|FROM ||Ruben I Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] Broadcast Media wants to kill internet
Broadcasters feel left out of Net summit
POSTED AT 4:58 PM EST Monday, Dec. 8, 2003
GENEVA ? The representatives of 192 nations expected here this week for
summit on the Internet's future are neglecting vital issues tied to TV
and radio, say international broadcasters who are holding a parallel
Organizers said the four-day media gathering that begins Tuesday is
turning out to be essential because their concerns ? and those of TV
viewers and radio listeners ? have been sidelined at the
technology-heavy Internet summit.
Guillaume Chenevière, executive director of the media forum and a former
head of Switzerland's state-owned TSR TV station, said broadcasters feel
the so-called World Summit on the Information Society will be like a
"conference on agriculture without farmers."
"The summit will focus neither on information nor society, despite its
name," added David Lewis, spokesman for the European Broadcasting Union,
a co-sponsor of the media meeting. He said it "will be the only place
where the real issues will be discussed."
For example, workshops at the media forum consider how the Internet has
influenced radio and television, the challenge it poses for public
service broadcasters, and how to ensure it does not undermine cultural
and language diversity.
Discussions also will centre on press freedom.
Mr. Lewis said such issues ought to be discussed at the information
summit as well because radio and TV, not the Internet, will remain
dominant means of mass communication in many poor countries for decades.
Like the Internet event, the broadcasters' World Electronic Media Forum
is also sponsored by the United Nations and is being held at the same
Geneva conference centre.
Although U.S. networks are not taking part, the Canadian-based North
American Broadcasters' Association, WBAI Pacifica Radio, the British
Broadcasting Corp. and state-owned broadcasters from France, Russia and
Japan are among the 360 organizations from 112 countries expected to
The Internet meeting, set to begin Wednesday, has already been riven by
discord over whether the United Nations should have more control of the
Internet ? and who will pay for getting more poor nations on-line.
For now, key Internet-related decisions are made by a private,
U.S.-based organization of technical and business experts known as the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. Some
developing nations have said they would like a United Nations body to
regulate the Internet, but industrialized countries are leery.
About 60 heads of state were expected to attend the Internet summit,
mainly from the developing world. The United States planned to send a
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, one of the most prominent expected
from Europe, backed out at the last minute. Cuban President Fidel Castro
also decided against coming, officials at the Cuban diplomatic mission
in Geneva said Monday.
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