Monday, September 28, 2009

Meanings, global governance, and WSIS

In this week’s texts the theme was global governance, the first thing the author’s tell us is that it doesn’t necessarily mean the government is involved. Although, as Siochrú and Girard mention in their reading, global governance has developed into the responsibility of intergovernmental agencies, this has changed with the increasing amount of private and nongovernmental organizations that have become involved in these structures. One of these global governance structures that Marc Raboy describes in his article is the WSIS.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) concentrates on issues in global communication governance. The creation of the WSIS gives civil society a chance to express their points of view on the communication and information societies and debate with the intergovernmental international institutions that usually regulate and make the decisions on important issues. It is the first time a United Nation’s organization gives an opportunity to the civil society of participating in official conferences and meetings. Although the civil society did not have many accomplishments in the WSIS, creating the Civil Society Bureau and producing the Civil Society Declaration were two big general events and simply having a voice and being taken into consideration were important steps for these types of organizations. Also through the Civil Society Bureau they developed a very organized networks and frames of communication to keep in touch and up to date.

One of the things I found interesting in this reading is the organizations cannot come to a consensus of the meanings of some of the new terminologies that are emerging, such as: governance and the right to communicate. People and organizations have very different points of view as to what these terms should mean. For example, governance, the World Bank gives it a very antiquated, hierarchical definition and the United Nations Development Programme thinks of it as a very dynamic process which includes actors that are not necessarily governments or international institutions. Another example is ‘the right to communicate’, which was not included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because of a lack of compromise about what it entailed exactly. Some thought it included “universal access to all telecommunications” and others thought it to be all the rights that are associated with communication and new ones that will have to be created due to the emergence of new technologies and changes in communication contexts.

As we have seen, different organizations give new terminologies different definitions, depending on their point of view. Governance does not of a single meaning that everyone can agree upon, all that we know is that it includes actors that do not belong to any government.

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