WOS 3 / Program / Panels / Globalization of Free Knowledge Cultures / WSIS: Globalization of Civil Society / World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) / abstr
World Summit on the Information Society - the Real Success Story

When you watched the first WSIS meeting in 2003 you might rigthfully think that it is all about process and procedures, and at best only marginally about issues - or even about bridging digital divides. When you look at the dull language of the summit declaration you might think that it is nice to see "open source" mentioned there but wonder if that's all, whether the huge efforts by thousands of activists over a time span of almost two years couldn't have been spent more effectively. The real success story behind WSIS is the global networking of civil society players that it enabled. For the first time, the different communities met at a global level Linux coders from Africa, community media activists from Latin America, privacy advocates from North America, ICANN people from Asia, labour union representatives from Europe and human rights defenders from the Arabic region, to name but a few examples.

Through long discussions at the WSIS preparatory conferences, countless e-mails and a number of sleepless nights in smoke-filled hotel rooms in Geneva, their agendas and issues converged and the outcome was a common understanding and vision of a people-centered information society. The civil society summit declaration that was published at the summit in December clearly shows this: Its about dignity, not about digital.

The other outcome was a new network of activists that spans the globe and covers virtually all aspects of information and communication policy issues. It is not limited to the world summit that will have its second gathering in November 2005 in Tunisia, but rooted in local, national and regional networks and coalitions. At this panel, we will tell the success story of this global networking process. The speakers come from different regions and thematic backgrounds and have all been key civil society activists in the summit preparations and the numerous events around the summit itself.

WSIS official page
WSIS Civil Society Meeting Point
WSIS Civil Society News and Documents
WSIS Civil Society Bureau

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