ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Who Speaks for the Governed?

Global disparities over access to information and communication technologies formed the basis of the call for a UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society that took place in two phases in Geneva (2003) and Tunis (2005). In addition to the private sector and state delegates, accredited civil society organisations were for the first time invited to the table to participate in debates over financing ICT for development, ensuring cultural diversity, the future of intellectual property rights and debating the merits of a new system of internet governance. This article critically examines the role of civil society in proposing a "humanitarian agenda" that contests the dominant neoliberal mode of governance within the WSIS process. Specifically, the article considers why narrow claims for recognition - expressed in the right to freedom of information - eclipsed more expansive claims for both recognition and redistribution in terms of access to ICT infrastructure and content. It draws from feminist insights into the normative dimensions of global social justice after more than two decades of theory and praxis around transnational activism and the challenges of deliberation through difference.

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