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December 12, 2003

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 | Comment (1) | TrackBack (0)
A vision of a future. Daily Summit has been hearing from a blind Ethiopian man who plans to help others overcome their loss of sight by helping them get access to screen readers and text-to-speech software. More
Erin Dean @ 02:33 PM | Comment (0) | TrackBack (0)
Don't need the sunshine. Apparently, the deaths of 150,000 people in 2000 was indirectly caused by global warming - which is also responsible for 2.4% of all cases of diarrhoea and 2% of cases of malaria. So says a major WHO report... More
Erin Dean @ 01:36 PM | Comment (4) | TrackBack (0)
Couch potatos rejoice - for sitting around watching TV is good for your health! So say the World Health Organisation, who told us "Soap operas, community radio programmes and entertainment TV have the power to mobilize people to take control of their health, both in terms of prevention and treatment." More
Erin Dean @ 12:17 PM | Comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

December 11, 2003

Spam ain't cheap. The infuriating adverts that clog e-mail inboxes have cost the US economy $10 billion this year, apparently. "It is no longer just a nuisance but we have reached a tipping point when it could undermine the application of e-mail," US spam expert Scott Dalliard has said in a session. More
Erin Dean @ 05:46 PM | Comment (1) | TrackBack (0)
Sing-along-summit. How do you make your press conference stand out from all the others?

Head of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Ole-Henrik Magga decided to round his off with a song.

Without any backing, brave Mr Magga from the Sami reindeer hunting tribes of Northern Europe, trilled a song about a young reindeer meeting an early end in life.
Erin Dean @ 03:45 PM | Comment (1) | TrackBack (0)
Indigenous ICT. The paradox of discussing computer access for people locked in a daily struggle to survive was pointed out by indigenous peoples today.

"People are sick, starving they are fighting day to day to survive. That is the situation in many indigenous communities," said Mr Ole-Henrik Magga,
chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. "It's not a question of whether we use a computer or not, because there are
no computers. It is not a question of seeing a television, because there isn't one." More
Erin Dean @ 03:36 PM | Comment (0) | TrackBack (0)
Education on wheels. The rugged and beautiful mountains and of Cambodia are virtually inaccessible to the outside world - Education struggles to travel along the muddy potholed paths that only ox-cart and motorbikes can use.

But an organisation at one of the stalls buried among the hundreds of others at Geneva has penetrated the dense green heart of the Ratanakiri region. More
Erin Dean @ 01:05 PM | Comment (0) | TrackBack (0)
Be afraid. Be very afraid. The world currently has little defence against cyberterrorists, an expert has warned at WSIS.

"Anybody can be a cyberterrorist and hack into your system to find out how good the defences are. It is pretty scary," said Dr Eduardo Gelbstein. More
Erin Dean @ 12:37 PM | Comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

December 10, 2003

Where's the alcohol? After dutifully attending the signing of the African, Caribbean and Pacific - European Union Joint Position on Information Society for Development as promised, I felt somewhat mislead when not a single cocktail, olive or tiny paper umbrella was to be seen.

The signing was unusual at the summit as the room was full with more people queuing outside. And the outcome of its five pages and the historic moment? A call for more talks...
Erin Dean @ 06:09 PM | Comment (1) | TrackBack (0)
Al-Jazeeran persecution? The treatment of Al-Jazeera correspondents came under the spotlight today, with Al-Jazeera journalist, Abdul Kaddah, talking live to a side meeting from Baghdad, claiming that he and his colleagues were under constant pressure from coalition forces.

Reporters are arrested, and some are still detained, on a regular basis, he said. More
Erin Dean @ 04:10 PM | Comment (1)
And the winner for the most confusing piece of jargon so far goes to:

"Following the adoption by the ACP-EC Council of Ministers of a Joint paper on the World Summit on Information Society (doc ACP-CE 2130/03) on 16 May 2003, which invited the ACP Secretariat and the European Commission to reflect on a possible joint ACP-EU Summit Initiative to be submitted to the Joint institutions for consideration, the Commission presented a draft ACP-EU Declaration on Information Society and Development to the ACP Working Party."

