Wednesday, October 31, 2007

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A Weekly Report for Executives on International ICT Policies, Negotiations,
Regulations, Standardization, Judicial News and Trade Laws


ICT POLICY REPORT: International is a weekly report for executives on regulation, spectrum, policy, standards, judicial news and trade laws affecting information and communication technology (ICT).

Technology advances are merging ICT, public policy and regulation at an unprecedented rate.  Global convergence of technology is rewriting the rules. 

We cover IP (Internet protocol) networks, intellectual property, communications, broadcast, telecom, NGN, convergence, judicial news and trade laws with a focus on the intersection of regulation, standards and policy at the international level. 

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

GHAJICT Executive Member Says "Form Ghana ICT Watch Group"


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


By Mawutodzi K. Abissath [Executive member of GHAJICT-Ed]

Wisdom of African ancestors is reflected in this proverb which warns: “If you rear a baby snake, it will grow up and bite you to death.”

In October last year, I wrote an article titled: “African ICT Gurus, where are you?” As matter of fact, my only motive for writing that article was to throw some kind of challenge to ICT experts on our beloved continent to stimulate them to come together to use their expertise to help combat poverty in Africa through ICT.

I cited some countries, especially India to illustrate my vision. My visualization of combined efforts of Africa ICT gurus could transform poverty stricken souls of th continent into robust feeding hands of the globe. Unfortunately it appeared I could not translate my thoughts into words properly so there was some sort of mistaken conception.


Undoubtedly, my readers know by now that I am not an IT expert myself and I never pretended to be one. I am a humble ordinary journalist only interested in the subject matter of information technology. So, in the said article (see Daily Graphic of Friday 30th October 2004) I innocently picked out Bill Gates of America as my global ICT role model and praised him to the blue heaven. The reason was that, for what I read about him on the Internet, he was someone whose formal education never went beyond first year university. Yet, his foresight, vision, ingenuity and creativity had made him one of the richest human beings through ICT on this planet (of understanding). I thought Ghanaian JSS dropouts must know this fact.


In fact I had observed in that article that if Bill Gates had been a Ghanaian or an African, he would have been referred to as a “DROPOUT”. Funny enough, one of the people who reacted to my article stated that “Bill Gates is not even an ICT expert”. That was a typical demonstration of the other side of African mentality. We almost always apply our ingenuity in a rather negative direction. That is why instead of our so-called “witches” and “wizards” engaging in inventions like some Black Americans, who are reported to have achieved in the past, they use their “thing” to destroy souls.

As you know, at the very moment Ghana was basking in global glory for having successfully hosted a World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in first week of February in Accra, news flashed across the globe that our beloved country has been banned from Internet Shopping because some people who have good knowledge of ICT have been applying their skills for fraudulent and negative purposes in their selfish interest without any consideration of the consequences to mother Ghana.


The objective of this piece is to attempt to put across some layman’s suggestions for the consideration of the experts. In the first place, it is reassuring that the Government of Ghana is not sleeping over the issue at stake at all. Investigations have proved that since the news about the ban became public a week ago or so, the national security agencies have put their strategies into high gear to arrest the situation. It does not speak well of Ghana at all that such negative news from Africa should emanate from our mother land.


While the security personnel are doing their own thing, it is suggested that ordinary citizens who make use of ICT, particularly Internet users should come up with some ideas or views or suggestions as to how the nation can combat cyber crimes in the way Ghana police are dealing with armed robbery with dispatch. God bless them! Ghanaian ICT gurus and other stakeholders of the industry must not sit on the fence at all. If they are not part of the problem then they must be part of the solution. ICT experts must be the first to identify the crooks among them and flush them out before the entire industry is taken to the dogs.

My layman’s suggestion is that all ICT gurus in Ghana, no matter their fields of specialty, that is, whether they are in networking, web designing , software development or hardware technicians, they must come together to form a body solely devoted to combating cyber crimes in the country. This body may be known and called Ghana ICT Watch-Dog Committee or simply Ghana ICT Watch Group. The main function of the Group will be the monitoring of ICT activities in the country, especially cyber café operators.


When the Committee is formed, it may elect its own officers and adopt the most suitable mode of operations. Right now most cyber cafes are supposed to be located only in cities, especially in Accra and Kumasi and perhaps the other regional capitals.

