December 10, 2003Giant SMS. The Hello World project (which we told you about four weeks ago), is gathering a lot of momentum - and has even made it into Wired. We were in a taxi driving through Geneva Tuesday evening, and saw the sight for ourselves - it's pretty impressive. The giant neon green text messages scroll down the length of the water stream, hundreds of feet up in the air, and can be seen right across the city centre.
Aaron Scullion @ 07:12 AM | Comments (0)
November 28, 2003In the news, Marc Furrer, who leads the Swiss delegation, has been talking to the Swiss press about Switzerland's role as an "informal mediator during last-ditch talks with individual countries, aimed at ironing out lingering differences over the draft declaration and plan of action" (more here).
He's playing his cards close to his chest, "optimistic that we will find a way with China," but not wanting to say anything that could jeapordise agreement with Russia.
David Steven @ 12:25 AM | TrackBack
November 27, 2003Up-coming events The programme for the Civil Society Side Events, produced by the Swiss Platform of Civil Society in cooperation with various groups in Civil society is available online at www.communicationrights.org . It has been billed as the ultimate guide to the three days of the summit for those who want to grapple with the real issues of the "Information Society", with preview of the events on all the relevant websites. It provides info for those interested in the alternative events of the summit, inclusive of the WE Seize! events outside the official walls of the summit.
Claire Regan @ 10:09 AM | TrackBack
November 26, 2003Last minute bid for pre-WSIS solutions. Marc Furrer, the Swiss Government's Information Minister, plans last minute talks, on Dec 5 and 6 - the very eve of WSIS - to find agreement on key contentious issues. The No. 1 issue, for Furrer, is defining "the role of the press in the digital age... it's big.. for countries like Iran, China, Syria and Tunisia".
Believe it or not, Switzerland, home to perhaps the UN's biggest European operations, only joined the U.N. in March 2002: not because anyone had excluded the Swiss but because it took that long before the people in a tightly fought referendum overcame their inborn resistance to international entanglements and the fear that membership would affect their long-prized neutrality.
Hosting WSIS is Switzerland's first task as a member of the U.N. family - which may explain the investment in the so-called parallel events like the World Electronic Media Forum - and Minister Furrer's initiative in setting up those last ditch meetings. "It doesn't have to be high-level people - not ministers", says Furrer, "but I want people who can negotiate because they won't be able to consult with their capitals any more".
WSIS-watchers who have waded through three and a half PREPCOMS may be wondering whether to hold their breath on December 5 and 6.
Andrew Taussig @ 04:49 PM | TrackBackStriking images of the impact of the information society are on display at a Geneva exhibition commissioned to coincide with WSIS. Tales From A Globalizing World is a series of moments highlighting the variety of globalization's effects on society.
Aaron Scullion @ 01:15 AM | TrackBack
November 25, 2003Hello World Summit! This project is a rather artistic way for people to get involved with WSIS - text messages submitted will be projected almost instantly onto locations in Bombay, Geneva - where the pictures will be presented on the famous Jet d'eau - Rio and New York - while video of the projections will be broadcast to summit delegates. The artists say it's "an invitation to take control of public space".
Of course, not everybody is waiting for an invitation.
Aaron Scullion @ 01:56 AM | TrackBack
November 15, 2003Protests in Geneva At the Metallos Media Lab in Paris last night, actvists were discussing in more detail the protest actions that would be taking place in Geneva, as part of the continuing European Social Forum.
Unlike Thursday's meeting in Bobigny, which focused on the issues which would be discussed in the official summit and the parallel events, this meeting concerned itself with counter-actions.
These events will be happening in the centre of Geneva itself, far away from the Palexpo where WSIS is being held. However the organisers hope to attract NGOs and civil society organisations who are disillusioned with the official WSIS proceedings.
The organisers are angry that the summit does not have any real binding legislative power - they believe that the corporate sector does not care about the summit, and that NGOs have only been given a token presence to give the proceedings some air of legitimacy.
There are three main initiatives taking place during the week:
Dan Walters @ 11:17 AM