Events, Conferences, Seminars, Campaign Meetings
Access Info's team of staff, consultants and board members participate in events such as conferences and seminars. These face to face meetings with civil society, journalists, government representatives, academics and members of the general public are an important way of discussing and raising awareness of the right to information.
On this page you can read about recent events and find links to more material such as declarations, reports and video footage. This news on events will also help you to identify who is doing what to promote the right of access to information and who are the key contacts in your country or region.
Investigative Journalism Summer School
24-31 August 2014, Becici, Montenegro
Helen Darbishire will be attending the BIRN Summer School for Investigative Journalists to teach about access to information applied to journalism, in Becici, Montenegro. More information on this event here.
Panel on Lobbying Regulation and Transparency
17 July 2014, Berlin, Germany
Helen Darbishire will be taking part in the panel on Lobbying Regulation and Transparency at the OKFEst in Berlin. More information coming soon...
'Planeta Azúcar': '25 gramos' Sugar Regulation Campaign Conferences
26 June 2014, Madrid, Spain
Victoria Anderica attended the conference series 'Planeta Azúcar' to speak about the invisibility of the sugar industry lobby as part of the '25 gramos' campaing, in Madrid. More information on this event here.
European Experiences on Access to Information and reuse of information
25 June 2014, Warsaw, Poland
Andreas Pavlou was in Warsaw presenting 'European Experiences on Access to Information and reuse of information' in an event organised by Poland Cities on the Internet. He presented the different ways that information has been reused in Europe to protect human rights, increase innovation, and improve public services. More information on this event here.
Legal Leaks trainings: enhancing media accountability
2-16 June 2014, South East Europe
Helen Darbishire and Victoria Anderica led a series of five Legal Leaks Trainings in Prishtina (Kosovo), Tirana (Albania), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Podgorica (Montenegro) and Belgrade (Serbia). More information on these events here.
VI Technical Conferences on Local Administration Archives
22 May 2014, Málaga, Spain
Victoria Anderica attended the VI Jornadas técnicas de Archivos en la Administración Local (VI Edition of Local Administration Archives Technical Conferences), and will be speaking about 'Transparency, Documents and Archives', in Málaga, Spain. More information on this event here.
Debate: 'Europa para las personas' ('Europe for the people')
8 May 2014, Burgos, Spain
Fernando Remiro participated in the debate 'Europa para las personas. ¿Para qué votamos en Europa?'('Europe for the people. Why do we vote in Europe?'), organised by the Asamblea Ciudadana de Burgos. More information on this event here.
Open Government Partnership Europe Regional Meeting
7 May 2014, Dublin, Ireland
Helen Darbishire and Victoria Anderica attended the Open Government Partnership Europe Regional Meeting, and spoke about OGP standards and indicators (on May 8) and access to information laws (May 7), in Dublin. More information on this event here.
VIII International Journalism Festival
30 April 2014, Perugia, Italy
Helen Darbishire attended the VIII Edition of the International Journalism Festival, and spoke about 'FOIA for Italy: now's the time' (on Wednesday April 30), and 'Lobbies and power: tools for transparency and accountability' (Thursday May 1), in Perugia, Italy. More information on this event here.
Lobbying Transparency Conference in the European Parliament
10 April 2014, Brussels, Belgium
Helen Darbishire talked about EU transparency and access to documents in the 'Lobbying, corruption and lack of transparency in the EU. The dark side of democracy?' conference, organised by The Greens/EFA, in the European Parliament, in Brussels. More information on this event here. You can watch the full conference video here.
Discussing Spain's Transparency Law with Spanish State Secretary José Luis Ayllón
2 April 2014, Madrid, Spain
Helen Darbishire and Victoria Anderica, from Access Info Europe, and representatives from Fundación Civio, met with State Secretary José Luis Ayllón, in La Moncloa, in Madrid. Read about this meeting here.