As Government is making tremendous efforts to extend and expand ICT facilities to all the districts and every nook and cranny of the nation, we should not be myopic in our approach. ICT gurus should indulge in strategic thinking for the next 20 years and beyond of ICT in Ghana. If only a few dubious characters in some corners in Accra or Kumasi can cause this havoc to the technological image of Ghana now, then one can imagine what will happen if cyber cafes spread like the Video Theatres in the country.


Ghanaian ICT gurus must not wait until Ghana is entirely banished from the web before engaging in blame games. They must take note of this African proverb which says that: “If you see a stick approaching your eye, you don’t wait for the eye to be pricked before you break the stick.” This is my layman’s view. Any concerned citizen with any idea should e-mail it to me and I will put it across.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007









UNITED NATIONS, 10 September 2007 – Representatives of government, the private sector, nongovernmental

organizations, the Internet community and the media will converge in Rio de Janeiro for the

second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, to be held from 12 to 15 November.


The conference, to be held at Windsor Barra Hotel, will focus on the overall issue of “Internet Governance

for Development”. Five main themes will be addressed – access, diversity, openness, security and critical

Internet resources.


Some 2,000 participants from more than 100 countries are expected to attend. In addition to plenary

sessions, there will be open meetings and thematic workshops to discuss specific issues and share best



The Internet Governance Forum is not a decision-making body, but a space for dialogue for all those

involved to discuss Internet governance issues. There will be no negotiated outcome, but the meeting will

seek to create a dialogue among all participants on public policy issues relating to the Internet and create

new dynamics between participating institutions.


The first Forum meeting in Athens last November saw the creation of a number of “Dynamic Coalitions” of

participants from governments, the private sector and civil society to address issues such as open

standards, spam, access, freedom of expression, privacy, digital identity and a proposed “Internet Bill of

Rights”. The meeting in Rio de Janeiro will allow members of these coalitions to collaborate further on

common concerns.


Hadil da Rocha Vianna, Director for Scientific and Technological Affairs in Brazil’s Ministry of External

Relations, has been appointed co-chair of the Advisory Group for the Internet Governance Forum, which

will assist in preparing for the Rio de Janeiro meeting. The other co-chair is Nitin Desai, the United

Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Internet Governance.


The 47 members of the Advisory Group, who serve in their personal capacity, come from government, the

private sector and civil society, including the academic and technical communities, representing all

regions (see list of members at


A round of open consultations held in Geneva in May showed broad support for keeping the four themes

discussed in Athens – access, diversity, openness and security – and for adding the theme of critical

Internet resources. Participants agreed that the Rio de Janeiro Forum should retain the overall theme of

“Internet Governance for Development”.


The main themes to be discussed cover the gamut of the functioning of the Internet. The theme of access

includes infrastructure, connectivity and the role of government and the private sector to improve access

by all. Issues of diversity and openness cover promoting local content, cultural diversity and the number

of languages used on the Internet.


Security means among other things cyber-security, the safety of the Internet and the fight against

cybercrime. “Critical Internet resources” covers issues relating to infrastructure and the management of

key Internet resources, including administration of the domain name system and Internet protocol (IP)

addresses, administration of the root server system, technical standards, peering and interconnection,

and telecommunications infrastructure.


The Forum will hold its 2008 session in India and its 2009 session in Egypt.


Journalists interested in attending the Forum should register at

For further information, please visit and


In Rio de Janeiro,

Valeria Schilling at the United Nations Information Centre,

Tel. 21 2253 2211,

In Geneva,

Rolando Gomez at the United Nations Information Service,

+41 (0)22 917 23 26,

In New York, Edoardo Bellando at the United Nations Department of Public Information,

Tel. 1-212-963-8275,


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fwd: Centerpieces - An Online Glossary: Learn the Words of the Web

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Date: 17 Oct 2007 18:01
Subject: Centerpieces - An Online Glossary: Learn the Words of the Web

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Is the concept of a "mashup" turning your brain to mush? Does the idea of "crowdsourcing" leave you feeling ... lonely?

A new feature of Poynter Online, WebSpeak, will help you get comfortable with the rapidly evolving lingo of online journalism.

