December 2003: UN's World Summit on the Information Society held in Geneva.
See also UK Indymedia - WSIS 2003
The choice of place for the second part of WSIS - Tunis - is more than hypocritical for a summit on information society: While Tunisia is catching up economically with the capitalist North, it is far from any information society if you are talking about the freedom of information (report). Furthermore - and different to 2003 - it seems almost impossible to express protest against this summit. Nevertheless some initiatives and organisations called for alternative meetings. Some Human Rights Groups take part in the "Citizens Summit on the Information Society (CSIS)". Others try to bring in their ideas within the WSIS itself.
Free access to knowledge for everybody is not the goal of WSIS, and the summit organizers' plan is to concentrate on governmental and corporate use of information and communication technologies. This approach fits the choice of place. Yet, the summit does not only give legitimacy to a repressive regime, its focus also ignores the social and technological situation in the Magrebh region. The majority of people in this part of the world do not have access to communication tools and the authoritarian regimes in the region are reliable allies to the european governments in supressing freedom of movement.
Update 16 November:It is reported that Tunesia is blocking unofficial websites related to the WSIS. People said that they could not access Websites as wsisblogs.org or the CSIS Website from hotels or other places outside the official media centre. ( study on Tunesian internet filtering ). Furthermore there were reports of repressiv actions by Tunesian authorities against groups claiming freedom of speech in the days before the conference started.
2005:'Tunisia and WSIS' dedicated page of the WSIS CS Human Rights Caucus| CSIS Website | IP Justice | from the region(fr):tunezine |nawaat | reveiltunisien | Wikipedia On WSIS | IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group | Some Blogs: one | two | three | four | five (de) |
The Geneva03 "We Seize" Polymedia Lab ran from Dec 9 to Dec 12, and even a few hours before it closed its doors, people were still working on about 10 permanent work-terminals and 30 laptops. A few hours prior, the number of connected laptops had peaked at around 40. Within the same building, a radio studio and various video streaming boxes were continuously in action - including streaming a live radio show to Resonance FM in London where it was transmitted over the airwaves.
The Polymedia Lab was an experiment in free sharing of knowledge and software, cables, boxes and food, and in some cases even clothes. It came together despite initial problems on Dec. 9th, when the authorities suddenly decided that the project could not take place at the scheduled location by closing it down [pics]. Eventually, Geneva City Council provided the Palladium, a stylish culture venue. Strangely enough, when the council was asked for a space a few weeks ago, they were not able to find something, claiming that all spaces were fully booked.
All this was taking place at the same time as the official UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, Switzerland. Throughout the week a video and audio stream was broadcasted worlwide by HighNoon. Activists demanded that the UN Summit addressed issues of intellectual property, human rights, the right to communicate, infowar, the rights to cheap generic medicine, and to free software as a model for technological development. Some of the issues addressed and debated, and projects put into practice in the Polimedia Lab included: Seizing... You can't beat the feeling! | All technology to the multitude | Free Software | Become the Media! | Switch TV! | Gasparri redux | We proclaim our precarious state | Pirate pride | WSIS Reload | Attention as a common good | Digital Denied | Intellectual Property | Reclaim the media - Reclaim the money | Small cybersoviets growing up... | Icome and action | Cielito Lindo | Hacklabs | Yomango
A one day event labelled as World Forum on Communication Rights also took place in Geneva alongside the WSIS summit on Thursday 11th. This was an independent civil-society led initiative, open to all seeking democratic, just and participative media and communication. This event was initiated by the Communication Rights in the Information Society campaign (CRIS), it is led by a coalition of international NGOs.
News from Geneva that the police have raided the Polymedia Lab on Tuesday, 9th December, at 11am local time. The Polymedia Lab was planned in for today's S-Conf open conference event to take place. Whilst the participants are currently consulting legal counsel, events have temporarily moved elsewhere. Meanwhile, action committees are formed to deal with the issues of space and accomodation.
Reports: short | long | Quicktime Video Clip | Performance review | Denial of new space | Meeting notes
Streaming audio | pictures | | irc.indymedia.org #sconf
Newswire reports: [1,2,3, 4, 5]
More information under: [WSIS? We Seize! | Polimedia Lab website | uk feature site | Wiki website | World Summit on Information Society]
Police raid 'We Seize!' Polimedia Lab
WSIS Polymedia Lab Closed by Riot Police
!!! we seize mutant ninja direct action !!!
05-12-2003 14:54 | 2 comments
Auntie goes WSIS...
WSIS Strategic Conference
Public sector cuts
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