European Conference, "Towards the People's Europe"
21 March 2014, Madrid, Spain
Pam Bartlett Quintanilla participated in the conference organised by the Green European Foundation (GEF) and the Fundación Equo, "Hacia una Europa de las Personas", in Madrid. Find more information about this event here. You can watch the full conference video here.
Open Government Conferences
12 March 2014, Barcelona, Spain
Launching campaign of the “Citizens Network, X Party”
7 February 2014, Málaga, Spain
Victoria Anderica attended the Launching Campaign of the “Citizens Network” where she gave a talk about Access to Information as a Fundamental Right and the negative aspects of the new Spanish Transparency Law, organised by the X Party.
Advising the European Ombudsman on its Register of Documents
4 February 2014, Madrid, Spain
On 4 February 2014, Access Info's EU Transparency campaigner, communications manager and interns took part in a conference call with the European Omudbman's office to test the beta version of the European Ombudmsan's new online register of documents. The four participants from the Ombudsman's office were Ian Harper (Secretariat General), Peter Bonar (responsible for transparency issues), Mark Amir Tahmasseb, and Benjamin Paul Hagard.
After a 40 minute presentation on the functioning of the register, the Access Info team tested the website from a users' perspective and then provided the European Ombudsman's office with feedback on how best to ensure that the right of access to documents is fully respected.
Some of the main points covered were: the usability of the site, ease of navigation, language issues, clarity of presentation of the documents, and the need to upload detailed information about the right of access to EU documents information on timelines and the possibilities for appeal.
Access Info will publicise the launch of the new register of documents once it is ready to go live, and we will work to encourage other EU agencies to set up similar registers of documents in the absence of a common EU register.
Workshop - Transparency in Spain
30 January 2014, Ávila, Spain
Andreas Pavlou attended the workshop "Transparency as a Public Policy" where he gave a talk about the "Right of Access to Information", organised by "Meetings for a Critical Thought Among Citizens". Andreas rose awareness about the pros and cons of the new Spanish Transparency law and the importance of having the Right to Ask.
Meeting held by UN Special Rapporteur on the right of freedom of opinion and expression
20-21 January 2014, Madrid, Spain
Helen Darbishire attended and participated in the conference held by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of freedon of opinion and expression, in Madrid, Spain.
III Forum on Transparency and Good Governance
20-21 January 2014, Madrid, Spain
Victoria Anderica attended the III Forum on Transparency and Good Governance, organised by the Chile-Spain Foundation, on "The Transparency Law: Main challenges for its implementation" which it was held in the Spanish Senate.
Workshop - ¿Se puede acabar con la evasión y la elusión fiscal?
26 November, Madrid, Spain
Pam Bartlett participated in the workshop "¿Se puede acabar con la evasión y la elusión fiscal?" on tax evasion and offshore companies, organized by OxfamIntermón and Inspiraction. The workshop was part of a project called "STOP evasión fiscal".
International Congress "Open Government. Theory and Reality"
21-22 November, Valencia, Spain
Victoria Anderica participated at the International Congress "Open Government. Theory and Reality", where she talked about Open Government Standards in Spain.
"Participation, Transparency and Fight Against Corruption"
16 November, Barcelona, Spain
Victoria Anderica participated at the event "Participation, Transparency and Fight Against Corruption", organised by the Pirate Party.
Press conference "What's in a Promise? Assessing if the Commission has tackled corporate dominance in its Expert Groups"
6 November, Brussels, Belgium
Access Info as a part of ALTER EU contributed to a press conference "What's in a Promise? Assessing if the Commission has tackled corporate dominance in its Expert Groups" in Brussels. The aim was to discuss the newest report exposing the corporate dominance of the Commission's expert groups.
Open Government Partnership's 2013 Annual Summit
31 October - 1 November 2013, London, UK
Helen Darbishire, Victoria Anderica and Andreas Pavlou as a part of Access Info participated at the Open Government Partnership's (OGP) 2013 Annual Summit which was opened by British Prime Minister David Cameron. The Annual Summit involved a large number of sessions and talks concerning open data, the right to information, government integrity, fiscal transparency, empowering citizens and natural resource transparency.
