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Civil society declaration (Re: WSIS: Mentions of language, ...)

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  • Don Osborn
    Happy new year to all subscribers and best wishes for 2004! ... Following up on my posting of excerpts from the World Summit on the Information Society s
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 1, 2004
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      Happy new year to all subscribers and best wishes for 2004! ...

      Following up on my posting of excerpts from the World Summit on the
      Information Society's declaration & plan of action that mention
      language, literacy, linguistic diversity, and multilingual, here are
      excerpts from the Civil Society meeting's declaration. The entire
      declaration is available at:
      http://www.worldsummit2003.de/download_en/WSIS-CS-Decl-08Dec2003-
      en.pdf

      Don Osborn
      Bisharat.net

      =================
      "Shaping Information Societies for Human Needs"
      Civil Society Declaration to the World Summit on the Information
      Society
      WSIS Civil Society Plenary, Geneva, 8 December 2003

      1. A VISIONARY SOCIETY
      ... This means creating an enabling environment for the engagement
      and commitment of all generations, both women and men, and ensuring
      the involvement of diverse social and linguistic groups, cultures and
      peoples, rural and urban populations without exclusion. ...
      We envision societies where human knowledge, creativity, cooperation
      and solidarity are considered core elements; where not only
      individual creativity, but also collective innovation, based on
      cooperative work are promoted. Societies where knowledge, information
      and communication resources are recognised and protected as the
      common heritage of humankind; societies that guarantee and foster
      cultural and linguistic diversity and intercultural dialogue, in
      environments that are free from discrimination, violence and hatred.

      2.1.7 Basic Literacy
      Literacy and free universal access to education is a key principle.
      Knowledge societies require an informed and educated citizenry.
      Capacity-building needs to include skills to use ICTs, media and
      information literacy, and the skills needed for active citizenship
      including the ability to find, appraise, use and create information
      and technology. Approaches that are local, horizontal, gender
      responsive and socially driven and mediated should be prioritised. A
      combination of traditional and new media as well as open access to
      knowledge and information should be encouraged. Libraries - both real
      and virtual - have an important role to play to ensure access to
      knowledge and information available to everyone. At the international
      and multilateral level, the public domain of knowledge and culture
      needs to be protected. People-centred information technologies can
      foster eradication of illnesses and epidemics, can help give everyone
      food, shelter, freedom and peace.

      Literacy, education and research are fundamental components of
      information, communication and knowledge societies. Knowledge
      creation and acquisition should be nurtured as a participatory and
      collective process and not considered a one-way flow or confined to
      one section of capacity building. Education (formal, informal, and
      lifelong) builds democracy both by creating a literate citizenry and
      a skilled workforce. But only an informed and educated citizenry with
      access to the means andoutputs of pluralistic research can fully
      participate in and effectively contribute to knowledge societies.

      Urgent attention should be paid to the potential positive and
      negative impacts of ICTs on the issues of illiteracy in regional,
      national and international languages of the great majority of the
      world's peoples. Literacy, education, and research efforts in the
      information and communication societies must include a focus on the
      needs of people who have physical impairments and all means of
      transcending those impairments (for example, voice recognition, e-
      learning, and open university training) must be promoted.

      2.2 Centrality of Human Rights
      An information and communication society should be based on human
      rights and human dignity. With the Charter of the United Nations and
      the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its foundation, it must
      embody the universality, indivisibility, interrelation and
      interdependence of all human rights - civil, political, economic,
      social and cultural - including the right to development and
      linguistic rights. This implies the full integration, concrete
      application and enforcement of all rights and the recognition of
      their centrality to democracy and sustainable development.
      Information and communication societies must be inclusive, so that
      all people, without distinction of any kind, can achieve their full
      potential. The principles of non-discrimination and diversity must be
      mainstreamed in all ICT regulation, policies, and programmes.

