scullion @ 10:48 AM | On the web | Comments (0) | t

December 19, 2003

Dutch courage. Hurrah for KaZaA, the file-swapping program that has enabled millions of people worldwide to exchange music files illegally (and, on occasion, legally) over the internet.

In the first case of its kind in Europe, the Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that KaZaA is not an illegal program despite appeals from the music industry, which wants it banned. [more]
Jack Malvern @ 07:49 PM | Intellectual property | Comments (1) | t

December 18, 2003

Our final thanks for the links for now goes to Internet Magazine, BBC Online, NTK Now, Louise Ferguson, Steve Hooker, Eamonn Fitzgerald, Grant Henninger, Office Jotter, Hub Project,, Davos Newbies, Terra Viva, Internet for Diplomats and Doug Kenline
Jane Frewer @ 05:12 PM | Links | Comments (0) | t
In the news, ZDnet discusses the outcome of the open source debate at WSIS, the Declaration of Principles are available on the official WSIS site along with the arrangements for Tunisia and some interesting facts on number of attendees at WSIS. The Cato Institute discusses Who Rules the Web?, whilst allAfrica joins in on the reviews of the summit.
Jane Frewer @ 01:57 PM | In the news | Comments (0) | t

December 16, 2003

Back to blogging. Accounts suggest Sina Motallebi, the jailed Iranian journalist whose case we put to Iran's government, is blogging again. (Thanks Hoder.)
Aaron Scullion @ 09:09 AM | Freedom of expression | Comments (2) | t
In WSIS news, summit organisers are attacked for sloppy security, and for too much security, but still Switzerland pats itself on the back. Our Iran investigation is followed up here and here, but strangely, ignored here. Finally, the BBC sums it all up, and has a bit of a think, Infoworld looks to Tunis, and the International Herald Tribune declares that the 'World' part of WWW is a misnomer.
Aaron Scullion @ 07:36 AM | In the news | Comments (0) | t

December 14, 2003

Saddam Hussein. Information Technology has played a vital role in spreading the news across the globe of the arrest of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The press conference held in Baghdad was beamed across the world live, showing pictures of the captured leader. The news has spread like wildfire - and so has reaction to the news. Less than 2 hours since the confirmation from Paul Bremer, the BBC World Service Talking Point programme was broadcasting live emails and phone calls from people all over the world - ranging from Malaysia, Iran, the UK, Uganda and Iraq.
Cara Swift @ 03:59 PM | | Comments (28) | t

December 12, 2003

"Citizens media meets bulldog journalism; finds the future of news," writes Jeff Jarvis

"I'm witnessing the future of journalism unfold over at

"There, a bunch of webloggers sent there by the British Council (can someone explain them to me?) are covering the U.N. World Summit on Information Society with a vibrancy, immediacy, passion, imagination, doggedness, and openness you simply won't find in big media... [more]
David Steven @ 09:33 PM | About | Comments (1) | t
Last word. It's a success, Jim, but not as we know it. Despite failing to discuss the most important issue (who governs the internet) and making limited progress on how change should be funded in the developing world (contributions are voluntary) the Summit's heads were cheerier than a lioness in heat.

Pascal Couchepin, the Swiss President, said that he was pleased that there was any agreement at all. [more]
Jack Malvern @ 09:17 PM | United Nations | Comments (0) | t
Business as usual. Business knows to behave itself at UN conferences. Don't come in strength. Smile a lot. And use the word 'partnership' whenever things get dicey.

Its final statement came in the form of a speech from Richard McCormick, honorary chair of the ICC. In most part, it was another a plea for the status quo and also for patience. [more]
David Steven @ 08:57 PM | Private Sector | Comments (0) | t
A quiet summit. Civil society has had a quiet summit. It has delivered few of the press conferences, eye-catching stunts and noisy demonstrations that normally keep the media entertained.

Its representatives adopted a counter-declaration, condemned the Swiss authories and summit organisers, but failed to provide a definitive assessment of the summit's outcome. [more]
David Steven @ 08:41 PM | Civil society | Comments (0) | t
A parting shot. Civil Society wound up summit proceedings with a strongly worded statement condemning both the Swiss authorities and the summit organisers - a statement that caused Kofi Annan's special advisor, Nitin Desai, to erupt in fury when it was put to him by Daily Summit at WSIS's closing press conference.

