“E-Society”: There must be a balance between freedom of expression and the right to privacy

Skopje, 10 December, 2015 - 19:48 (META) 

The need to strike a balance between freedom of expression and the right to privacy was the conclusion of the 11th E-Society Conference today. Dedicated to freedom and privacy the e-society conference was organized by the Foundation for Internet and Society, ‘Metamorphosis’ and the Institute of Human Rights and Peace based in Caen, France.
The French Ambassador to Macedonia Lawrence Auer spoke of the Internet as a new means of dialogue and information, but represents a threat that terrorists can use it as a tool for promoting their aims. “We are witnessing the shrinking boundaries between the virtual and the real. Media is the first vehicle to inform citizens, in the six months prior to forthcoming elections, the media must endeavour to inform fairly, and feel they are above political party control.” said Ambassador Auer in his opening speech. Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Fatmir Besimi stated the world pre-Internet and post-Internet is not the same, the Internet provides the right for freer speech, with social networks influencing the democratic processes.
The Internet provides and contributes to the freedom of expression and it is an excellent source of information. This is why it must be protected, considered Zhonas Bosa, Director of the International Institute for Peace and Human Rights.
Jardil Bashari, Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation said ” The key is to find a balance between freedom of expression and the right to privacy.”
“The Internet should be free and the citizens of Macedonia free to express themselves using it. Preventing them doing so in the names of safety and security directly threaten freedom of expression and the freedom of the internet, We have to find a way for a free Internet, and the rights of citizens using it, to be safeguarded. The Internet must be made clear of hate-speech.” added Mr Bardhil Jashari, another Metamorphosis Director

School of Data website launched

Skopje, 4 June, 2015 - 15:12 (META) 

The concept of open data is a generator of prosperity and democratization of the society, said UK Ambassador to Macedonia Charles Edmund Garrett at today’s promotion of the website School of Data – Macedonia. It offers constant support to civil society organizations, journalists and all citizens interested in the use of data as part of the “Network of Civil Society Organizations for Open Data”, implemented by Metamorphosis Foundation in partnership with the Open Knowledge Foundation, and supported by British Embassy in Macedonia.

– The possibility of civil society to ask for data relevant to public policies and procedures is essential to the rule of democracy – said Ambassador Garrett at the promotion.

British Ambassador emphasized that open data are a “two-way street” – on the one hand, governments and institutions increase transparency, and on the other, civil society increases its participation in the decision-making process and highlights the voices of marginalized groups.

– This project is based on previous engagement of the UK in this area through the so-called “Open Government Partnership” and I hope that our cooperation will continue and will impact on increasing the transparency of government and increased civil participation in the review of government activities and information during decision-making – said Ambassador Garrett.

Director of Metamorphosis Foundation Bardhyl Jashari added that open access to data is important for both sides – for the citizens and the institutions, because it helps citizens to equalize in the knowledge with the politicians, who have the data from state institutions available at any time.

The promotion was attended by representatives from civil society organizations, associations and the media, as well as interested individuals.

The website includes courses on basics on data, as well as information about tools and applications for data use and processing.

Apart from the website, a competition to support projects related to open data was also launched.

The deadline for enrolment is until 22nd of June, and all civil society organizations can apply with a specific idea for a project linked to open data.

After completing the competition four projects will be selected and they will receive support from Metamorphosis Foundation.