In several sessions Access Info discussed the similar and different European experiences on transparency giving an example of Sweden which has the oldest ATI (Access to Information) law, and Spain which still has none. The important issue of data retention and privacy was also emphasised by Helen Darbishire: "There are two big concerns. One, there are members of the OGP which are really not respecting fundamental human rights, and second, governments that are generally more progressive with regard to human rights have been violating their citizens' right to privacy on a massive scale. Those two concerns together create a real challenge that the OGP has to address if it is to have any credibility or legitimacy."
More than 1000 delegates from 73 countries including the 61 current Open Government Partnership (OGP) partners came to share their experiences, discuss progress and show how openness and transparency are making a difference to their citizens at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Annual Summit. The Summit agenda encouraged participants to learn from each other about what is and is not working, reflect on results, set new commitments for greater openness, and demonstrate what transparency means to them.
Links of Youtube chanel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bte2uz_m-04&list=PLMDgGB-pYxdFNupM0kiHFPjwv8by2alxY
Open Government Partnership's Civil Society Day
30 October 2013, London, UK
Helen Darbishire, Victoria Anderica and Andreas Pavlou attended the Open Government Partnership's (OGP) Civil Society Day held the day before the London Summit. Helen was part of the panel on two sessions: "Proactive transparency" talking about setting proactive transparency standards in OGP sectors, and "Don't complain, campaign", where she discussed working with the OGP system in order for civil society to successfully campaign on OGP issues.
Third Global Conference on Transparency Research
25 October 2013, Paris, France
Helen Darbishire attended the Third Global Conference on Transparency Research and participated in the Plenary Session "Assessing the State of Transparency in the European Union". Helen, together with Doru Frantescu (Votewatch), Gerard Legris (European Commission Secretariat General), Fergal O'Reagan (EU Ombudsman), Ronny Patz (Transparency International) and civil society people, discussed the transparency of EU. Helen Darbishire stated that the dilemma of EU is effectiveness of decision making process vs access to documents and transparency. According to Helen, there is more ignorance in old Europe than in new democracies about access to documents.
The 1st LAPSI 2.0 Thematic Network Conference
24 October 2013, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Helen Darbishire attended the 1st LAPSI (Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information) 2.0 Thematic Network conference, which involved the issues on PSI (Public Sector Information) and open data. Helen, together with Rolf Nordqvist (Former Chairman, PSI Alliance), Yvo Volman (Deputy Head 'Access to Information' Unit, European Commission), Natasa Pirc (Slovenian Information Commissioner) and civil society people, discussed the impact of the new directive on PSI re-use in Europe. Helen, emphasizing the central role of the right of access to information, stressed that the PSI directive should tackle problems in the field for data reuse. "The right of access to information and freedom of expression themselves should push governments to open up their dataset"- Helen Darbishire said at the conference.
Debate on the progress of the Spanish OGP Action Plan
23 October 2013, Madrid, Spain
Meeting with senators
3, 7, 9 October 2013, Madrid, Spain
Victoria Anderica, as the part of Twitter campaign aimed at Senators, had several meetings with various political groupings such as Partido Socialista, Grupo Entesa and Grupo Poular in the Senate. #senadotransparente
GONG's conference "Information Commissioner - in limbo".
30 September 2013, Zagreb, Croatia
Helen Darbishire attended a round-table conference "Information Commissioner - in limbo" at the Croatian Parliament. Together with the Members of Parliament, Representatives of Ministries, candidates for the future Information Commissioner, journalists and civil society people, Helen discussed on election of the Information Commissioner in Croatia and the full implementation of the new Act on right to access information. Since Croatia is at the point to implement the role of Information Commissioner, Helen's arguments involved the advantages of Information Commissioner and why it is worth to dedicate money on good and strong Commissioner who would be effective in promoting transparency in Croatia. More to read - Interview with Helen Darbishire in Croatia.
