Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tunis WSIS Summit latest

The latest news concerns on the positive side the much anticipated launch of the $100 laptop and on the negative the rising protests against the way in which governments like Tunisia clamp down on freedom of expression. In addition, Tunisian human rights activists continue their hunger strike and the civil society participants are preparing their own declaration. The governments agreed their own Declaration and action plan on November 15th before the Summit opened.

A variety of weblogs and other sites are covering the Summit, see especially and the Canadian site

UN debut for $100 laptop for poor

Jo Twist , BBC News Online

A prototype of a cheap and robust laptop for pupils has been welcomed as an "expression of global solidarity" by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The green machine was showcased for the first time by MIT's Nicholas Negroponte at the UN net summit in Tunis. He plans to have millions of $100 machines in production within a year.

Increasing international support for eight Tunisian opposition leaders on strike
By Christine Wenzel
17 November 2005. Freedom of speech and press, Freedom of Association, Freeing political prisoners. This is not asked for much, it is a minimum standard for a working democracy. Is it? Apparently it is too much to ask for in a regime such as Tunisia. What we experience these days is just the tip of the ice berg: Eight opposition leaders were so desperate in their situation to start a hunger strike on 18 October - that’s about 30 days ago - to call for help and international support and attention. The situation is serious. One of the strikers fainted and was brought to hospital last Monday at the very hour, when some German civil society representatives had a chance to visit the scene and speak to the people. More...

Summit Agenda switching to “ICT and development”
Governments use final statements to reiterate their pet subjects.
16 November 2005. With the final Tunis documents surprisingly being adopted in Tuesday night’s session, the so far dominant summit agenda of Internet Governance now suddenly seems to switch again to the development aspects of ICT. As countries make their final statements to the 2-year process, the development agenda regains its urgency. More...

Negotiations finished - Summit opened
16 November 2005. The governmental negotiations have - to the surprise of many observers - now already been finished last night, twelve hours before the summit was opened. Civil society groups have started preparing their own summit statement, which will be presented on Friday.
Summit Documents: Tunis Commitment (political part) | Tunis Agenda (operational part)