Difference between revisions of "Case Studies/Association for Progressive Communications Australia"

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Revision as of 07:30, 7 May 2008

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open access, community, development, ICTs, democracy, participation


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The Association for Progressive Communications Australia (apc.au) was established in 1997 as a digital media arts organisation which employs open content and flexible licensing models, emphasising open access and the development of community-owned communications and broadcast infrastructure.

A world in which all people have easy, equal and affordable access to the creative potential of ICTs to improve their lives and create more democratic and egalitarian societies. APC Vision


Since its establishment in 1990, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) has worked with the United Nations to help civil society organisations participate in global policy-making via the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) including the Internet. apc.au, the Australian instance, was founded in 1997, and sits alongside chapters in Argentina, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, the UK and Uruguay. Offering local portals to discuss ICT policies and rights in their respective regions, APC works to achieve social and environmental justice and sustainable development. APC members are often the first providers of Internet in their countries, and they continue to pioneer practical and relevant uses of ICTs, particularly in developing nations and with grassroots organisations.

apc.au was established on the basis of APC’s Internet Rights Charter. Emphasising awareness, realisation, and protection of rights, the charter commits to Internet access for all, access to knowledge, particularly with respect to shared learning and creation using free and open source software, and freedom of expression and association. APC also examines issues surrounding privacy, surveillance, and encryption, and governance of the Internet.

Within this framework, apc.au’s core objectives are:

  • To promote and provide services for the development, application and strategic use of, and community education in respect to electronic networking technologies;
  • To develop and provide networking services, applications and content, advisory, consulting and related services;
  • To assist community organisations in the use of electronic networking technologies and services and in the development and publication of network content, in areas of community interest including environment, social development, human rights and social justice;
  • To support electronic networking initiatives through the Australasian and Asian/Pacific areas and promote open and equitable access to networking technologies particularly for the non-government sector and disadvantaged groups and for the development of strategic working communities.

Governed by its constitutive members, APC sets its strategic policies every four years.

apc.au sits on the steering committees of Open Spectrum Australia (sustaining community broadcast licensing on the digital spectrum), Home Lands (remote communications program for refugee youth) and the Arts Law Consortium (providing access to ICT rights issues to cultural development and arts workers).

Within Australia, apc.au has previously traded under the following programmes, each an independently registered business in Victoria, Australia and headed by Andrew Garton, apc.au’s Managing Director:

In 2008, apc.au decommissioned c2o and began the process of archiving Toy Satellite projects, representing a decade of Australian new media art.

License Usage

apc.au is an organisation which advocates open content and flexible licensing models, being engaged in both the development of, and sustained access to, community-owned communications and broadcast infrastructure.

On 26 March 2008, Document Freedom Day (DFD), apc.au Managing Director Andrew Garton announced the release of 10 years of essays, lectures, reports and articles dealing with ICT4CD, information communication technologies for cultural development, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia licence. Reproduction of materials housed on the wiki is encouraged provided acknowledgement is given.

Observing the importance of open content licensing, Andrew Garton explains in the press statement issued for the event:

‘The author may choose to reserve some or all rights through open licenses, providing consumers with immediate access to how content may be used, re-used and/or attributed without having to communicate with neither the author nor any 3rd party. Open licenses puts rights management directly into the hands or authors of any form and medium.’


As a global network of civil society organisations, APC’s mission is to build strategic communities and to make meaningful contributions to ‘equitable human development, social justice, participatory political processes and environmental sustainability.’ The APC mission was approved at the 1997 APC Council meeting in South Africa. In joining Document Freedom Day, apc.au expresses support for organisations, social movements and individuals through the use of open information and communication technologies.

‘Document freedom is fundamental for your documents to outlive the application you are currently using and allows you to choose and change applications freely.’

Supported by the Free Software Foundation, Google, IBM, Red Hat Linux, and Sun Microsystems, amongst many other organisations, Document Freedom Day encourages organisations to embrace open standards. With the announcement of apc.au’s open archive in 2008, Grant McHerron, apc.au Technical Director, provided the following rationale for joining the event:

‘Many have experienced the pain of trying to convert from one proprietary format to another when exchanging documents (e.g., from MS Word to Lotus.) Formatting is lost or broken and re-work is often required. This extends even to different versions of the same product, as those using Office 2000 are unable to read information created by MS Word 2007. Storing information in open document standards facilitates the flow of information and prevents its loss when older applications become obsolete.’