Event for International Right to Know Day
28 September 2013, Vienna, Austria
Helen Darbishire talked about the global access to information movement in the first formal event of the newly created NGO 'Forum Informationsfreiheit' in Austria. In her speech, Helen noted that Austria currently holds the lowest ranking on the RTI Rating with 37 out of 150 points, and she challenged Austrian officials to act, such as in signing the Council of Europe Convention on access to official documents, and joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP). In celebration of International Right to Know Day, a cake was presented at the event with the official poster. #transparenzgesetz
Freedom Not Fear Events
27-30 September 2013, Brussels, Belgium
Access Info's Kim Netzell participated in the series of Freedom Not Fear events on the topic of data protection and retention, following the scandal after the Snowden leak. Kim, with the activists, also went to the European Parliament for the LIBE-hearing which discussed how in today's world mass-surveillance is being conducted by governments and enterprises as well as how to increase the protection and support of whisleblowers. #FNF13
EU transparency: Where are we now?
27 September 2013, Brussels, Belgium
To celebrate International Right to Know Day 2013, Helen Darbishire gave a speech entitled "Latest developments in EU transparency" at the annual event organised by the European Ombudsman in the European Parliament in Brussels, alongside panelists from ALTER-EU and VoteWatch. The debate, which involved Vice-President of the European Parliament Rainer Wieland and transparency Commissioner Maros Sefcovic, centred around the current levels of transparency in the EU institutions, and what might be done to make the European Union more accessible and transparent for citizens. #11rtkdEO
Sexto Encuentro Internacional de Investigación en Información y Comunicación
25 September 2013, Madrid, Spain
Victoria Anderica gave a speech about the necessity of transparency and the right of access to data at the event "Sexto Encuentro Internacional de Investigación en Información y Comunicación". The event was organised and held at the Cumplutense University of Madrid. At the event, for studying journalists, talks were also given by representatives from Reuters, El País and OKFN.
Transparency of Media Ownership
24 September 2013, Brussels, Belgium
Access Info Europe and the Open Society Media Program organised a strategy session on the "Transparency of media ownership" in Europe, together with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The event was attended by over 40 delegates from the European Commission, European Parliament, PACE, the Council of Europe Steering Committee for Media and Information Society and civil society and media representatives. Participants discussed ideas for improving the transparency of the owners of media companies and discussion centred around the draft recommendations on transparency of media ownership prepared by Access Info Europe and the Open Society Media Program, which are currently open for public consultation: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TransparencyMediaOwnership
8th International Conference of Information Commissioners
18-20 September 2013, Berlin, Germany
Helen Darbishire participated at the 8th International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC 2013), where together with more than 150 representatives of policy, science, administration and non-governmental organisations discussed on current issues on transparency and openness of governmental action. Helen agreed on the statement that privacy is growing threat to right to information and is misused by Governments at the discussion struggling between the balance of access to information and privacy. #ICIC2013
Debate: Participación ciudadana en las elecciones europeas
18 September 2013, Madrid, Spain
Andreas Pavlou and Kim Netzell participated in a debate held in Madrid, organised by CECU, on increasing citizen participation in the upcoming European Union elections in 2014. In the debate, one of the measures that was highlighted by Access Info and others, following talks from politicians and guests, was the important need for the EU to promote transparent practices in decision-making processes and for information and documents to be made easily available and accessible for all citizens. #participaeneuropa
Open Knowledge Conference
17 September 2013, Geneva, Switzerland
Helen Darbishire attended the Open Knowledge Conference (OKC) in Geneva where contributed to "Raising the bar for ambition and quality in OGP: workshop to develop a 'Civil Society National OGP Review'". At the workshop the main discussion was held on the ambition and quality within OGP (Open Government Partnership) national processes, the eligibility threshold and how civil society can contribute to stimulate quality and ambition in the spirit of partnership. Helen, claiming that civil society should be more demanding, argued that many areas have already many standards for the open government. #OKCon
BIRN summer school of investigative reporting
25-31 August 2013, Bled Lake, Slovenia
Helen Darbishire led trainings on access to information at the BIRN summer school of investigative reporting, Slovenia. Helen gave a two-hour training session "Using Freedom of Information Laws in Europe" for journalists from Central and Eastern Europe. The training introduced and explained the access to information framework at the EU level as well as how to make requests for information to the EU. The Legal Leaks Toolkit was disseminated to the participants, and is available in English, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Italian, Hungarian, Macedonian and Albanian.
