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This section provides an update of articles published or broadcasted on WSIS in the global media


 Articles: December 2003
Friday, 12 December 2003
China to speed up IT developent (People Daily)
"China pledged to spare no efforts to work together with other nations to accelerate the progress of the development of an information society. That message was delivered in Geneva on December 10 at the first plenary meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Organized by the United Nations (UN), the three-day conference aims to bring poorer nations into the so-called information age and drive up their economic development by boosting access to technology such as mobile phones and the Internet. "

Ghana Calls for Collective Subscription to Digital Fund (All Africa)
"Ghanaian President John A. Kufuor has called on all nations to subscribe collectively to the Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF). The DSF, proposed to finance Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Africa, was put on ice after government, industry and civil society leaders participating in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process failed to reach a consensus. "

Global network to link marginalized people (Hindustan Times)
"A vast network that collects, shares and spreads information among marginalized people - which can even be life-saving - was launched in Geneva on Wednesday at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Called the Open Knowledge Network (OKN), it seeks to use flexible technical solutions to break down barriers of communication among marginalized communities. Welcoming the initiative, Satyan Mishra, the CEO of, an Indian digital information organization, remarks, "If groups working to spread information come together, they can emerge as a real force." "If we can coordinate these efforts, communities will benefit," he adds."

ICT society to bridge digital divide between rich, poor (The Daily Star)
"Khaleda tells World Summit Award Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was given a high-profile as she graced the occasion of honouring the best multi-media realisations and e-content products at the World Summit Award at Palexpo on Wednesday night. Khaleda Zia was selected for her special emphasis and contribution to the development of ICT in Bangladesh by the organisers of the ongoing World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to honour the winners at the World Summit Award. This official event of the first-ever World Summit on the Information Society was the first contest in the history of mankind within the information society on a global scale. Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister hoped that the establishment of a knowledge-based ICT society in Bangladesh and employing the newest forms of technology would bridge the fast- growing digital divide between the rich and poorer countries. "

India develops revolutionary teaching software (
"New Delhi, Dec 11 (UNI) Mr F C Kohli, one of the doyens of the Indian I.T industry, has developed revolutionary methods for making people literate through the ''total immersion'' techniques. Instead of teaching a person to read by first getting him to learn an alphabet, the method exposes him to the word as a whole, Minister for Communication, Information Technology and Disinvestment Arun Shourie said at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)in Geneva today."

Internet Summit Looks at Medical Roles (The Herald Tribune)
"Delegates to a U.N. summit this week argued that spreading information technology more equitably can hasten cures for such developing world ills as poverty, AIDS, poor education and high child mortality."

Looking for ripples in the pond (BBC News)
"When my daughter was about five she used to love parties, and would ask me constantly if we could invite some of her friends over for a small celebration: some cake, some crisps and a selection of party games. I occasionally gave in, because it was easier to host a party than to put up with her constant requests - she was very persistent, and was capable of putting a lot of energy into her campaign to persuade me. "

Régulation de l’internet: aucune avancée à attendre du côté du Sommet de Genève (ZD Net)
"Camouflet pour le président de l’Icann: il n’a pas été autorisé à assister aux réunions préliminaires du Sommet mondial sur la société de l’information. Mais l’essentiel est sauvé, le régulateur des noms de domaine restera en place au moins jusqu’en 2005. Paul Towney, le président de l’Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), n’en est toujours pas revenu. Il a été expulsé d’une réunion de préparation du Sommet mondial sur la société de l’information (SMSI), au cours de laquelle les diplomates des Nations unies ont discuté de l’avenir du régulateur en chef du système des noms de domaine (DNS). "

The UN information summit (Hi Pakistan)
"The UN information summit is alerting world leaders to the importance of the Internet and other forms of technology as a powerful economic tool and not just an area for IT experts, participants said on Thursday. "

UN push for tech development 'risky' (ABC News)
"The United Nations' push to transform the developing world into tech-ready nations could partly backfire, according to delegates at an IT summit aimed at bridging the "digital divide". The overwhelming consensus at the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) summit this week is that bringing the Internet and telecoms innovations to the world's poor is a noble cause that needs embracing now."

