Beatriz Busaniche

The free software activist Beatriz Busaniche (Argentina), member of Fundacion Via Libre, talks about the free software community and its ethics, the need to shift from technical to political discussion of software and ICT, and the tendency to approach ICT as a new utopianism. She addresses civil society as a dangerous concept that shifts emphasis from citizens and the grassroots to self-selected organizations marked by their dependence on donors and the burden of having to ‘represent’. Busaniche places the development of free software into a broader political, even revolutionary perspective.

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00:22:11 / 37 MB / Ogg
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Enrique Chaparro

For Enrique Chaparro (Buenos Aires), the buzzwords in the ICT for Development discourse (info-society, info-development) are simply substitutes for an older discourse. He focuses on free and open source software, but acknowledges that computers will neither end world poverty nor close the digital divide. A firm believer in free markets – ideally, everyone getting into the market has an equal position, without taxes or monopolies -, he does not expect such markets to exist anytime soon, even given the efforts and hard work by many civil society organizations in reigning in dominant market actors.

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00:20:15 / 39 MB / Ogg
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Anriette Esterhuysen

For Anriette Esterhuysen (South Africa) of the APC network, development critique tends to forget the practitioners, who are marginalised by theoretical discourses simply because they don’t hear and speak them. Naive critiques of private sector involvement in development fail to acknowledge that markets are necessarily part of the solution.

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00:09:11 / 21 MB / Ogg
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Steve Cisler

Through examples from his 8-month, 30,000 km offline travels, Steve Cisler (USA) reflects on whether or not there really is a need for the kinds of information technologies he used to promote as an Apple researcher and IT consultant. Reporting on his encounters, he raises a number of questions regarding ICT4D approaches, including the allocation of development resources, the emphasis on different kinds of literacy, the need to write grant applications that are ‘buzzword compliant’, and the total-cost-of-ownership model as an alternative and more comprehensive approach to project evaluation.

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00:17:30 / 31 MB / Ogg
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Felipe Fonseca

Felipe Fonseca (Brasil), free software activist and consultant to the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, discusses the strategic use of free software by the Brazilian government, the tension between governmental FOSS adoption as a cost-cutting measure and the need for a broader debate about software development. Fonseca advocates a broader definition of digital inclusion beyond access, including the creative re-appropriation (rather than mere use) of these technologies and their possibilities.

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00:13:40 / 24 MB / Ogg
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Michael Gurstein

ICT consultant Michael Gurstein (Canada) compares the use of civil society in developing and developed countries. He discusses its involvement in the WSIS process and advocates the need to strengthen citizen involvement rather than ‘civil society’. Furthermore, Gurstein suggests possible uses of the idea of digital orientalism in the digital divide debate.

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00:05:58 / 13 MB / Ogg Theora
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Ednah Karamagi

Ednah Karamagi (Uganda) stresses the importance of including the rural population in development projects. Otherwise, the divide between the rural and the urban will simply increase. NGOs play an important role in Uganda, because they succeed in reaching out to local grassroots organisations. ICTs should be considered in terms of technologies rather than just machines, including the use of community radio in local languages, or using technologies for music, dance and drama.

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00:10:31 / 34 MB / Ogg
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Thomas Keenan

Thomas Keenan (USA) points out that the human rights movement is very sensitive to the criticism. Critics therefore are often regarded as being in support of the wrong actors, and betraying its ideals. Keenan considers the notion of ‘global civil society’ to be a very tricky term, since its dynamic is strongly related to global media platforms (satellite tv, internet etc). There is a certain actuality to global civil society that needs to be criticized, acknowledging the danger that it is being enlisted as the front actor of a borderless market world. To understand and recognise what is left out, global civil society needs to reshape itself. And while market forces should certainly not be underestimated, it also does not make sense to think of markets only in antagonistic terms.

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00:11:33 / 25 MB / Ogg
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Muthoni Dorcas

Muthoni Dorcas (Kenya) is the co-founder of LinuxChix Africa, an initiative that facilitates the active participation of African women in the FOSS (free and open source software) movement across this region. She considers free software an affordable way for people to develop software for local markets. Refusing to talk about Africa as ‘poor’, Dorcas rather thinks of it as a continent under-utilizing its manifold resources.

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00:04:26 / 8 MB / Ogg Theora
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Monica Narula

Monica Narula (Delhi) talks about the ‘listening project’ she did with Raqs Media Collective. Sometimes you have to listen beyond the words, and an event like Incommunicado 05 means being attentive to one another. At Sarai, Narula works with the broadsheet collective, with which she publishes a broadsheet, a poster/factsheet/newspaper. Narula recognises that the contemporary vision of the world is thoroughly mapped, difficult to break down, and while the north-south metaphor has been useful, it will limit our view if we cling to it.

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0:08:54 / 20 MB / Ogg Theora
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