Civil society activists, however, ducked questions over whether they would boycott the second part of the summit in Tunis, if Tunisia did not improve its human rights record. An indication, we suspect, of deep divisions within the lobby. [more]
Claire Regan @ 07:27 PM | Civil society | Comments (7) | t
Good news travels fast. Digital Solidarity Day, invented by the President of Senegal little more than an hour ago, has already made it into a leading online encyclopedia...
David Steven @ 06:15 PM | Digital divide | Comments (1) | t
Mugabe tightens net. New Zimbawe has more on rumours that President Mugabe is planning to exert a stranglehold over the internet.

Daily Summit has just heard direct from an ISP in Zimbabwe. We are told that the government doesn't yet have the capacity to censor internet traffic, but that may change soon. [more]
David Steven @ 05:55 PM | Africa , Freedom of expression | Comments (5) | t
Club sandwich. Rumour has it that when the Earl of Sandwich first ordered that his lunch be placed between two pieces of bread so his cards wouldn't get greasy, he added: "I'll wager that these 'sandwiches' will be so popular that, at UN conferences, they'll be eating 22,000 of them."

How could he have known? Read on for more astonishing facts to amaze your friends... [more]
Jack Malvern @ 05:34 PM | Summit Life | Comments (1) | t
Get set for 12/12/2004. The President of Senegal has just declared that, from now on, December 12 every year will be celebrated as 'Digital Solidarity Day'.

We're not sure what that means, in practice, and he's not taking questions. A source tells us that, essentially, it's a fundraising exercise.

Update 1923 CET - In the closing press conferenece, ITU Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi has confirmed that this is a "voluntary" celebration... phew. [more]
Aaron Scullion @ 05:29 PM | Digital divide | Comments (2) | t
Reporters excluded. Eight reporters were barred from the summit on Friday following a peaceful protest against Israel.

The correspondants from I'Lam - the media centre for Arabs48 (the Palestinians who stayed in their homes when Israel was created) - arranged their demonstration in advance with WSIS security.

They were granted permission to silently hold placards for 10 minutes saying "Free Israel", "Free Iraq" and "Stop the Wall" - the giant barrier currently being built by the Israeli government.

But when they passed through security barriers following the event they were refused re-entry. "The chief of security said that we were told there would be consequences to what we did and that it was illegal," Salma Khashiboum said. [more]
Erin Dean @ 04:49 PM | Freedom of expression | Comments (1) | t
We'll tell you why. Ahmad Motamedi, Iran's Minister of ICT, has been in the summit media centre, talking informally to Iranian journalists and bloggers.

Farshad, editor of Gooya and Gooya news, challenged the Minister directly to explain why one of his websites is blocked (and is only available to Iranians via a proxy server sponsored by the US government).

"We want to know what the limits are," he told the Minister. "You should tell us what causes a website to be blocked and how you make that decision." [more]
David Steven @ 04:47 PM | Freedom of expression , Middle East | Comments (9) | t
UN believable (2) - JM (Jack Malvern) has been updating his list of UN acronyms..
Aaron Scullion @ 04:42 PM | United Nations | Comments (0) | t
The Academy Award goes to... anyone but the US media. Coverage of the Iraq war, and embedded reporters in particular, came under the spotlight at a workshop hosted by the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. [more]
Claire Regan @ 04:03 PM | Media , US | Comments (1) | t
On the web, WSIS pictures from Caravita, more moonlighting at BBC online, and loads of detailed reports from Andy Carvin.

Also: Wizzy Digital Courier (and Community Networking's take), powerful forces ranged against free software, and Paul Boutin and Nico MacDonald weigh in...
David Steven @ 03:50 PM | On the web | Comments (0) | t
Geneva v. Jo'burg. Daily Summit asked Mark Malloch Brown of the UNDP, on the third and closing day of WSIS, to compare it with last year's Earth Summit in Johannesburg - which his organisation was instrumental in running. [more]
Andrew Taussig @ 03:19 PM | United Nations | Comments (0) | t
Just say no. In April 1986 a very fat Briton and his fellow actors from the BBC children's programme Grange Hill shot to the top of the pop music charts with the song Just Say No.

This afternoon Nick Thorne, the plump British Ambassador to the United Nations, sang a similar tune when he took to the podium at the World Summit, giving the British verdict on whether his government would be contributing to a Global Solidarity Fund (a UN body designed to build digital infrastructure in poorer countries).
Jack Malvern @ 02:43 PM | UK | Comments (0) | t

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