Campaigning against public policies that impact access to knowledge
In January 2011, CI called for expressions of interest from its members for a limited amount of seed funding to support national-level campaigning against public policies that impact access to knowledge. The two successful recipients announced in June were ZACA (Zambian Consumer Association) and FOMCA (Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations).
Removing customs duty on newsprint in Zambia
ZACA's campaign will be to remove a 5% customs duty on newsprint. This cost is passed onto consumers, with the effect of constraining growth of the print media, limiting competition, consumer choice and ultimately compromising consumer welfare. The Indian government applied the same intervention in 2009 to save its beleaguered newspaper industry. In association with this campaign, ZACA will also be distributing technical papers on A2K, for capacity building in this area.
More details will be available in ZACA's reports on the project, to be linked here when available.
PCs sold without a useable free operating system in Malaysia
FOMCA's campaign relates to a long-standing policy, in Malaysia and elsewhere, not to sell computers without an operating system, because this encourages operating system piracy. To "get around" this policy, Malaysian computer vendors sell low-end computers with an outdated free operating system called FreeDOS, which cannot be used to run modern software. Most consumers immediately wipe FreeDOS off their systems and install a pirated copy of Microsoft Windows. FOMCA's campaign will encourage vendors instead to ship the open source operating system Linux with their low-end computers. It is also free for consumers, but unlike FreeDOS runs modern software and can be used as a replacement for Windows, thereby offering less justification for piracy.
More details will be available in FOMCA's reports on the project, to be linked here when available.
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