Wording on software and IPR reflects tough battle (IDG)
"The reality of the World Summit on the Information Society here in Geneva is not just about bringing computers and Internet access to the poor. It's also about making money from selling hardware, software and services. That partly explains the long and often heated debate over two particularly thorny issues: open software and intellectual property rights, or IPR. Opinions vary on why agreeing over the two issues was so difficult. It depends, arguably, on what side of the fence you're on -- whether you believe software and other forms of content should be accessible to virtually everyone on the planet regardless of income or only to those able to pay for it. "

WSIS: EU approves of Net summit direction (IDG)
"Don't mess with a running system. This isn't advice from a computer expert but a message delivered Thursday by a high-ranking European Union (EU) official at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) here in Geneva. "The Internet has been a wonderful story," said European Commission technology commissioner Erkki Liikanen at a news conference. "It is very important that we guarantee stability."

Young Minds, Big Ideas (All Africa)
"You can't miss their stand at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It's alive with bright colours, photographs and even cartoons. And in the traditions of high schools everywhere, you can leave your mark in the form of an "I was here" card on their wall. It's also possibly the only stand in the Summit with bright orange stools for visitors to sit on. But don't be fooled. While the WSIS Youth Caucus may seem happy-go-lucky, their message for the delegates thrashing out a world plan for communication technology is serious. And their developmental track record is proof of their commitment. "

Thursday, 11 December 2003
African academics connect up online (
"Students and teachers at a French-speaking digital campus in the Senegalese capital Dakar follow courses on-line, download text books which would cost too much to buy and enjoy access to a wealth of internet data. Their experience will be important input at the World Summit on the Information Society, which opened in Geneva on Wednesday with the aim of reducing the digital gap between rich and poor. Abdou Faye, a master's student of human resources in Dakar, says the digital campus facilities here give local students access to books they would otherwise never be able to afford. "Some works cost 65 000 CFA francs (€100/$120). I couldn't buy them," he said. "

France calls for UN net contro (Australian IT)
"FRENCH Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has called for "international rules" overseen by the United Nations to govern the internet. "The information society offers new opportunities, but like all new technological revolutions it also brings uncertainty," Mr Raffarin told the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society, the world's first such meeting. "It calls on us to establish international rules, which citizens can rely on," he said. "For France, the UN is the major source of international rights, which must ensure peace and development. That also concerns the information society." According to Mr Raffarin, these international rules must cover technical questions - such as the attribution of web addresses and management of domain names - as well as the protection of intellectual property. This would guarantee "network security" and "deal with content while respecting freedom (of expression)." The United States and other countries argue that governance of the internet should be left in private hands, namely the California-based internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). "

IDRC seeks to bring Internet home to mother tongues (IT Business)
"Canada's International Development Research Centre is leading a project to help Asian countries publish and use content on the Internet in their native languages. The government has earmarked $1 million for the initiative, called the Pan Asia Networking Local Language Project. The IDRC, its partner the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences in Pakistan, and participants from six other countries met in Geneva Wednesday to announce its creation at the World Summit on the Information Society. "It's no secret that a lot of the language and content that's on the Internet is in English. Even a number of government Web sites that are being established in the countries we're working in -- in South Asia and South East Asia -- are in the English language," said Nancy Smyth, senior program specialist at the IDRC."

President Ben Ali Addresses Geneva Summit, Invites All Parties to WSIS in Tunis 2005 (All Africa)
"Speaking Wednesday in Geneva at the opening session of the First Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali invited all parties including governments, international and regional organizations, members of civil society and the private sector, to participate in the second phase of the summit scheduled in Tunis Summit, November 16-18, 2005. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) which opened today in Geneva is structured in two phases. The first phase is hosted by the Swiss Federation, from 10 to 12 December 2003. The second phase will be hosted by the Republic of Tunisia in November 2005."

Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and Iranian President Syed Mohammad Khatemi discussed bilateral relations (Hi Pakistan)
"GENEVA: Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and Iranian President Syed Mohammad Khatemi discussed bilateral relations and regional situation in a meeting on the sidelines of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a press report said on Thursday. Both the leaders met at Palexpo Center where the first phase of first ever Information Society Summit is taking place which is arranged jointly by United Nations and International Telecommunication Union. In one-on-one meeting the Prime Minister and the Iranian President discussed in detail the situation in the region and particularly the situation in Afghanistan."

