Thursday, June 19, 2014

A New Book Covers Censorship Obstacles Worldwide

By Alia El-Mohandes, Nourhan El-Bery, Rana Hassan and Sherwet Salah


Cairo, Egypt – On Monday, June 15, 2014, the Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) at the American University in Cairo (AUC) held their fourth annual workshop in Moataz Al Alfi Hall.

The A2K4D consisted of five sessions. In the third session, Access to Knowledge Global Academy (A2KGA) speakers’ explained their contribution to Access to Knowledge (A2K) movements and the collaboration between the Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School and the A2K initiatives at AUC.

Valarie Belair-Gagnom, executive director of ISP and one of the speakers, talked about the role of ISP in A2K movements. Belair-Gagnom said, "ISP believes that A2K is about intellectual property, but it is far more than that, it should be about human flourishing, economic development and human freedom."

ISP deems that A2K is a demand for justice and an issue of "individual participation in human liberty. Producing books and participating in making policies," which would have been difficult without global collaboration, explains Belair-Gagnom.

Professor Nagla Rizk, founder director of A2K4D in AUC, talked briefly about the historical development of the collaboration between A2K and ISP. A2K holds and discusses workshops and case studies from all over the world. In Egypt, they are called "A2K Egypt country studies," Rizk clarifies.

A2K Global Academy’s new book discusses different case studies on censorship worldwide, "the book will be published in the next few days," says Rizk. She stated that censorship could take many "complex formations" due to the access to new technologies.

Pranesh Prakash, resident fellow at Yale ISP and one of the speakers, provided detailed information about the upcoming book and mentioned the shift that happened in censorship. "Private actors are now the main issue when it comes to censorship, it is no longer in the hands of the state," says Prakash.

Rizk stated, “When you think of development in its wider sense it’s beyond economic growth so you look at growth of incomes but you are also thinking of health, education, democratization, political well being and all of these issues are in one way or another affected by technology and knowledge.”

A2KGA’s main goal is to promote A2K as a framework for policy making and advance economy research that reflects to immediate needs. A2KGA would help in developing model curriculum to teach students based on their research activity, Rizk concluded.


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