Meeting with EU institutions
30 July 2013, Brussels, Belgium
Helen Darbishire and representatives of Transparency International attended a meeting with public officials from the transparency units of the Council of Europe, European Commission and European Parliament to discuss the 12 information requests submitted through AsktheEU.org earlier this year about data on requests for access to EU documents.
The information required from requesters and the institutional procedures for processing documents requests was also discussed at the meeting held in Brussels.
UPEC program - "Rights and Liberties menaces and opportunities"
3 July 2013, Barcelona, Spain
Victoria Anderica gave a talk about "Rights and Liberties menaces and opportunities" at the “Repensar-ho tot, actuar junts, actuar juntes” program in Barcelona.
Association of Parliamentary Journalists Summer School
2 July 2013, Aranjuez, Spain
Lydia Medland gave a presentation at the Asociation of Parliamentary Journalists Summer School in Aranjuez.
Summer school - "Ethics, Transparency and democracy"
1-2 July 2013, Barcelona, Spain
Victoria Anderica spoke at the summer school "Ethics, Transparency and democracy", the course considered two objectives: first, to provide a forum for discussion of ethics as a key element, applied to the development of democracy, and on the other hand, further transparency are essential to strengthen the trust value of in public institutions.
EU Transparency Workshop at the first European Citizens Summit
24-25 June 2013, Brussels, Belgium
Pam Bartlett participated on the EU Transparency Workshop about the right of access to EU documents, the need for citizen participation in the decision-making process, and the importance of a free and pluralistic media.
Tactical Tech's Info-Activism Camp on 'Evidence & Influence'
20-23 June 2013, Italy
Lydia Medland participated in the 2013 Info Activism Camp on ´Evidence & Influence´ exploring the ways in which digital technologies, data and visuals can be used to artfully present evidence that influences debates, controversies and issues.
Implementation Review Group of the United Nations Convention against Corruption
30 May 2013, Viena, Austria
Lydia Medland and other members of the UNCAC Coalition met in Vienna for their annual meeting to evaluate the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption. Access Info published an article explaining the conclusions of this meeting where you can also find Lydia's intervention. Find the article, here.
Catalunya Ombudsman's meeting
29 May 2013, Barcelona, Spain
Helen Darbishire participated in a round table with politicians from different political parties, the Ararteko (Basque Ombudsman) and the Navarra Ombudsman. They discussed issues in Spain as well as what should be done in Catalunya concerning the access to information law that will be approved by the Catalan Paliament.
Open Government: prospettive e opportunità
29 May 2013, Roma, Italy
Representing Access Info, Andreas Pavlou gave a talk on the opportunites for improving access to information and citizen participation in decision-making through the Open Government Partnership in Rome for Forum PA 2013. Andreas talked about the importance for (Italy's) public administration to improve the legal framework of access to information, increase proactive publication as well as increase citizen participation and collaboration with civil society, particularly in the development of the OGP national action plans.
Information Commissioners conference
27 May 2013, Postdam, Germany
Helen Darbishire participated with other experts from Central and Eastern Europe at the "Open Data - Complementary Concept or Restriction of Freedom of Information?" International Symposium held in Potsdam. It described the current developments in European Law and attempted to clarify the relation between freedom of information, open data and re-use of public sector information. The event was the opportunity to contrast the progress that has been made in some countries with concrete cases like Croatia, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, Slovakia... Helen talked about the right of access to information and the consequences of having it.