SA joins lobby to transfer control of the internet to the UN (Burs Report)
"Geneva - Worried about US domination, a group of developing nations, including South Africa, wants to put control of the internet in the hands of the UN. The issue is likely to overshadow a summit on information technology that opened yesterday in Geneva, where the World Wide Web was invented 13 years ago. Key decisions on internet issues, such as domain names and addresses, now reside in a private agency spun off from the US government - and the US wants to keep it that way."

Summit leaders put spotlight on human rights (Neue Zuericher Zeitung)
"The World Summit on the Information Society got underway in Geneva on Wednesday, with calls for improved universal access to the emerging information society. Global leaders were also warned of the need to ensure respect for human rights and freedom of expression and opinion. More than 50 heads of state or government and around 13,000 representatives of civil society, international organisations and the private sector are attending the three-day event. Swiss President Pascal Couchepin officially opened the summit at a ceremony involving thousands of delegates on Wednesday."

Telecom industry on the comeback (China Daily)
"The global telecom industry has entered a recovery phase after years of dismal performance, more than 30 chief technical officers (CTOs) said at a conference on Tuesday. CTOs from big companies such as Alcatel,China Mobile, China Unicom, Ericsson, IBM and Nokia, among others, are taking part in the World Summit on the Information Society, which kicked off yesterday in Geneva. "We have growing confidence that the telecom industry is emerging from a tough period," said Zhao Houlin, director of the International Telecom Union's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. Experts believe that this new period is being driven by the market pull for services that comes from a real convergence of information, computing and telecom technologies. "

Telecoms Regulators Call for Competitive Markets (All Africa)
"World telecommunications regulators have cited competition as being a key driver in promoting universal access to ICT services - a key issue in the World Summit on Information Society now underway in Geneva. Speaking on the eve of the WSIS, they called upon countries to open their information and communications technology (ICT) sectors to greater competition. They further identified the kinds of regulations and practices needed to promote universal access to ICT services. The regulators from more than 80 countries met in Geneva during the past two days to participate in the fourth annual Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)."

U.N. Meeting Debates Software for Poor Nations (NY Times, International Herald Tribune)
"GENEVA, Dec. 10 -Whether governments should support open-source software like Linux over commercial software like Microsoft's Windows was debated on Wednesday at a United Nations conference on closing the so-called digital divide between rich and poor countries. Samuel Guimarães, executive secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, told government representatives at the opening sessions of the meeting that open-source, or free-to-share, software was crucial for the developing world because it would permit poorer countries to develop their own technology instead of having to import it. "

Un sommet de l’information verrouillé (L' Hebdo)
"Une bataille planétaire s’est jouée en amont du Sommet mondial sur la société de l’information (SMSI). Une bataille entre titans (Etats-Unis, Europe, Chine, Inde, Russie), loin des feux des médias, découragés parfois par la complexité de l’enjeu. Au final, le sommet échoue sur une déclaration en eau de boudin et des silences assourdissants sur le rôle des médias, la liberté d’expression, la régulation d’internet ou encore la propriété intellectuelle. Mais ces atolls de réflexion correspondent sur le fond avec un thème majeur dont il ne fut pas question non plus à Genève: la sécurité."

UN Takeover of Internet? (International Herald Tribune)
"What role should government and intra-governmental agencies play in the international development of the Internet? Some 5,000 representatives from more than 60 nations began asking that question along with key others at the United Nations' first World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), meeting in Geneva Wednesday. Jennifer L. Schenker, of the International Herald Tribune, reports on the proposal that the Internet be moved from private-sector based control by groups such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to the United Nations. The proposal comes in response to a feeling within the international community that their voices are not being heard in regard to how the Internet is run."

Wednesday, 10 December 2003
Africa urges more computer funds (BBC News)
"Several African heads of state are in Switzerland to attend the world's first information summit. The leaders of Mali, Mozambique and Senegal are expected to call on richer nations to provide funds to give people access to private computers. But the African leaders' demands have already been thwarted. On Tuesday, governments failed to agree on a special fund to help bridge the digital divide between rich and poor nations ahead of the summit. "

Annan: Media Freedoms Must Be Reaffirmed (Miami Herald)
"GENEVA - Respect for media freedoms must accompany efforts to expand the Internet, even though the press will be continue to be regulated in some nations, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told worldwide broadcasters. "But when they go further, down the slope toward censorship and harassment, all of us - and potentially our rights - are imperiled," Annan said Tuesday at the opening session of the U.N.-sponsored World Electronic Media Forum."