      2.2.4 Workers' Rights
      ... Human rights, such as privacy, freedom of expression, linguistic
      rights, the right for on-line workers to form and join trade unions
      and the right of trade unions to function freely, including
      communicating with employees, must be respected in the workplace.

      2.2.5 Rights of Indigenous Peoples
      The evolution of information and communication societies must be
      founded on the respect and promotion of the recognition of the Rights
      of Indigenous Peoples and their distinctiveness as outlined in
      international conventions. Indigenous Peoples have fundamental rights
      to protect, preserve and strengthen their own language, culture and
      identity. ICT's should be used to support and promote diversity and
      the rights and means of Indigenous Peoples to benefit fully and with
      priority from their cultural, intellectual and so-called natural
      resources.
      ...

      2.3 Culture, Knowledge and the Public Domain
      Information and communication societies are enriched by their
      diversity of cultures and languages, retained and passed on through
      oral tradition or recorded and transmitted through a variety of
      media, and together contributing to the sum of human knowledge. Human
      knowledge is the heritage of all humankind and the reservoir from
      which all new knowledge is created. The preservation of cultural and
      linguistic diversity, the freedom of the media and the defence and
      extension of the public domain of global knowledge are as essential,
      for information and communication societies, as the diversity of our
      natural environment.

      2.3.1 Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
      Cultural and linguistic diversity is an essential dimension of people-
      centred information and communication societies. Every culture has
      dignity and value that must be respected and preserved. Cultural and
      linguistic diversity is based, among other things, on the freedom of
      information and expression and the right of everyone to freely
      participate in the cultural life of the community, at local, national
      and international levels. This participation includes activities both
      as users and producers of cultural content. ICTs including
      traditional communications media have a particularly important role
      to play in sustaining and developing the world's cultures and
      languages.

      2.3.1.1 Capacity Building and Education
      Cultural and linguistic diversity should not only be preserved; it
      needs to be fostered. This implies capacity to express oneself, in
      one's own language, at any time, by any means, including traditional
      media and new ICTs. In order to become a contributor and a creator in
      the information and communication societies, not only technical
      skills are needed, but critical and creative competence. Media
      education in the sense of the UNESCO Grunwald Declaration must be
      given specific attention in education and training programs. Cultural
      and linguistic diversity also implies equal access to the means of
      expression and of dissemination of cultural goods and services.
      Priority should be given to community-driven initiatives.

      2.3.1.2 Language
      Plurality of languages is at the core of vibrant information and
      communication societies. ICTs can be applied to bridge cultural and
      linguistic divides, given the right priorities. In the past, ICT
      development has too often reinforced inequalities, such as dominance
      of roman letter based languages (especially English) and
      marginalization of local, regional and minority languages. Priority
      should be given in ICT research and development to overcoming
      barriers and addressing inequalities between languages and cultures.

      2.3.1.3 International Law and Regulation
      International law and regulation should strengthen cultural,
      linguistic and media diversity, in accordance with existing
      international declarations and covenants, in particular Article 19
      and Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Articles
      19 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
      Rights; Articles 13 and 15 of the International Covenant on Economic,
      Social and Cultural Rights; and Articles 5 and 6 of the Universal
      Declaration of Cultural Diversity adopted by UNESCO in 2001.
      International trade agreements should treat culture, including audio-
      visual content and services, not simply as a commodity, but should
      take account of the need for cultural, linguistic and media
      diversity. The establishment of an International Convention on
      Cultural Diversity should be accelerated, with a view to achieving an
      effective and binding international agreement. Existing international
      copyright regulation instruments including TRIPS and WIPO should be
      reviewed to ensure that they promote cultural, linguistic and media
      diversity and contribute to the development of human knowledge.

      2.3.2.2 Community Media
      ... A Community Media Fund should be established through a donor
      civil society partnership to invest in and support community-driven
      media, information and communication initiatives using traditional
      media and new ICTs including projects that make provision for the
      poorest communities, for cultural and linguistic diversity and for
      the equal participation of women and girls. ...

