The following are detailed U.S. comments on
the subject document as requested at the May 15 meeting. Thank you for
taking them into consideration.
In Paragraph 3, we would like to suggest two additional themes:
"Freedom of the Media" and "The Role of ICTs in Good
Governance". These elements are found further down in the document in
C2 - para 24 , "human rights,democracy and governance", which
cites those portions of the Millennium Declaration that commit to freedom
of the media and the right of the public to have access to information.
In Paragraph 6 we recommend deleting the last sentence of the paragraph
"PrepCom needs to determine what is the problem that the Summit is
trying to solve." This wording suggests that the WSIS is a summit in
search of a cause - we need to be more positive.
Para 7A - we would prefer "common ground" or a similar term
to "shared vision" - this terminology is prescriptive and it
would be very difficult to reduce the "information society" to
one single, accepted definition.
Para 7C - we would like to have the first sentence "The
development of ICTs is primarily driven by commercial concerns"
removed from the text as we believe it is unnecessary.
Para 11 - This paragraph needs clarification, especially regarding the
identity of the "participants" - a task might inappropriately be
given to an NGO, for example.
Para 19 - we think the language on success stories, private sector
participation, market liberalization, and creation of independent
regulatory agencies is excellent and that these are aspects worthy of even
Para 25, last sentence - the U.S. is very supportive of the concept of
"local content" as critical to Internet development world.
Para 30: The U.S. would like to see a reference in the second sentence
to the activities of the ITU, in particular the World Telecom Development
Summit in March 02 and the upcoming Plenipot in Sept. 02.
In the fourth bullet point under "Vision - Opening the
Gates", we would like to add "with due consideration to
intellectual property rights" to Information as a common public
Under "Developing a Framework", the U.S. would like to delete
"and legal exceptions" from the second bullet point. Legal
exceptions to intellectual property rights are very complex, outside the
competence of the WSIS, and thus better left to a specialized organization
such as WIPO.
Under "The Needs of Users", The U.S. would like to eliminate
the bullet point "Ethics of the Information Society". These are
extensions of, and matters of national and cultural definition. As such,
an attempt by a Summit to deal with them risks encroaching upon sovereign
and cultural prerogatives. The bullet point "Content Regulation"
should also be removed.
This infringes on the right of all to freedom of expression as set
forth in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
General Comment: The U.S. does not support linking the WSIS to the
Millennium Declaration Goals as strongly as this Annex suggests. The
Declaration provides just one of many possible goal-setting options and
Annex 2 should not be completely driven by it. This annex should be more
flexible in order to include categories that may be refined at the
national level. Categories might include: poverty reduction; health;
sustainable development; needs of children (these categories exist already
but the role of ICTs is too specific); good governance; freedom of
expression; enabling environments for entrepreneurial undertakings, etc.
Fourth Bullet - We would suggest replacing this bullet with
"increase access to basic social services, including reproductive
health care" The U.S. cannot accept any language which contains the
term "reproductive health services".