This is the appetising decription of a WSIS meeting today at 5pm. The only understandable bit is that there is a cocktail party at the end. I'll let you know what happens...
Erin Dean @ 03:54 PM | Comment (4) | TrackBack (0)
In philosophical mood, Nitin Desai, Kofi Annan's special adviser to WSIS, commented in a press conference:

"It's all relative. When I was young nobody in my village had used a telephone."
Erin Dean @ 03:24 PM | Comment (0) | TrackBack (0)
Tunisian PR. Further to our earlier post, the defiant Tunisians have firmly set out their 'stall' with a large and colourful stand, just outside the main hall, advertising their 2005 summit.
Erin Dean @ 01:02 PM | Comment (0)
The prickly dispute over the digital fund rumbles on (here, here, and here).

Nitin Desai, Kofi Annan's special adviser to WSIS, has suggested that a voluntary fund will be set up. Daily Summit asked him who had agreed to this. "All 192 countries," he replied.
Erin Dean @ 11:54 AM | Comment (0)

December 09, 2003

Pulp nonfiction. Despite being regarded as a green and eco-friendly country, we are outraged to report that the Swiss have utterly neglected their duties in one respect.

In half a day (before things even start properly) the summit has gone through a fair-sized rain forest in hand-outs, press releases etc, and we've seen just one person collecting paper for recycling in a place big enough for 13,000 participants. More
Erin Dean @ 07:33 PM | Comment (5)
Big bridge needed - as "the digital divide is massive". So says George Sciadas, a researcher who helped launch The Global Information Technology Report at WSIS. He added the divide "is closing at a hugely slow pace", which will take generations. More
Erin Dean @ 04:44 PM | Comment (1)
Leopard changing spots? So, we were listening to experts discussing ways of bridging the digital divide... and one says "breaking monopolies" is a way forward.

The speaker was Jean-Philippe Courtois, senior vice president and CEO of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa. You know, Microsoft.

He was cagey when we asked him to explain, and said when "the market was opened up" for telecoms companies in monopoly states, it seemed to be beneficial.
Erin Dean @ 04:40 PM | Comment (1)
Gun count after 30 minutes at WSIS? Already in the dozens due to the various heavies, soldiers in full camouflage (not sure where they expect to find any trees in the sprawling concrete venue), and armed police.

Even as you approach the building armed guards peer down from the roof. And queues snake back from ranks of full body and bag scanners.
Erin Dean @ 11:46 AM | Comment (3)

December 08, 2003

ICANN's first strike. The Register reports (scroll to the end) that ICANN is gearing up for the battle at WSIS by unveiling a trendy new site.
Erin Dean @ 12:55 PM | Comment (0)

December 07, 2003

Broadband tribes. A company that has brought the internet to some of the world's most remote communities is coming to WSIS - where they'll outline the impact communications technology has had on the health, education and economic development of remote indigenous Canadian communities. More
Erin Dean @ 09:34 AM | Comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 16, 2003

Where's the progress? The summit is in trouble, as previously noted. Three more days of talks, designed to sort out gaping disagreements, have dribbled to a close.

By now, we shoud have something to really work with in Geneva - but instead, every time the participants get round a table, more tensions come out. More
Erin Dean @ 02:35 PM |

November 09, 2003

Is your computer terminally bad for you? Apparently coping with the daily flood of e-mails that arrive on all our computers is stressing out the normally laid-back Aussies. More
Erin Dean @ 09:53 PM | | TrackBack (0)

October 25, 2003

Is coverage is the way forward? Technology analyst Bill Thompson says few journalists have reported on the pending summit because it "is simply that it is not going to have any impact". I'm not so sure - won't highlighting and reporting the event successfully help to pressure the representatives in Geneva into a reaching a progressive and useful agreement?
Erin Dean @ 10:39 AM | | TrackBack (0)
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