Outcomes and recommendations of the Seminar Communication and Citizenship II

2002-07-16 00:00:00

"Social and Appropriation and Control of Information and
Communication Technologies", Porto Alegre, February 2002

Communication is a key factor in the globalization process. Whoever
controls information, knowledge and the technical infrastructure that
carries them has a strong grip on economic, social, cultural and
political development. It is therefore a fundamental area of social
struggle. Today we face the option of:

- passively giving in to an information society in which media
and knowledge are privately owned by megacorporations and marketed
to consumers, where content is homogenized and access to the means
of expression is restricted to a small elite (predominantly white,
Northern and male). Present trends are rapidly consolidating this

- Or building an information society on the principles of
transparency, diversity, participation and solidarity and inspired by
equitable gender, cultural and regional perspectives; a democratic
information society, in which all people can exercise the right to
communicate, to be full actors in the public arena.

In the seminar on "Social Appropriation and Control of Information
and Communication Technologies", at the second World Social Forum,
the following were identified as urgent issues to prioritize on the
action agenda of social and civic movements:

- Dismantling the monopolistic concentration of media and
communication systems, including software and content (legislative,
regulatory measures; boycott campaigns, etc.)

- Promote information as a worldwide common good, in particular
opposing current policy on Intellectual Property Rights that protects
profit over knowledge-sharing
- Defend the airwaves from privatisation, as part of the global

- Defend civil liberties and privacy from invasive use of
technology for surveillance and control and against regressive
legislation that threatens freedom of expression and association -
Encourage and create media content that respects pluralism and
diversity of expression, and balance in terms of gender, culture,
language and geographic region

- Provide access and training to promote the creative use of
interactive technologies, to ensure that ICTs are not a new source of
social fragmentation - Develop a solidarity-based economy in the ICT

A rich variety of civic initiatives are already active on these
issues, and converged in the second World Social Forum to launch the
"Campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society"
(CRIS). Among its first steps, the CRIS campaign proposes to
mobilize civil society around the upcoming UN World Summit on the
Information Society (Geneva 2003; Tunis 2005), which is an
opportunity to broaden public debate and affirm co-responsibility in
defining the society we are building.

The organizations participating in the World Social Forum process are
encouraged to join the CRIS campaign and to actively contribute to
its development.

* Seminar organized by ALAI, APC, APRESS