Monday, January 23, 2006

2006 - Call for Papers for International Symposium on Online Journalism

2006 - Call for Papers for International Symposium on Online Journalism
April 7-8, 2006, Austin, Texas
Submit Today!
Deadline: January 27, 2006
For the third year, the International Symposium on Online Journalism will include presentations of original research into online journalism. All presentations will take place on the second day of the conference. The first day is devoted to presentations and panels of online journalism professionals. Prior symposia have included representatives of the, and
Deadlines for papers or three-page abstracts: January 27, 2006.
Submission requirements: Academic papers should present original research into any aspect on online journalism including, but not limited to, changes in news content and presentation, business models for online journalism, shifting roles of journalists and readers, and the legal and ethical implications of globally accessible journalism.
Papers should not have been published or presented at a prior conference. If a completed paper is not yet available, please submit a three-page abstract including details on research questions and methodology. Papers should be completed by time of the conference. All submissions will undergo a blind review. Authors will be notified of acceptance by February 24, 2006. All submissions should be made electronically to:
* Send the following information to by January 27, 2006: Please include the title of the paper, author(s) name (only on title page), the abstract or paper, contact name, address, city, state, zip, phone, and email address.
* Paper or abstract must be in the format of Microsoft Word (.doc). No other formats (.rtf, .pdf, etc.) will be accepted.
* If your abstract/paper is selected, you will be notified by February 24, 2006.
* All travel arrangements must be made by author (plan on two-night stay at minimum).
If you experience any problems in submitting your paper or have any questions, please contact us at

South Africa : Sixth ICT Journalist of the Year Awards- Call for entries for ICT reporting

Call for entries for ICT reporting

Telkom has launched its sixth ICT Journalist of the Year Awards with a call for entries from journalists covering developments in South Africa’s Information and Communication Technology Sector.

The competition aims to reward journalism excellence, specifically in reportage on ICT matters. The closing date for entries is 23 January 2006 and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to take place on the 28 March 2006.
The top ICT journalist will be rewarded with a spectacular prize of R40 000, as well as a 7 day trip to Hong Kong to attend the ITU Conference and sight seeing for the winner and partner while category winners will win R15 000. This year there will be eight categories to encourage wide participation. These categories are: Mainstream Newspapers, Business Magazine, Lifestyle Magazine, Community Newspaper, Television, Radio, Electronic, New Journalist and a new addition to the Awards – Student Journalist.
The awards were first launched in 2000, in association with the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism to develop and nurture an interest in ICT in the media. Over the past five years the Telkom Journalist of the Year Awards has established itself as a meaningful, sought-after accolade in the field of journalism and the premier platform where journalists are recognised for their contribution to the sector.
Previous winners include accomplished journalists like Nathi Suzaki (writing for Business Report) in 2000, Marina Bidoli (writing for Financial Mail) in 2001 and 2003, David Shapshak (writing for the Mail & Guardian & GQ) in 2000 and 2004’s winner Patricia McCracken of Caxton Magazines’ Bona title.
In 2004 the competition attracted some 335 entries across eight categories from journalists writing about the fast-paced, multi-faceted world of information, communications and technology. Entries from writers for business magazines predominated, with recurrent themes including liberalisation, development and black economic empowerment in the ICT sector. Specific topics covered in-depth included the SNO (second network operator) process, regulatory changes, privatisation and developments in technology.
“The winners are informed journalists, who demonstrate a depth of understanding, thoroughness of research and richness in resources. They have shown that they can explain technology to their specific audience, be conscious of quality in their writing, comment effectively and insightfully and generate light as well as heat on an issue” explains Lulu Letlape, Group Executive, Telkom Corporate Communications.
The independent panel of judges comprises respected industry experts and leaders in South African journalism.
For further information visit our awards website (includes criteria and entry forms):
Inquiries can be directed to Inge Crow on telephone 011 883 0470 or e-mail

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ghana: Telecommunications Bill meets Stiff Opposition at Stakeholders Forum

Ghana: Telecommunications Bill meets Stiff Opposition at Stakeholders Forum
Stakeholders in the ICT industry in Ghana have requested that the proposed Telecommunications Bill 2006 and the National Communications Authority ACT 2005 be redrafted in take into account convergence. The two bills are being developed by the Ministry of Communications as part of the process to stream line the communications sector in Ghana. At a well attended meeting organized to solicit the views of industry stakeholders, various dissenting views were expressed about the proposed bill.

