(No.133) Local Content Production and Dissemination as a Driver of Access

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Workshop Theme: 
Access and Diversity
Theme Question: 

How is the creation of local content that expands and deepens the pool of knowledge all of us share on the www/internet a driver of access?

Concise Description of Workshop: 

Access to the global internet has evolved quickly. With the arrival of broadband to developing Countries; undersea fiber cable landing on the shore, fiber links connecting the cities, fiber loops circling the suburbs, and broadband wireless enveloping the rural areas, the issues of access and adoption begin to be discussed in earnest and the focus turns to potential drivers of access. With billions of new people connecting to the internet armed with new devices such as smart phones, smart tablets, laptops, and the arrival of inexpensive light weight digital video cameras and similar divices individuals are able to create content as never before. Our workshop will discuss one potential driver of access, the local production and distribution of content. We will raise the question; can this be a value proposition for adoption? To help us answer the question we will have as panel discussants officials with direct experiences and expertise in the production and dissemination of content, both local and global; from advertising content for local businesses to capturing home team sporting events, local and regional music and dance, academic content and instruction from the community schools and Universities, content from local government, content from "citizen reporters" who are often paid for their work, content from aid and civic groups, the explosive social networking content on Facebook and videos on YouTube to full length feature film production. Empowering individuals and their local communities to add content to the global pool benefits everyone. As we have witnessed, it also has the power to "level the playing field" allowing individuals to inform the world about human rights abuses and brutal oppression.It is abundantly clear that locally produced content both informs and enriches mankind. In addition to the experts we will have on the panel we will provide ample time for interaction with the audience both in the room and participating remotely.
November 9th, 11:00AM to 12:30PM
(Agenda for Panelists)
Welcoming remarks: Vlada Radunovic, DiploFoundation  (Moderator) (2 minutes)
Setting the Stage: Ambassador Philip Verveer, U.S. State Department (5 minutes)   
Each speaker having 5 minutes for main part, citing in- the-field working case examples  in a four part forum. We will have enough time for audience questions. This should be informative and interactive.
Theme Question:
How is the creation of local content that expands and deepens the pool of knowledge all of us share on the internet a key driver of access?
Opening…Audience Question and Survey: What tools do you use to create and disseminate content? [8min]                                            
Part 1:  Tools for Content Production in the developing world-examples [15min]

  • Subi Chaturvedi, as an Asst. Professor of Journalism, Filmaking and Photography at a women's college in India she will focus on empowing her young women students by using new digital technology to create their own content and distribute it over the internet...
  • Dejan Cvetkovic, will focus on cloud an open data examples for local content production
  • Audience participation

Part 2: Connectivity – examples [20min]

  • Kristin Peterson, on connecting community centers and schools in Uganda…Africa
  • Bevil Wooding,  Caribbean connectivity build-out
  • Audience participation

Part 3:  Creative Production Tools and Distribution-examples [15 minutes]

  • Thomas Spiller, examples… Creative Tools used by studios that anyone can use…and global distribution reach
  • Audience participation

Part 4: Government Perspective-discussion [15min]

  • Mark Carvell, UK Minister
  • Imad Hoballah, Lebanon/ Middle East
  • Audience participation

Conclusion [10min]
Virginia Paque, DiploFoundation, Remote Moderator
Kristin Peterson, Rapporteur

Organiser(s) Name: 

Garland McCoy, Technology Education Institute, NGO (US) (confirmed)
Vladimir Radunovic, DiploFoundation, (Serbia) NGO (Moderator) (confirmed)
Virginia Paque-DiploFoundation (Venezuela) (Remote Moderator) (confirmed)
Kristin Peterson, inveneo, NGO, (US) (Rapporteur) (confirmed)

Submitted Workshop Panelists: 

Ambassador Philip Verveer, US State Department (Government) (Confirmed)
Mark Carvell, UK Government, Culture, Commons and Creative Industires (Government) (Confirmed)
Thomas Spiller, The Disney Company, (Confirmed)
Subi Chaturvedi, Asst. Professor Journalism filmmaker photographer curator (Confirmed)
Dr. Imad Hoballah, Academic, (Lebanon) (Confirmed)
Bevil Wooding, NGO, (Trinidad) (Confirmed)
Dejan Cvetkovic, Microsoft, (Central and East Europe) (Confirmed)
Kristin Peterson, inveneo, NGO, (Confirmed)
Virginia Paque-DiploFoundation (Venezuela) (Remote Moderator) (Confirmed)
Vladimir Radunovic, DiploFoundation (Serbia) (Moderator) (Confirmed)
 Kristin Peterson, inveneo (US) (Rapporteur) (Confirmed)