Every few days, Staff Development Editor Dana Eagles and Online Producer Danny Sanchez of the Orlando Sentinel will explain one of those buzzwords you've been hearing, and the items will be compiled to form a growing glossary of online journalism. Before you know it, you'll be able to speak Web.

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Improving the quality of journalism using web 2.0 – a practical training workshop

Improving the quality of journalism using web 2.0 – a practical training workshop
10th to 11th October 2007
Accra International Press Centre

1.Video Blogging Prince Deh
2. Wikis for the newsroom by  Kwami Ahiabenu,II
4. Writing, Editing and Publishing online made easy for journalists using blogs Emmanuel K Bensah II
5. Introduction to ICT Journalism  by Kwami Ahiabenu,II
6. Blogs by Kwami Ahiabenu,II
7. Podcasting by Kwami Ahiabenu,II
8. Pictures
9. Press Release
10. speeches

Empowering Media With New Skills

Empowering Media With New Skills

Highway Africa News Agency (Grahamstown)

16 October 2007
Posted to the web 16 October 2007

By Emily Nyarko

About 20 editors and senior journalists in Ghana have undergone training in web 2.0 publishing and distribution technique as part of the drive to equip journalists with ICT skills to improve the journalism profession in the country.

The journalists drawn from different media houses were taken through the various aspects of the social network tool Web 2.0 at a two-day workshop facilitated by the International Institute of Journalism (PENPLUSBYTES) in partnership with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the French Embassy.

Mrs. Francine Meyer, deputy head of the French mission at the French Embassy, expressed the commitment of her government to equip the Ghana International Press Centre with modern equipment to help journalists in the country to further develop their skills.

"The process of empowering the media with new skills is very important because the media play a crucial role in developing informed citizenry," she said. Over the years the French government had remained committed in the training of Ghanaian journalists especially in the area of ICTs. In 2005, journalists from selected media institutions were trained in on-line journalism and in 2006 another training programme was organized for a group of journalists out of which evolved a network known as the Ghana Association of Journalists in ICTs. The workshop organized on the theme; "Improving the quality of journalism using Web 2.0" was also organized on the premises that most journalists in the country lacked the requisite skills to apply basic ICTs in their work.

Major media institutions currently have ICT facilities but lack of knowledge in the basic uses has rendered the facilities idle with some journalists giving constant excuses that their offices lacked ICT equipment.

Mr. Ransford Tetteh, President of the GJA, welcomed the workshop and said it offered participants to learn more about the powerful tools of ICTs, including editing and publishing on-line.

He expressed the hope that the workshop would help spread the use of ICsT and make it an important feature and function of the Ghanaian media.

Mr. Frank Agyekum, Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation (MINO) said it was important for the developing world to bridge the widening ICT gap between the developed and the developing world.

He however warned that whilst making efforts to learn and apply ICT tools such as web 2.0, journalists should guard against using web content posted by quacks who paraded as journalists.

Kwami Ahiabenu II, President of PENPLUSBYTES said there was a growing need for training journalists in ICTs for them to become more functional in the evolving information age.

Ghana : On-Line Journalism Workshop Opens AT Koforidua

On 17/10/2007, International Institute for ICTJournalism (Penplusbytes) <> wrote:
Ghana : On-Line Journalism Workshop Opens AT Koforidua
A two- week workshop in on-line journalism for information officers of Information Services Department was opened yesterday at the Koforidua Polytechnic in the Eastern Region.

The workshop is being organised by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation (MINO) in collaboration with the UNDP.  It brought together forty information officers from the ten regions of the country.

The opening ceremony was performed by the Chief Director of MINO Mr A.A. Ampong. In his speech he stressed on the importance of ICTs and the Internet in the managing, packaging and the dissemination of information.

He was of the view that if journalists in the country would incorporate ICT tools in their profession, it would go a long way to assist the timely dissemination of important information and hence curtail conflict that arises due to lack of information and misinformation.

He indicated that the training was a Train  the - Trainer programme and since by 1st November 2007 new recruits will come into the system, participants will be expected to impart the skill and knowledge acquired to the new entrants.

Mr A.A Ampong therefore urged participants to take their training seriously.

