BIRN to Hold Digital Rights Conference in Sarajevo

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BIRN’s Digital Rights Annual Conference 2023 is taking place on December 5-6 in Sarajevo – and may be joined online through live streaming. Experts will discuss the challenges of digital rights in our increasingly connected world, focusing on the Balkans and South East Europe.

Photo: BIRN

The BIRN Digital Rights Annual Conference 2023 will begin on December 5 with opening remarks from Diedon Nixha, Reporting Digital Rights & Freedoms Project Manager at BIRN Kosovo. This will set the stage for a day filled with insightful presentations and discussions.

Everyone can follow and participate in the panels and discussions on the first day of the conference through live streaming: Join us online by registering to follow and participate in the conference live.

In the first session, Ivana Jeremic, journalist and an editor at Balkan Insight, will present main findings from BIRN’s 2022-2023 Digital Rights Violations Annual Report. This covers the state of digital rights in ten countries in which BIRN continuously monitors digital rights violations: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey.

The day will feature several panel discussions: The first one, moderated by Ivana Jeremic, will explore the major trends and underlying factors of digital rights violations. Panelists include: Hamdi Firat Buyuk, journalist and Turkey correspondent at Balkan Insight; Aida Trepanic of BIRN BiH, BIRN’s digital rights monitor for BiH; Nensi Bogdani of BIRN Albania, BIRN’s digital rights monitor for Albania; and Tijana Uzelac of BIRN Serbia, BIRN’s digital rights monitor for Serbia.

The next panel will discuss the political and social influences on the rise in digital rights violations across the Balkan and Southeast Europe. Hamdi Firat Buyuk will moderate this session, with panelists: Leila Bicakcic, Director of the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN); Megi Reci, Researcher, Institute for Democracy and Mediation; and Maida Culahovic, Head of the Department for Program Content and Analysis at the Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the afternoon sessions, the focus will shift to youth and digital rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Anes Cerkez of Civitas BiH, author of the research paper “Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Youth Online: Victims and Perpetrators of Digital Rights Violations,” will moderate a panel including: Azem Kurtic, journalist at Balkan Insight and BIRN’s digital rights monitor for BiH; Anida Sokol, Researcher and Project Coordinator at Mediacentar; Ahmed Kosovac, Council Member of the Municipality of Novo Sarajevo; and Slobodan Blagovcanin, Project Manager, Omladinski Resursni Centar Tuzla and Citizens Against Terrorism (CAT) Initiative.

On the second day, December 6, the conference will host the first regional meeting of Southeast Europe Digital Rights Network [SEE Digital Rights Network] members, an informal network of more than 35 organisations established by BIRN and SHARE Foundation.

Discussions will begin with a panel on the digital rights landscapes in the Balkans and Southeast Europe, moderated by Milos Ciric, BIRN Digital Rights Programme Manager. Panelists will include: Orkidea Xhaferaj, a Digital and Innovation Policy Expert, from SciDev in Albania; Rasid Krupalija, from Zasto ne, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Donika Elshani, a Researcher at KCSS in Kosovo; Dejan Georgievski, Programme Coordinator at Macedonia Media Development Center in North Macedonia; and Ana Martinović, of Serbia’s SHARE Foundation.

The day will continue with sessions dedicated to SEE Digital Rights Network and will be focused on creating a joint statement on the state of digital rights in the Balkans, moderated by Melisa Gazdic, with participation from all SEE Digital Rights Network Members’ Representatives.

The conference will conclude with a workshop to outline the SEE Digital Rights Network’s priorities for 2024, again led by Melisa Gazdic.

Join us online by registering to follow and participate in the conference live.

 This event is co-funded by the European Union and was also made possible through support from the UN Democracy Fund.