Name of Remote Moderator(s): 
Virginia Paque-DiploFoundation (Venezuela) (Remote Moderator) (confirmed)
Gender Report Card
Please estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session: 
About half of the participants were women
To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment?: 
It was mentioned briefly in the presentations and discussions
Please include any comments or recommendations you have on how to improve the inclusion of issues related to gender equality and: 

Our workshop had two women panel speakers;  Subi Chaturvedi, an Associate Professor of Journalism, Filmmaker, Photographer at an all women College in India spoke of the empowering nature new technologies have made in the creation of local content for women and how the internet is enabling the content to be distributed widely, the second women speaker was Kristin Peterson, CEO and Founder of inveneo, a non-profit dedicated to "connecting those who need it most" she discussed the work her organization is doing in Uganda to connect, educate and orgainize farmers many of whom are women.   

Reported by: 
Garland McCoy, Technology Eduation Institute
A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were raised: 

Workshop #133
“Local Content Production and Dissemination as a Driver of Access”
November 9, 2012
Vlada Radunovic from DiploFoundation was the moderator and introduced the topic by pointing out the huge amount of content that is uploaded onto the internet (YouTube for example) every hour of every day and how more and more people are becoming reporters and creating content, empowered by new digital technologies like smart phones that are connected to the internet. He told the audience that what we hoped to do in this workshop was to highlight some real examples of the production of local content and how this content is impacting all of us in a positive way.
Vlada introduced U.S. Ambassador Phil Vereer who spoke to the fact that we are looking at the world differently now, from the standpoint of access. How do people use the internet, interact with it? He addressed the need to have content available in appropriate languages and to continue to work to get communities involved in interacting with the internet where it is available but where there are low take up rates. The need to reduce costs, increase availability and languages and continue to work to get all communities engaged in the internet ecosystem.
Before Vlada went to the next panel speaker he engaged the audience by asking them how they used the internet; for entertainment, for education, for research, for expression and communication, for access to information. This line of questioning brought Vlada to the first panel speaker, Subi Chaturvedi who as an Assistant Professor Journalism, Filmmaker, Photographer and Curator at a College for Women in India was able to give excellent examples of both the need to have the internet be adaptive to new languages; there are 173 languages in India, over 18 of which are recognized, and over 563 dialects, as well as addressing how new digital technologies are empowering her female students to create content and to take there disciplines back to their communities to empower other. She discussed (thesaltlist.org) platform she put together for use by her young students and others to articulate issues and for community video volunteers to use for posting their material all with an eye towards the inclusion of young people and women in communities to give them a voice. So (thesaltlist.org) looks at issues locals care about.  She also touched on the use of content to address the literacy problem in India with the help of Bollywood and popular culture. Finally, Subi mentioned the need for facilitators and enablers to help drive local content which she, in her position as a professor, is hoping to help provide as her students graduate and move back to their communities.
Having touched on the great diversity of India’s culture and languages Vlada turned to Dejan Cvetkovic from Microsoft who discussed the importance cloud computing is playing in the development of technologies that allow for public data, even old public data, to be put into the cloud for all citizens to have access to and use. This program is proving very successful in making available to citizens valuable government content which they can embellish anyway they choose creating huge amounts of locally produced content. Dejan cited examples like vanguide.com which enables citizens to access information about what is going on in the city of Vancouver. This was accomplished by taking the public data from servers across the city and putting the information in the cloud and then encouraging application developers to develop the apps to use the content over multiple devices. This concept is being repeated in cities all across the globe. Another example Dejan mentioned was one based in Europe that allowed citizens of EU countries to access information from the cloud on things like the quality of the water in their community, air quality and similar important information. Dejan cited figures on the huge financial benefits to getting this public data out and available in the cloud for citizens to access and he ended with the benefits to be found in storing content in the cloud for easy access and that issues like privacy and security are not in play when discussing public data.  
Mark Carvell, UK Minister, was next to speak and he brought a governmental perspective on this issue and he too discussed the importance of making public data available and easier to access through the cloud and of course the UK has significant archived data and Subi spoke to how great the UK portal is and how important the public libraries are in all of this access to data in the cloud.