Request Initiative event
22 May 2013, London, UK
Helen Darbishire gave a talk at the Request Initiative event which included a journalist panel, debates and questions about the future of transparency, the role of investigative journalism in today’s world and the situation of access to information in UK. More information, here.
Open Government Partnership event
17 May 2013, Sarajevo, Bosnia
Helen Darbishire attended an Open Government Partnership meeting in Saravejo to discuss the reforms of the Bosnian Access to Information law and analyse the proposals of amendments to this law with the purpose of bringing it into line with the Council of Europe Convention that Bosnia ratified. The analyse done in Sarajevo will be launched in the following days...
SocialTIC: technologies for the social change
16 May 2013, Madrid, Spain
Pam Bartlett gave a talk on the concept of "accountability" in the first part of the event organised by EAPN-Spain, and presented to the public some digital tools and projects from Access Info and other organisations, like AsktheEU.org or LobbyPlag.eu to promote accountability and transparency in the UE.
You can see the video of the event here, the pictures here and the Twitter document to follow all the comments sent about the event, here.
Pamela's presentation on tools promoting accountability in the EU, available here.
OSCE: The Human Dimension Seminar on the Media Freedom Legal Framework
13 May 2013, Warsaw, Poland
Helen Darbishire attended the seminar organised by the he OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, to discuss the implementation of relevant OSCE commitments on media freedom and pluralism. Read more about the Seminar, here.
Conference on the right of access to information as a citizens’ right
6 May 2013, Bilbao, Spain
Helen Darbishire travelled to Bilbao to meet the Ararteko, the Basque Ombudsman, to speak about the problems of Spanish public administration, the new transparency law that is being discussed in Congress, and its implementation in the Basque Country as well as how to improve transparency in the Ararteko itself. The Director of Access Info also talked about the situation of transparency in Spain in various interviews carried out on Basque radio, television and other media such as Cope Bilbao, Onda Vasca and EITB... Finally she gave the main speech at the event ‘Conference on the right of access to information as a citizens’ right’ organised by the Ararteko in the Palacio Yohn de Bilbao. Helen talked about the right of access to information and freedom of expression, commenting also on the state of access to environmental information and the treatment of journalists in Spain.
Launch of the Diritto di Sapere's report
25 April 2013, Perugia, Italy
Victoria Anderica and the Diritto di Sapere team presented in Perugia the final report on the situation of the Right of Access to Information and the state of transparency in Italy at the International Journalism Festival 2013. The event was tweeted under the hashtag #ijf13. For more information, read this article.
Please, find the report here.
You can see the video of the event, here.
The 6th Fundamental Rights Platform meeting
24-26 April 2013, Vienna, Austria
Access Info was represented by Lydia Medland at the 6th Fundamental Rights Platform meeting from 24-26 April 2013. The meeting is an annual event which provides an opportunity for civil society organisations to engage with the work of the fundamental rights agency and to share expertise and experiences from human rights work being done by NGOs and civil society networks across the European Union.
Access Info held a participative workshop called, "No time for for questions?! The right to ask and the right to know about human rights". The participants identified the information that they needed for their everyday human rights work and then grouped this into categories that showed where this information may be available from. A group discussion was held on the various challenges in accessing particular types of information and experiences were shared about where information requests could be useful. The participants were all given a copy of Access Info's "Guide on Access to EU Documents".
For more information about the meeting aims, click here.
General Assembly of the European Coalition for Corporate Justice
24-25 April 2013, Brussels, Belgium
Pam Bartlett attended the General Assembly of the ECCJ, the European Coalition for Corporate Justice, of which Access Info is a member. At the GA held in Brussels, with the other coalition members, Access Info discussed strategies around the three principle ECCJ campaigns: - Access to Justice for victims of abuse by multinational companies - The obligation of companies to inform people about the environmental and human rights impacts of their actions, known as ‘Non-financial Reporting’. - Corporate ethics (Human Rights due dilligence): companies should be conscious of the impacts they have. The second campaign was the most debated, being the most topical issues since the European Commission launched a regulatory proposal on the information that companies should disclose. The Assembly lasted two days and was a good opportunity to debate, define strategies and plan action plans between all coalition members.
