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WTO must end its business
Farjana Akter, VOICE
Since its inception of the World Trade Organizations (WTO) in 1995, policies made by the multilateral giant blocked the access of developing countries to international markets. WTO, the promoter of `globalization' introduces injustice and undermines human rights through it's biased policies and regulations. In the ninth ministerial conference taking place in Bali from 3 -6 December 2013, WTO should give back Least Developed Countries (LDCs) rights and listen to their legal demands. LDCs has been struggling to get Quota-Free and Duty Free market access to intrenational markets, subsidy in agriculture since long.
The empty promise of Agreement of Agriculture (AoA) needs to be readdressed, meanwhile, it has worsened the conditions of the millions subsistence farmers and small-scale food producers in the developing countries, while giving scope to corporations to accumulate more profit.
The institution needs to uncover the discriminatory rules and regulations for developing countries with a strong reform within it. Developing countries are demanding for ensuring simple and transparent rules of origin for duty-free market access, it asks for preferential market access for their services sector.
[Dhaka, 22 September 2013] Speakers told that the ICT Act (amendment) 2013 sharply conflicts with Bangladesh Constitution’s Article 39 and 43 which guarantee freedom of expression and right to privacy respectively. Terming it as a ‘black law’, speakers urged the government not to enact as a law. A press conference titled ‘ICT Act (Amendment) 2013: Challenges for Right to Privacy and Freedom of Expression’ was held by VOICE in the city’s national press club today while it was jointly collaborated with Bangladesh Manobadhikar Shangbadik forum, Campaign on Citizen’s Right to Information, Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum, Somewherein.net Blog, Online Knowledge Society, Shushashoner Jonyo Procharabhijan (SUPRO) and School of Communication and Cultural Metaphysics.
Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, CEO, Boishaki Television, Khairuzzaman Kamal, Executive Director, Bangladesh Manobadhikar Shangbadik Forum, Zakir Hossain, Executive Director of Nagorik Uddog and Convener of Campaign on Citizen Right to Information, Syeda Gulshan Ferdous Jana, Acting Managing Director, Somewherein.net Blog and, Farjana Akhter, Programme Coordinator, Voice spoke at the press briefing while Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director of Voice moderated the session.
We are proud to announce the launch of VOICE's brand new website!
With a completely redesigned look and a more user-friendly interface, we hope this new website will go even further than the last one. New drop-down menus and and improved archive section makes it easier than ever to access information on our site. An improved custom search engine will allow you to quickly find the article you need. The new design, besides bringing a more modern, updated look, improves readability by a simpler colour selection, slimmer body and uncluttered header space.
We hope you enjoy our new site and we sincerely apologize for the long delay.
We invite your comments and suggestions to improve our site! Leave a comment by clicking on the link below.
VOICE continues its work fighting against unjust economic, political and environmental practices and continues to act as a voice for the unheard. Solidarity!
For more information on any of these titles or to order a copy, please contact us.
The Freedom of Press Ensures Governance and Democracy
VOICE will participate in the 2010 Amar Ekushey Book Fair held in Bangla Academy, Dhaka that will continue until February 28th. VOICE participated in the book fair, presenting about 50 items of its publications including books, reports, newsletters, posters and other publications. VOICE also keeps books and reports from national and international organizations with whom VOICE has been closely working.
The participation of VOICE in the Book Fair helps disseminate information valued by VOICE, more specifically around the issues of globalization, trade, aid effectiveness, ICTs and information rights, climate change, IFIs, food and agriculture and of politics. By participating in the book fair, VOICE is taking the opportunity to build a wider constituency and raise critical awareness among the stakeholders including teachers, students, politicians, researchers, citizen actors, NGOs, activists, researchers etc, around these issues.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Stockholm, 23 October 2009 `Democracy and Development' was marked with a lively debate among the panelists during the second day of the European Development Day. The plenary was held in Victoria Hall of the EU Conference held on 23 October 2009. 15 other events and discussions. Some of 15 other events and discussions were also held which were attended by hundreds of people including Ministers, Government officials, civil societies from around the world. Amr Moussa, Secretary General, League of Arab States, urged that, “Democracy is a system that should be promoted, but the definition of democracy must be broader than simply a ballot box. Democracy promotion requires more than elections, it also requires institutions” . Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia, argued for infrastructure: “If one wants to promote good governance and democracy, one needs a people that are able to access the information that enables them to do that. In many underdeveloped countries, infrastructure is a major constraint to development Putting emphasis on building infrastructure is very important and that in itself will foster the processes of development.”