CHICAGO SCHOOL Seventies Chic (
"Foreign policy wonks have spent the last three years fretting about the Bush administration's unilateralist tendencies and agonizing over the growing tensions between the United States and Europe. But another cleavage is worming its way into the forefront of world politics: the divide between large developed economies--such as the United States, the European Union, and Japan--and the large developing countries--such as Brazil, India, and China. "

Geneva summit aims to bridge 'digital divide' (Fiancial Times)
"With almost all the political hurdles swept aside in negotiations last weekend, the huge World Summit on the Information Society that opens in Geneva today will be clearly focused on its initial objective - boosting the use of information and communication technologies in the developing world. Governments from more than 170 countries are expected to endorse a declaration of principles and a plan of action for increasing ICT use and access. Only the issue of special finance to help poorer nations meet these goals remains unresolved ahead of the three-day United Nations summit. In addition, countries will reaffirm the principles of freedom of expression, media independence and pluralism, which China and some other members had sought to weaken. "

IT gap looms over U.N. summit (CNN)
"GENEVA, Switzerland (AP) -- A group of developing nations wants to put control of the Internet into the hands of the United Nations, an issue that likely will overshadow a summit on information technology. Key decisions on Internet issues, such as domain names and addresses, now reside in a private agency spun off from the U.S. government -- and the United States wants to keep it that way. But if countries do not believe their concerns are adequately heard by the Internet's key decision-makers, a U.N. official warned on Tuesday, they may create conflicting national policies and even set up their own networks within their borders. "

Linux Professional Institute Showcases Open Source Translation System (TMC Net)
"The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the premier not-for-profit, professional certification program for the Linux community worldwide, has announced a new Open Source translation system at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Named, t7e, the project is the result of the work commissioned by LPI to facilitate the multilingual operation of LPI’s Web site. It allows the same site to be maintained in a large number of languages, alerting translators to changes in the original site and ensuring material in all languages is accurate and current."

Summit agrees that Web must grow - but who should pull the strings? (The Star)
"Geneva - A summit of world leaders focusing on expanding the Internet must reaffirm media freedoms and the right of ordinary people to stay informed. So says UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. It is one thing for governments to establish regulations governing the media, Annan said yesterday in remarks prepared for delivery at a parallel conference of broadcasters from around the world. "But when they go further, down the slope towards censorship and harassment, all of us - and potentially our rights - are imperiled," Annan told participants at the opening session of the World Electronic Media Forum."

Summit to Search Ways to Narrow “Digital Divide” (Deutsche Welle)
"World leaders are in Geneva for the World Summit on the Information Society, aimed to bridge the “digital divide” between rich and poor. But forging common ground in the face of sundry interests will prove difficult. 60 heads of state, officials from 175 countries and another 10,000 representatives from civil society, media, business and technology gathered in Geneva on Wednesday for a three-day World Summit on the Information Society organized under a U.N. banner. The aim is to discuss ways to bring poorer nations into the information age and speed up their economic development by improving access to mobile phone technology and the Internet. Speaking on the eve of the summit, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anan said the goal of the summit could be summed up in one word: "connections." Annan added that the role of the delegates was to help connect people to technology and to each other. "

World Broadcasters present Annan with declaration pledging spread of information (UN News)
"The world's leading radio and television broadcasters today conveyed to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan their commitment to such fundamental values as freedom of expression, access to information, media pluralism and cultural diversity. The Broadcasters' Declaration by the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), a coordinating body for regional broadcasting associations, was presented to the Secretary-General on the opening day of the World Electronic Media Forum (WEMF) in Geneva. "

World Summit on the Information Society begins in Geneva | Coke to enter the e-music business (Electric News)
"At the three-day World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, an event organised by the United Nations, the globe's political and ICT leaders have discussed the so-called "digital divide" between the world's rich and poor. One focus of the conference is to find ways to boost Internet and mobile phone penetration in developing nations. "Where most global conferences focus on global threats, this one will consider how best to use a new global asset," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said at the opening ceremony. Though officials from 175 countries are in attendance, only a handful of the 60 heads of state or government attending come from Europe or North America, a point that critics have made in the run up to the event. "

