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BBC publishes 'digital divide' manifesto (fwd)


Thanks David for alerting us to this!

Curt Priest

Date:    Mon, 25 Oct 1999 11:32:47 +0100
From:    David Wilcox <david@COMMUNITIES.ORG.UK>
Subject: BBC publishes 'digital divide' manifesto

Hi all

I thought you might be interested that the BBC is supporting  community
networking by today publishing a draft local online communities manifesto
with a discussion forum for comments.... http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/

The manifesto draws on work by UK Communities Online and Partnerships
Online. It is not in any way "owned" by the BBC, but offered as an 'open
source' document for comment and development. The full version, with
background, is at http://www.partnerships.org.uk/cyber/

The BBC is also staging a live online chat with the UK e-Minister tonight

I hope you'll spare a moment to visit the forum and post a message. We're
rather pleased to get such a public notice board - BBC Online is our no 1
Internet site in the UK.


Introduction and summary from A draft manifesto for local communities at

How can we shape development of the internet so that it benefits all
citizens - and so avoid a 'digital divide' between those who are
connected, and those who aren't?

To start the debate, a group of community networking experts have
drafted an 'open manifesto' which will be developed through public
discussion.  The manifesto will then be presented to the UK Government
Policy Action Team due to report to Prime Minister Tony Blair later this
year.  If you have comments on the manifesto, or would like to add your
ideas, post a message to the Webwise Manifesto message board. 

The initial suggestions for the manifesto are:

1  Every citizen, regardless of their economic circumstances, should be
able to share the benefits of the Information Age - including better
communications, greater participation, electronic life long learning,
and e-commerce.  To achieve this they should have access to local
community technology centres, plus public online forums and services 
to create an online community.  The centres will provide technical 
support and help 'on the ground', the forums will be 'virtual spaces' 
for online communities related to localities. 

2  Centres and online communities should be easy to find - signposted
locally, and through a national gateway.

3  Public support should be available, particularly in low-income
neighbourhoods, where the market is unlikely to provide facilities 
on a sustainable basis without public funding.

4  Development of centres and online communities should be piloted
through pathfinder projects, with community participation.

5  There should be a network and support for the local champions and
partnerships who will develop the centres and online communities.

6  A virtual resource centre should be developed to provide sources of
advice for local champions and partnerships, and a neutral space online
for discussion of the development of centres and online communities.

David Wilcox, david@communities.org.uk. +44 (0) 1273 677377
Partnerships Online http://www.partnerships.org.uk/