Global media activists criticized control over media and proposed alternatives
A three day Medifes was held in Tokyo Women’s Plaza, Japan from 20-22 September 2009 organized by OurPlanet-TV, a network of media activists based in Tokyo. The conference was attended by a large number of stakeholders from Japan and international civil society organizations.
Tokyo Medifes 2009 is an annual event of alternative media, community media and citizen media held in Japan. Participants of the conference shared and discussed the experience on media and proposed alternatives while media in a global corporate control.
Hajime Shiraishi, the Representative of OurPlanet-TV told the conference to uphold the alternative media and citizen broadcasting realizing the diversity and publicity of wide range of stakeholders to really make media benefit for the people.
VOICE participated in the 2009 Amar Ekushey Book Fair held in Bangla Academy, Dhaka that ended on February 28th after month long book fair. In the book fair VOICE participated with a number of 50 items of its publications including books, reports, newsletters, posters and other publications. It also keeps books and reports from national and international organizations whom VOICE has been closely working with. The participation of VOICE in the Book Fair helped disseminating information valued by VOICE, more specifically around the issues of globalization, trade, aid effectiveness, ICTs and information rights, climate change, IFIs, food and agriculture and of politics. Participating in the book fair, VOICE takes the opportunity for building wider constituency and raising critical awareness among the stakeholders including teachers, students, politicians, researchers, citizen actors, NGOs, activists, researchers etc, around the issues. VOICE also displayed slogans e.g. Resist Corporate Globalization and Climate Justice Now! Along with posters`display describing the injustice and domination of IFIs and global capitalism. These were put to promote its role against unjust global hegemony.
VOICE published 5 briefing reports (4 in English and 1 in Bengali) on the topic of the ADB in Bangladesh especially for the National Consultation.
1. The ADB in Bangladesh: ‘Country Strategy and Programme’: A Corporate Bias
by Tanim Ahmed
Journalist Tanim Ahmed dissects the 4-year development plan proposed by the ADB, exposing the Bank’s clear corporate bias behind its claims of poverty reduction. Through trenchant analysis of their Bangladesh policy, Ahmed summarizes frankly their intentions in the poverty, governance, private sector, agriculture and natural resources, transport, energy and health sectors.
2. Water for Sale? Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority: A project financed by ADB for Privatization
by Tanim Ahmed
In this paper Tanim Ahmed delivers a detailed assessment of the ADB’s proposed privatisation of the water distribution system, starting with a well-constructed history of recent events in water rights. Ahmed breaks down the agenda behind their proposal, including conditionalities and their recommendations to DWASA.
Madrid, Spain, 3 May 2008 - Ahmed Swapan Mahmud
The Annual General Meeting of the Asian Development Bank's is currently being held from 3rd to 6th May 2008 in Madrid, Spain. The Bank has failed to meet its poverty reduction targets for more than four decades, leaving millions of poor in developing countries.
The Bank is emphasizing private sector development, to which it is allocating 50 per cent of its budget without considering the social protection and human security of the poor. Economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration are now the priority areas, while the lending agency continues to ignore public service support.
ADB’s strategy for 2020 puts the private sector in control over a country, leaving public services open for the multinational corporations. Also, the Bank has put pressure on the government to cut down spending on public services, and has been advocating for blanket privatization and commercialization while the poor suffer the worst due to reduced state responsibility. Whom does the ADB serve? The corporate bias of ADB ensures private sector making profit over life, while millions of poor suffer from malnutrition and lack of proper access to land, water, and common resources.