SEE Digital Rights Network Members Meet in Bjelasnica

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Network members met in Bosnia to discuss strategic improvements of the network’s activities and its future.

Photo: BIRN

Members of the Southeast Europe Digital Rights Network, SEE Digital Rights Network, met in Bjelasnica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for a two-day retreat on May 28 and May 29, discussing the future of the Network and ways to improve communication and increase its impact and visibility.

The aim of the discussion about shared objectives and effective governance was to enable impactful collaboration on digital rights issues in the region. The agenda was designed to establish a solid foundation for the future operations of the SEE Digital Rights Network, including practical steps for collaboration in the form of a task force that will work on drafting key documents and defining strategic goals.

Orkidea Xhaferaj from the Center Science and Innovation for Development, SCiDEV, who joined the Network’s task force, said: “The task force as a temporary body is charged with providing options for the organisational governance and development of the regional network to support future advocacy initiatives, networks capacity building and increasing the impact of national organisations on the regional level in terms of digital rights protection.”

As digital rights violations increased, more than a dozen rights organisations agreed in 2020 to work together to protect individuals and societies in Southeast Europe. Over time, the SEE Digital Rights Network has expanded, forming a coalition of 39 civil society and media organizations.

Network members from Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and North Macedonia gathered to help further define the Networks’ mission, vision and values, as well as the structure and decision-making process.

“SEE Digital Rights Network is an important initiative to contribute to advancing digital rights in the region with the ultimate aim of safeguarding human rights throughout the region, considering democratic backsliding and human rights violations both offline and online. The Networks serve as a setting for organisations throughout the region to increase the impact on local and national level and then jointly advocate for regional protection, safeguarding,” said Xhaferaj.

Denas je nov dan is one of the newer members of the Network and the Bjelasnica meeting was their first. Maja Cimerman, their representative, said they saw a benefit in joining the network.

“We joined the network because we follow the work of its members and we think that we can support each other with organizing, and with regional connections our work achieves a greater impact,” Cimerman said.

The Institute for Democracy and Mediation, SCiDEV, Media Development Center (North Macedonia), Politiscope, Mediacentar Sarajevo, Drzavljan D, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Partners Serbia, Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia, Denas je nov dan Slovenia, SHARE Foundation and Zašto ne attended the meeting.