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Over 100 participants gathered at first POINT conference

May 2, 2013 | by:

Point conference on political accountability and new technologies, held in Sarajevo from 16th to 18th of February 2012, gathered over a 100 representatives of civil society organizations from the region and the world, participating in presentations on the latest developments in the use of new technologies for civil society organizations.

The focus of the conference in the context of using new technologies included: monitoring government activities, transparency of public data, elections, educations, training, and organizing.

The three days of the conference featured lectures, speeches, multimedia presentations, panels, discussions, workshops, and film screening, including the participation of local, regional, and global activists of civil society, media representatives, experts on new technologies, programmers, bloggers, and representatives of the business sector. With active participation from representatives and outside internet users, the conference defined basic problems in all spheres and provided concrete solutions, experiences, and strategies of civil society organizations.

Internet, new technologies, and social networks have introduced a new era in the process of monitoring government activities and advocating policies and interests. Therefore, one of the goals of the POINT conference included presentations of the latest online tools and methods of monitoring government from around the world, as well as presenting the development of online communities in for the purpose of informing the greater public. Several presentations were held, presenters included Ellen Miler. co-founder of „Sunlight“ foundation (United States); Bojana Milošević C.R.T.A. (Serbia), Elena Ignatova and Irina Shumadieva Metamorfozis (Macedonia) , Tijana Cvjetićanin C.A. „Zašto ne“ (BiH); and Mihai Lupescu from MediaPoint-a.

POINT conference offered presentations on projects involved in fostering transparency of government data, monitoring budgets and public expenditures, visualizing data, and specific initiatives for building online communities, including projects for enabling free access to information. Presentations were held by Martin Keegan “Open Knowledge foundation“ (UK); Marko Rakar “Vjetrenjača” association  (Croatia); Sylwia Presley  Editor of Global Voice in Polish language (Poland); David Cabo Pro Bono Publico (Spain);  Valon Brestovci FLOSSK-a (Kosovo); Boris Brkan from C.A. “Zašto ne” (BiH);

The subject of monitoring election processes by civil society and media was covered through several presentations and a round table discussion. Presentations were held by Darko Brkan C.A. “Zašto ne” (BiH); Julius van de Laar, political strategist and communication expert (United States); Mislav Bago „Nova TV“ (Croatia);  Dragan Koprivica, „Centar  za demokratsku tranziciju“ (Montenegro).

The theme of education and informing featured several presentations on the use of new technologies for educational purposes. Presenters included; Jeremy Druker executive director and co-founder of Transitionsa (Czech Republic) ; Igor Sovilj artist and cultural manager from Prijedor (BiH); Edin Mehić entrepreneur, angel investor, and founder of (BiH); Haris Ališić Al Jazeera Balkans social media department (BiH).

As new media played a vital role during the revolution in Egypt, a discussion was held with Egyptian activists who participated in the Egyptian spring of 2011, including; Samir Bassem, Salma S. Roshdy, Emada Ramadan, Ramyem Abdelhafiz, and Marianne Nagui.

Guests from Egypt spoke on the beginnings of revolution which started in 2006 with a rapid growth of blogging via social media where themes of corruption and activities of the former regimes were discussed.

Presentations on the use of new technologies for non-violent movements were held by Richard Medić  „Happeningo“ , Daryn Cambridge  „International center for non-violent conflict“, and Aldo Merkoci „MJAFT!“. Ana Kuliberda presented „Tech Soup“ programs  intended for social innovators. A presentation on organization and mobilization of movements was held by Jaroslav Valuch, co-founder and coordinator of „Standby Task Force“  an online volunteer community for live mapping, and Lauren Colleta director of „Common Cause“ international program.

The 2012 POINT conference also featured two panel discussions;  „Open Government Data – help or threat to governments?“ and „Social responsibility of web portals“, which were attended by representatives of civil society organizations, political parties, and chief editors of the leading web portals in South-East Europe.