In his welcome address, the co-ordinator of the programme, Mr Alphonse Doe Koblavie(Head of IT, ISD) observed that the information officers will work more effectively and efficiently if they upgrade their skills and knowledge in modern trends of mass communication using ICTs
visit our website at our blog is located at --- --You are currently subscribed to penplusbytes as: --To unsubscribe send a blank email to Penplusbytes online list is hosted on Dgroups- a joint initiative of Bellanet, DFID, Hivos, ICA, IICD, OneWorld, UNAIDS

Friday, October 12, 2007

Towards inclusive knowledge societies


Towards inclusive knowledge societies

2007 - number 8

Over the coming two years, UNESCO is committed to continue working for freedom of expression and press freedom and to promoting the use of the information and communication technologies to foster inclusive knowledge societies that empower individuals and communities.

"Contributing to the construction of inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication," is how UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information (ADG/CI), Abdul Waheed Khan encapsulates the objectives of his sector for the coming biennium.

This echoes objectives established by World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which UNESCO helped organize in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005. UNESCO remains active in the WSIS process, destined to build people-centered information societies that are mindful of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and, of the basic human right of freedom of expression.

That strategy focuses on fostering free, independent and pluralistic communication and universal access to information. This is essential for the strengthening of participatory democracy and for the struggle against poverty, as communication and information play a central role in development. However, in many parts of the world, the media need to be reinforced so as to contribute to the international development drive, says Mr Khan.

Media development has long been at the centre of CI's work, notably through programmes such as the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) which, over the last 27 years, has raised some US$ 93 million for over 1,100 projects in 139 developing countries and countries in transition. IPDC is the only forum in the United Nations to discuss and promote free and independent media in developing countries and countries in transition.

The CI sector is also committed to continue serving as a watchdog for freedom of expression around the world, an area in which UNESCO plays a leading role, reminding Member States of their obligation to respect this fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and recognized by the WSIS.

Creating resources

"Creating the resources in Member States for them to develop free and independent media is our bread and butter," says Mr Khan, recalling that universal access to knowledge depends on adequate communication and information infrastructures.

"At stake is the empowerment of individuals and communities", says Mr Khan, who recalls that the link between empowerment and knowledge is becoming ever stronger. It is therefore not surprising that another major objective for CI, is to support UNESCO in working towards fulfilling the ambitious goals of the Education For All (EFA) drive adopted by the international community in Dakar in 2000. EFA concerns overall improvements in the provision of quality basic education and life skills to all and achieving gender parity in education by 2015.

The multiplier effect

Mr Khan explains that the information and communication technologies (ICTs) can have a "multiplier effect," contributing to the education of learners and the training of teachers. "Likewise, CI works to ensure that the multiplier effect of ICTs benefits UNESCO's promotion of cultural diversity and dissemination of scientific knowledge." Thus, argues Mr Khan, CI is the leader when it comes to cooperation between UNESCO's sectors.

In addition, the ADG recalls that ICTs not only help generate and disseminate knowledge but are also important for the preservation of knowledge. Programmes such as Memory of the World serve to preserve and disseminate the heritage of documentary material and archives. Thus, through ICTs, UNESCO's Communication and Information sector has become involved in the preservation of knowledge, including indigenous knowledge, and in cultural heritage.

The new technologies have operated a deep change in the flow of information and its sharing. Mr Khan strongly believes that UNESCO must play its role in bridging the knowledge gap to ensure that this multidirectional flow of information and knowledge does not pass by those who are less privileged. With programmes such as the Community Multimedia Centres, and a wide range of partners including some of the world's leading private sector companies and NGOs, as well as networks such as the new Power of Peace Network, Mr Khan is convinced that UNESCO can contribute to world peace and development.

    Author(s): By Roni Amelan (UNESCO) -  Publication Date: 24-09-2007

    © UNESCO 1995-2007 - ID: 39551

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    Blogging: The Ghanaian journalist's experience

    Home page > ICT NEWS > Media

    Blogging: The Ghanaian journalist's experience

    There are few bloggers in Ghana, including some few committed journalists who are proud to flaunt their newly acquired competence in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) publicly.