Beginning on a rather surprising note, the head of the regulatory agency, Major Tandoh, NCA Acting Director, disagreed with the whole bill and suggested that the bill be completely put aside. In his view an amendment of the old NCA Act 524 is a much better solution. In held the view that the old bill captures the issue of convergence whilst the new bill does not. In his words this new bill ‘is going to make my work more difficult’. Major Tandoh was not the only one worried about the new Bill, ISP veteran Dr. Nii Quainoo of NCS said, the bill fundamentally lacked a strong community focus. He said by focusing the bill on Telecommunications it completely neglected the trend towards convergence and shut out the Internet community altogether. Prof. Clement Dzidonu, who chaired the meeting reminded the draft committee that convergence is a clearly stated objective of the overriding Ghanaian ICT4AD policy and that this should be reflected in the bill.

Hon. Harunna Iddirisu, Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Communications committee member suggested that the section of the bill covering spectrum management be removed and placed into a new bill called Radio and Communications bill. His suggestion was supported by Benjamin Forson, Deputy Director of the NCA, who went on further to question the composition of the Spectrum management committee. By the proposed bill a six member Spectrum management committee shall be formed and of these all with the exception of the Director General of the NCA are to be selected from the security agencies of the country. He questioned whether such a decision was right in view of the new democratic dispensation in Ghana.

On the matter of the NCA ACT 2005, Dr. Quainoo was of the view that the board of the NCA as proposed had too much powers and control over the work of the authority. Under the new ACT, the NCA board is to meet once every month and has the powers to form committees which may include members of the board to perform such ‘functions of the board as the board may determine’

On interconnection, Bernard Forson, Deputy Director of the NCA said the current challenge in the telecoms industry was not interconnection per say but rather the obligation to pay. The problem of interconnection in his view was not that Telco providers were failing to interconnect but rather the absence of a provision empowering the NCA to oblige operators to pay each other for interconnection charges. Currently there is a huge problem of interconnection payment in the Telecom sector in Ghana.

A large section of the bill is also devoted to the issue universal service and Access. The roles and obligations of the Ghana Investment Fund for Telecommunications (GFTEL) is carefully stated in the bill and clearly captures the essential elements of the Telecommunications policy. GIFTEL is Ghana response to rural telecommunications and internet services. It seeks to provide start up funds for rural telecommunication projects and is financed by contributions from operators as stipulated in their license. GIFTEL is particularly important as its operation in the past had been marred by huge inefficiencies and perceived corruption.

The 58 page Telecommunication Bill covers a wide range of issues including the functions of the Minister of Communication , Licence and Frequency Authorisations, Interconnection issues, Access to Facilities and Gateways, Universal Service Access and Tarrifs, An investment fund for telecommunications, Spectrum management, offences and fees. The Bill seeks to build upon the Telecommunication Policy which was passed by parliament last year. The NCA ACT on the other hand seeks to redefine the functions of the NCA and strengthen its autonomy. Overall the Bill and the Act stress the importance of transparency and autonomy for the NCA and its operations.

In their defense Prof. Kofi Kumado who is chair of the draft community said the issues being raised were clear policy issues and which were beyond the mandate of his committee and suggested that perhaps the Ministry of Communication will have to review the committee’s mandate to look at some of the issues being raised.

Stakeholders asked for the extension of the time for commenting on the two documents due to the late circulation of the bill to stakeholders. It was therefore agreed that comments will be received in an electronic form after the meeting. Telecom operators at the meting said they might send a coordinated industry position to the committee at a later date.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum (BIJF)

Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum (BIJF) is the professional ICT journalist association of Bangladesh which was established in 2002. BIJF has representations of all leading Daily, weekly, monthly ICT publications and other media (such as web, digital publication and electronic media). BIJF has established for the development of ICT movement of our country and to stimulate and facilitate the growth structure of this sector.

BIJF tries to emphasis on three sectors. Firstly, to establish the ICT Journalist Unity, secondly, to improvise journalist knowledge and professional duties with utmost delinquency and thirdly to organize ICT related seminars, working paper on National and as well as international issue. So far BIJF have successfully organized several skill development schemes for ICT journalists and also arranged different ICT related national seminars. Among them”Media role on Information Society: perspective Bangladesh” is the most successful one.

It has been argued that ICT has itself pioneered into Bangladesh and the role of Media is very much negligible in this case. But on many dimensions, government policies as well as industry activities are much prejudiced by the Media. Media has a profound impact on building IT awareness, IT industry and IT culture in our Country. The role of media has pioneered in building ICT infrastructure in Bangladesh.

In future, BIJF will try to establish the National ICT databank and will conduct several studies on Local and Global aspects of ICT developments. BIJF will also analyze different government initiatives and Industry performance regarding ICT and will recommend different policies for the welfare of this sector. BIJF will also try to make their contribution on several Global issues such as Digital Divide, Information Society, Knowledge based Economy, etc to build a real ICT awarded community for the whole World.