 Jimson Olufuye, who was in the audience, was recognized and spoke as an IT official in Nigeria and how the government there has made a significant investment in getting all the government data, public data, and putting it in a digital format and on the cloud for its citizens. Jimson also reminded the audience that Nigeria is the home of Nollywood which rivals Bollywood in India in the creation of digital content, movies and alike. 
We had several remote questions come in during the workshop; from Albania, Argentina, and Cameroon. The questions ranged from focusing on open vs. proprietary software platforms to work with the public data available in the cloud (format of data issue) to the issue of the significant cost and availability of broadband to the importance of getting the word out about the availability of all this public data and making it available in the cloud for easy access in their home country.
Kristin Peterson with the non-profit group inveneo spoke of her work in Uganda with farmers developing local content to help retrain farming skills lost during years of war along the border as well as exchanging ideas and crop information from remote communities to other remote communities. She also spoke of the other groups that create microwork opportunities over the internet and how this connectivity that her group is making possible, and local content creation,  is helping to address the language and literacy issues as well.
From Africa we went to the Caribbean where Bevil Wooding, Packet Clearing House, talked about IXPs and the need for local content to drive the IXPs. He spoke of his work with young people, particularly girls,  in using technology and digital tools to develop local content under a program called ICTO (information and communication technology outreach). He said the goal is to show how content development is linked to some of the challenges of access and some of the challenges to policy. He mentioned his open data initiative and having a multi-stakeholder approach to producing material. He also mentioned the importance of working with government officials, like the Ministers of Education in reaching out to students and empowering them with the digital tools to create content, more culturally relevant content, and making it available online. He mentioned that some of the initiative he has launched are being replicated in cities in the UK and in a small town in the US.
Vlada next moved to Thomas Spiller from the Disney Company who spoke on the creative aspect of content production. He talked about the need for more quality local content and the need for more creativity in the production stage.  He noted that the first component should be creativity, about telling a good story with your content.  Thomas spoke of Disney’s global commitment to local content production with an ear for local languages and an eye for local customs.  He stressed his association with production in Nollywood and Bollywood and with the studios in countries yet to reach the radar screen.  He ended with comments on the need for legal certainty and rule of law to ensure that locally produced content has a chance to develop financially viable markets if that is the intent. There was follow discussion regarding the need for government investment in infrastructure and connectivity. Mark Carvell also added to comments made by Bevil about IXPs pointing out that the UK has been a big backer at the ITU for countries to embrace IXPs in that they brings down connectivity costs and stimulates local content production.
The workshop ended with comments from our final panelist, Imad  Hoballah, Government Regulator from Lebanon who spoke very candidly about the need for a LIGHT regulatory touch when it comes to the internet and content and he cited many examples of local content driving access in the Arab world. He spoke of the huge jump in participation on Facebook and Twitter among citizens in the Middle East particularly when the Arabic Facebook was launched.  He spoke of the challenges facing digital content creation and documentation and dissemination due to limited national and regional initiative to support these efforts. Arab governments he said could be described as shy and inhibited at best. They see it as trying to give away on the internet what they will not give away off the internet in free speech and free expression. The Arab Spring has created a backlash with some governments in the Arab world and these governments are restricting and monitoring citizens on these digital platforms. IT literacy is very much an issue in the Middle East as is illiteracy in general. There is also a significant lack of access penetration in many countries in the region. He spoke of the need for everyone to work together during this historic transition.

Conclusions and further comments: 

The creation and distribution of locally produced content empowers the producer and enriches us all. The richness of languages and cultures is there for all of us to enjoy and share. The creative process is meaningful for the creator and in some instances brings economic benefits. Governments share a role in this process and when they make available public data in an easy to use format, like the cloud, everyone benefits. It is important to keep in mind that content needs legal certainty and rule of law to ensure it has a chance of creating an income stream for the creator and the creator's country.