    They comprise Emmanuel Bensah, a web journalist with the Third World Network, Isaac Tetteh of Radio Gold, Enoch Darfoh Frimpong of the Daily Graphic and Rayborn Bulley of Radio Ghana.
    Mr Bensah is currently the acting President of the Ghana Association of Journalists in ICT who seizes every opportunity to promote blogging.

    His blogs, which goes by the addresses: and
    The first blog seeks to chronicle his trials and tribulations (perspectives, queries, worries) of living and working in Ghana, with a very critical and irreverent analysis of life in Ghana whilst the other looks at general issues affecting his life, but which cuts across EVERY INDIVIDUAL, with some slant that goes for someone who's come back to his home country after years, and is both reflecting and reminiscing about the trajectory of his life. He also has links and side issues on WSIS and ICTs in general and has five other blogs to his credit.

    Mr Bensah is among just about 10 journalists in Ghana with knowledge about blogging.
    Some veteran journalists have attributed the lack of interest in blogging to the fact that bloggers in certain countries have been arrested sanctioned or sacked from their work places for publishing articles deemed to be unethical or harmful for public consumption.
    Such incidents abound in some Arab countries but experts dismiss it as too remote to take away the benefits and uses of blogging.

    An executive of penplusbytes, an international institute for ICT journalism based in Ghana, Kwame Ahiabenu II, has blamed the lacklustre attitude of Ghanaian journalists to blogging on what he called practical challenges such as the lack of skills, access to ICT facilities and time constraint.

    All the 10 regional capitals and some districts have Internet facilities, yet a number of journalists lack the basic skills to take advantage of the service.
    A recent survey undertaken by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) with membership of more than 500 revealed that less than 20 per cent of Ghanaian journalists have ICT skills. The skill to blog is therefore a remote venture.
    Steadfastly penplusbytes has carried on with its objective to create awareness on ICTs among journalists and had on several occasions published articles on blogs to educate journalists in Ghana and in the West African sub-region.

    Despite these efforts, journalists in Ghana still find it difficult to create and manage blogs. Interestingly most of the journalists who go through training on blogging end up forgetting the processes involved. One of such training sessions was organised in April 2006 for 20 journalists.
    Only three of the journalists who benefited from the training session including Mr Bensah are active bloggers.
    The French Embassy in collaboration with the GJA also organised a workshop for journalists in 2005 but the tutorials for blogging was in French which made it difficult for the participants in the Anglophone West African country to grab the techniques.

    In the face of the numerous challenges inhibiting the Ghanaian journalist from blogging, Ahiabenu believes there can be a way out.
    He is of the view that journalists can seek dialogue with their workplace management to facilitate access for blogging.

    Ahiabenu says the local Ghana Association of Journalists on ICT (GHAJICT) can collaborate with the umbrella association-the GJA, to design guidelines that would protect journalists from interferences that could occur when they seek to give their opinion through blogs.
    Journalists in most countries already have certain privileges that protect them in the performance of their duties and to Ahiabenu Ghana could emulate the example. There is a test case of a group by the name 'media bloggers' who are seeking to be granted the same privileges and protection as journalists in the United States.

    Ahiabenu says the benefits of blogging far outweigh the reasons for non-blogging.
    According to a web definition, a blog in simple terms is a web site, where one can write on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, to enable visitors to read what is new for their comment through e-mail.
    Since blogging was launched almost five years ago, it has helped to reshape the web, impacted on politics, shaken up journalism, and enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect with others.
    Blogs are easy to create and have been identified as the convenient way to publish anything at all for a wider public through the Internet. In most cases, search engines give results on topics from blogs.

    Journalists in Nigeria are reported to be far ahead in blogging within the West African sub-region even though Ghana is more advanced in the establishment of ICT infrastructure with teledensity penetration of both rural and urban communities reaching 25 per cent at the end of 2006.
    Ghanaian journalists have been slow in catching up with the use of blogs and according to Ahiabenu the percentage of bloggers is at about one to two per cent.

    Penplusbytes is inculcating the culture of blogging among Ghanaian journalists and to Ahiabenu journalists can allow the process to thrive by asking their editors to edit their stories in order to ensure that there are no excesses that would bring about sanctions from higher authorities.
    In addition there should be guidelines on blogging and the engagement of managers to facilitate the acquisition of ICT facilities.

    Author : Emily Nyarko

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