Information and Communication Technologies Policies
Source: APC
The term ‘e-strategies’ has gained widespread use over the last few years in the debates on the role of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for development, following the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000. This paper explores its meaning in the framework of the WSIS I outcomes. PDF file. [see more]
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From APC book "ICT Policy: A Beginner's Handbook"

Although policies are formally put in place by governments, different stakeholders and in particular the private sector make inputs into the policy process and affect its outcomes. Thus, for example, in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an intergovernmental body for governments to coordinate rules and regulations in the field of telecommunications, the influence of multinationals has grown enormously. Privatisation of state-owned companies has meant that governments can rarely control telecommunications directly. The privatised telecom companies, often partly controlled by foreign shareholders, look after their own interests. In the context of globalised markets, large and rich corporations are often more powerful than developing countries’ governments, allowing them to shape the policy-making process.

Two sets of issues in ICT policy are critical to civil society at the moment: access and civil liberties. Access has to do with making it possible for everyone to use the internet and other media. In countries where only a minority have telephones, ensuring affordable access to the internet is a huge challenge. Much of the response would lie in social solutions such as community or public access centres. In richer countries, basic access to internet is available almost to all, and faster broadband connections are fairly widespread. Access to traditional media is now a key concern, as new technologies make community video, radio and television more feasible than before.

The other set of issues, civil liberties, includes human rights such as freedom of expression, the right to privacy, the right to communicate, intellectual property rights, etc. These rights as applied to broadcast media have been threatened in many countries, and now the internet, which began as a space of freedom, is also threatened by government legislation and emerging restrictions. Some of the most blatant attacks on freedom of expression come from developing countries such as China and Vietnam, but even in countries which have a long tradition of freedom of expression, such as the USA, there are new attempts to restrict internet users’ privacy and to limit their right to choose. At the same time, restrictions that are intended to limit media monopolies are being weakened and pushed aside.

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ICT policies resources

Multi-stakeholder participation and ICT policy processes (APC)

The centrality of e-strategies in the WSIS Plan of Action (APC)

Involving Civil Society in ICT Policy: the World Summit on the Information Society (APC)

ICT Policy for Civil Society: Training Curriculum (APC)

APC ICT Policy Monitors (APC)

ICT Policy: A Beginner's Handbook (APC)

Bridges Policy resources

UN agencies involved in ICT policies

UN Information and Communication Technologies Task Force

UN Economic Commision for Africa (ECA): Information Policy Development and Implementation

UN Economic and Social Commision for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP): ICT Policy Section

UNESCO Information and Communication Sector

ITU Strategy and Policy Unit

World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF)

Documents and reports

The Beijing Platform for Action meets the World Summit on the information society (NGO GSWG)

Tools for development: using ICTs to achieve the MDGs

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