December 10, 2003

U.N. tech summit split on press freedom

from the Boston Herald business section comes an article on the UN conference. A wonderful quote from Bobby Mugabe. This is the guy who turned his country (Zimbabwe) from a food exporting jewel of Africa to a food importing cesspit... The topic was press freedom on the Internet. From the article: bq. GENEVA - Leaders from more than 50 countries Wednesday launched a summit to "bridge the digital divide" and expand use of the Internet to poor countries, but a split quickly emerged over whether news media should be free or restricted. Mugabe's comment was: bq. Calls for a free press are a smoke screen, said President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. bq. "Beneath the rhetoric of free press and transparency is the inequity of hegemony," said Mugabe, who is listed by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders as one of the world's "predators of press freedom." bq. Mugabe, who came to Geneva soon after pulling out of the Commonwealth because the bloc extended his nation's 18-month suspension, was combative. "The rich, imperious and digital north remains on the one end of the development divide," he said. "The poor, disempowered, underdeveloped south remains on the other end of that divide." Gee Bobby, maybe if you put some of Zimbabwe's money back into the infrastructure (like the previous government did), it wouldn't be such a hell-hole these days... One of his friends showed up too: bq. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, also on the Reporters Without Borders list, focused on his goals to provide all Rwandans with access to the Internet. "We plan to transform Rwanda into a technological hub," Kagame said and appealed for help from "our development partners." Rwanda is such a fun place to live now. Let me get you straight, you depleted your countries resources, fomented civil war and now you want the well-run countries to bail your ass out... Technology is fine adn good but unless you put some effort into educating your people, the technology will always be an imported trinket - something to show off at the next UN meeting... The article closes with a nod towards ICANN by saying: bq. Key decisions on the way the Internet works, such as domain names and addresses, now reside in a private agency spun off from the U.S. government - and the United States wants to keep it that way. bq. China, South Africa, India and Brazil - the main proponents of wresting control of the Internet from the United States - have offered only vague blueprints for an alternative. (emphasis mine) Yeah - no s*it... Posted by DaveH at December 10, 2003 9:15 PM