Tuesday, 9 December 2003
Annan calls on broadcasters to help create ‘open, inclusive’ information society (Herald Tribune)
"United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on global broadcasters to help in the effort to create an open and inclusive information society in which knowledge empowers all people, and serves the cause of improving the human condition. In remarks to the opening of the World Electronic Media Forum (WEMF) in Geneva, the Secretary-General noted the "power and paradox" facing the producers and consumers of electronic media in the information age. "

Cash compromise for UN summit (BBC News)
"Developing nations keen to use technology to bridge the digital divide are going to have to find the cash to pay for the hardware and software themselves. Negotiators at the UN summit on the digital divide have failed to agree to create a special fund that can be used to bankroll technology-related projects. Instead a compromise has been reached that will see African states pool resources but European, Japanese and Canadian governments have only agreed to study the idea. The compromised was hammered out during the final day of negotiations taking place before the UN summit officially starts on 10 December. "

Delegates make important progress in preparation for information society summit (Cordis News)
"In the run up to the World Summit on the Information Society, which begins in Geneva on 10 December, negotiators from 192 countries have resolved most of their disagreements over draft documents to be presented to Heads of State and Government at the event. Following eleventh hour discussions, sticking points such as references to human rights, media freedom, intellectual property rights and Internet governance have been overcome."

File sharing in West Africa (
"In West Africa, they call it Cooperative Networking. Here, we call it p2p - peer-to-peer - file sharing. And it's working to help people in West Africa, as people attending the World Summit on the Information Society, due to open in Geneva tomorrow, will learn. Conference attendees will find out how staff and pupils in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Benin, Burkina-Faso and Niger, and to a lesser degree in Togo, Guinea and Mauritania, are using the Net as what amounts to a digital campus where resources are shared online. "

Matsepe-Casaburri off to World Summit (IT Web)
"Communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri left for Geneva this weekend to attend the World Summit on the Information Society's (WSIS) extraordinary session, which will seek ways of bridging the digital divide. According to a Government Communications and Information Services announcement, the three-day summit is due to start on Wednesday and the minister will address an all-general debate on Thursday. The WSIS is a forum of all stakeholders in telecommunications, broadcasting, multimedia and information and communications technology (ICT), to develop a better understanding of the impact of the convergence of such technologies on the international community."

Media Freedom in WSIS Proclamations (All Africa)
"Following intense lobbying by media and civil society groups, the declaration to be presented to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has included more progressive clauses on freedom of expression and the role of the media in the information society. Media and human rights organisations had threatened to boycott the official declaration if it did not include their proposals to give media the freedom to play an active role in society without fear of harassment by governments."

Nokia Chairman and CEO Jorma Ollila: Communications Technologies Are a Catalyst for Economic and Social Development (Business Wire)
"Jorma Ollila, Chairman and CEO of Nokia, highlighted the need for shared commitment and actions to bring about universal access - the ability of all people to connect to people, information and services - to communications technologies. He made these remarks in a welcoming speech for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, Switzerland. The WSIS is hosted under the auspices of the United Nations and convened to develop ways to address the information revolution. "

Race against clock ahead of digital divide summit (The Daily Star)
"Talks paving the way for a groundbreaking global summit on bridging the digital divide have made progress but an accord on the financing of measures to reduce the gap between rich and poor remains elusive, a negotiator said here. The 169 countries taking part in the World Summit on the Information Society, opening here today, still disagree on a plan of action to be adopted by delegates, Marc Furrer, head of the Swiss Federal Office of Communication said. "The minimal consensus is that we have to see solidarity, (but) what we don't agree on is whether we should create a special fund or not," he told reporters"

Sadc condemn 'rigid' Commonwealth (New Zimbabwe)
"SADC condemn rigid Commonwealth SOUTHERN African countries today condemned Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, blaming it on the "dismissive, intolerant and rigid attitude" of some member countries. "The present situation in Zimbabwe calls for engagement by the Commonwealth and not isolation and further punishment," said a statement by those members of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) which are also members of the Commonwealth. "

World Summit to set out a strategic vision for a global information society (Europe News)
"The United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) will take place in Geneva from the 10th to the 12th December 2003. This is the single most important political event dedicated to the Information Society since the European Commission coined the phrase in the mid-Nineties. Heads of State and Government and senior ministers from around the world should agree a Declaration of Principles governing the global information society and a Plan of Action to guide countries in making it a reality. "



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