      2.3.3.3 Software
      ... Its [free software's] special advantages for developing
      countries, such as low cost, empowerment and the stimulation of
      sustainable local and regional economies, easier adaptation to local
      cultures and creation of local language versions, greater security,
      capacity building, etc, need to be recognised, publicised and taken
      advantage of. ...

      2.4 Enabling Environment
      ...
      2.4.3 Infrastructure and Access
      ... Governments should guarantee policies for the development of
      telecentres, among others, to provide equitable and affordable access
      to infrastructure and ICTs; to encourage digital inclusion policies
      for the population, independently of gender, ethnic aspects,
      language, culture and geographical situation. This would promote the
      discussion and active participation of communities in public policy
      processes related to the implementation and role of telecentres for
      local development.

      2.4.5 Human Development - Education and Training
      Literacy, education and research are fundamental and interrelated
      components of the information exchanges necessary to build knowledge
      societies. Knowledge creation and acquisition should be nurtured as a
      participatory and collective process; it should not be considered a
      one-way flow or confined to one section of capacity building.
      Education, in its different components - formal, informal, and
      lifelong - is fundamental to building democratic societies both by
      creating a literate citizenry and a skilled workforce.

      To utilise the full potential of e-learning and long-distance
      education, they must be complemented by traditional educational
      resources and methods, in a local context of media pluralism and
      linguistic diversity.

      Only informed and educated citizens with access to empowering
      education, a plurality of means of information, and the outputs of
      research efforts can fully participate in and effectively contribute
      to knowledge societies. Therefore it is also essential to recognise
      the right to education as stated both in the Declaration on the Right
      to Development and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      Capacity building initiatives designed to empower individuals and
      communities in the information society must include, in addition to
      basic literacy and ICT skills, media and information literacy, the
      ability to find, appraise, use and create information and technology.
      In particular, educators, students and researchers must be able to
      use and develop Free Software, which allows the unfettered ability to
      study, change, copy, distribute, and run software. Finally, capacity
      building initiatives should be designed to stimulate the desire for
      general learning and respond to specific as well as special needs:
      those of young and elderly people, of women, of people with
      impairments, of indigenous peoples, of migrant communities, of
      refugees and returnees in post-conflict situations, in a life-long
      perspective. Volunteers can help transmit knowledge and enhance
      capacity, in particular of marginalized groups not reached by
      government training institutions.

      Capacity building in the information and communication societies
      requires people who are competent in teaching media and communication
      literacy. Therefore training of trainers and training of educators in
      every level is equal important in order to reach out to people at the
      limits of the information society.

      Libraries are an important tool to fight digital divide and to ensure
      continuous, out-of-market-ruled access to information, by freeing the
      results of research funded by public support, by sharing content and
      educational materials to promote literacy, build capacities and bring
      autonomy to learners of all kinds, world wide. This also entails
      convincing content producers to be active participants in the open
      access paradigm of knowledge.

      2.4.7 Global Governance of ICT and Communications
      ... new diverse international arrangements are needed to promote:
      financial support for sustainable e-development, especially but not
      only in less affluent nations; linguistic, cultural, and
      informational diversity; and the curtailment of concentrated market
      power in ICT and mass media industries.
      ...
      ... only a truly open, multistakeholder, and flexible approach [to
      global coordination of the Internet's underlying resources] can
      ensure the Internet's continued growth and transition into a
      multilingual medium.
      =================



      --- In Multilingual_Literacy@yahoogroups.com, "Don Osborn" <dzo@b...>
      wrote:
      > FYI... the recent World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva
      > issued a Declaration and Plan of Action. Out of curiosity I did
      > quick searches to see what they said about "language," "linguistic
      > diversity," "multilingual," and "literacy" - from that I compiled
      the
      > following list of excerpts. [ . . . ]
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