Meeting on counter- and side-activities for the WSIS summit
  "Another Information Society is Possible!"
  Geneva, 6 April 2003. Media activists and representatives from a large number of various European non-governmental organisations, activist groups and media projects met in Geneva on 5 and 6 April to plan activities around the WSIS summit in December. The participants decided to organise several different events which are to compose a network of alternative events.

Many of the participants are involved in European Indymedia groups and are therefore highly experienced in media work regarding international summits as well as the protests often triggered by them. However, major protests against the WSIS are not likely at the present stage as the summit hardly offers any concrete targets. The government negotiations are dragging on without arriving at clear conclusions, and according to many observers they are characterised by a lack of interest and motivation by governments, the summit has so far failed to come up with concrete positions, and it is not likely to decide on a binding programme.

Many of the media activists present at the meeting saw this background as a welcome opportunity to organise own events as a clear contrast to the summit, offering a far more interesting, concrete and competent platform than the official WSIS.

On the weekend before the WSIS, an alternative conference shall discuss themes such as infowar, links between freedom of information and freedom of movement, and global governance. It is to offer a platform on which political and media activists, artists and cultural workers can meet and share experiences, and where - in the words of one participant - "the anti-globalisation movement meets the tactical media movement".

Following this conference and continuing through the days of the WSIS, a "media lab" will develop and highlight alternative communication structures. Radio and TV channels - terrestrial, satellite and web-based - are being planned, as well as an interface to the outside world through interactive workshops with participants from other regions who won't be able to be present in Geneva. In accordance with Indymedia experiences or the Hub project, all this is to be done without vast financial resources or hierarchical organisational structures, solely based on the participants' skills and commitment, and illustrating alternative approaches to communication.

These events will be coordinated with the Communications Rights Summit which is currently being planned by the CRIS network. This summit is conceived rather as an alternative side-event than a direct countersummit and shall discuss and criticise issues such as media concentration and intellectual property rights. The summit will not exclusively involve activist groups and NGOs but also progressive international organisations and possibly governments. It will also serve as a connection to the official WSIS.

The network of alternative events, as envisioned at the Geneva meeting, will be further developed on mailing lists and additional meetings, for example during the G8 protests in early June.

For more information check

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