European Year of Citizens 2013 - "It's our Europe: Let's get active!"
23 April 2013, Brussels, Belgium
Pamela Bartlett attended the event in Brussels organised by the European Ombudsman, on citizen participation in European Union issues. The first part of the event permitted reflection on citizen participation in finding solutions to the European crisis, whilst in the second part, various civil society organisations presented distinct citizen initiatives such as one against the privatisation of water. Access Info took advantage of the occasion to launch the Citizens’ Report on the European Union as part of the ALTER Citizens project, also on citizen participation in the EU. For more details on the event, click here.
Inaugural Conference – Data facing darkness. Knowledge for a better world.
22 April 2013, Madrid, Spain
Helen Darbishire gave a talk at the programmed event for Big Data Week in Madrid on 22 April on ‘Data facing darkness’. You can see the talk given by Helen through this video, 30min into the video, and the event schedule on the same page.
Guardian Master Class
13-14 April 2013, London, UK
Helen Darbishire gave two classes to 34 students of the Masters course given by the Guardian newspaper. She distributed the Leagal Leask Toolkit to students and taught them ‘Ten Top Tips’ for journalists on access to information. You can take a look at the powerpoint as part of the talk Helen gave, by clicking here. Please, find all the information about the Master Class and the speakers, here.
George Soros. The crisis and the future of open societies in Europe.
11 April 2013, Barcelona, Spain
Helen Darbishire atended the Conference organsied by the George Soros Foundation in Barcelona, on the occasion of the opening of hte new Open Soceity Initative for Europe Foundation (OSIFE) led by Jordi Vaquer. The new foundation will be dedicated to human rights and the impact of the economic crisis on democracies and open societies in Europe. Helen later met the Catalan Ombudsman, the Síndic de Greuges, and other NGOs. Videos and more information, here.
ALTER EU's General Assembly: 'Standing up to big business lobbies: Reclaiming Europe for the public interest
10-11 April 2013, Institute of Cultural Affairs, Brussels, Belgium
Pam Bartlett attended the ALTER-EU annual meeting as member of the directive committee of the coalition. She participated in two days of scheduled activities with members of other organizations, including Quadrature du Net and ATTAC Germany, sharing strategies, campaigns and examples of organized resistance.
The first day, ALTER-EU outlined its four key campaigns: Lobbying regulation, stricter regulation of the “revolving door” phenomenon, transparency and representation in expert groups of the Commission as well as strengthening Codes of Conduct in the EU. Later, attendees participated in groups in the four workshops offered: tobacco industry lobbying (DalliGate), European legislation on data privacy, European Initiative against water privatization and finance in the EU (Finance Watch). That same day, in the afternoon, the participants to the ALTER-EU’s assembly started a "Lobby Tour" focusing on the recent Dalligate, reviewing the failures and lack of transparency around the resignation of the Health Commissioner. The investigation report of the case has not been published and could contain irregularities, therefore, the civil society organizations are calling for its release.
The second day, Pam Bartlett moderated a public event which involved MEPs, a member of the European Commission and civil society to draw conclusions from the Dalli case and drew lessons for preventing conflicts of interest . The event hashtag on Twitter is # lobbycracy and you can see the video of the all event here. After the event, participants created group strategies to continue to seize the opportunity offered by the next European elections, and lobbying registration review scheduled in June, to get a mandatory lobby register, stricter regulations for European officers and greater controls of the "revolving door" phenomenon.
Information Day in Madrid: Europe for Citizens and local government aid
19 March 2013, Madrid, Spain
The aim of the conference"Europe for Citizens and local government aid" was that the organizations that have received funds from the European Commission share their experiences with local government staff. Pamela Bartlett explained how to make a request for funds, step by step, through this power point presentation.
To see the picture of the event, click here
Seminar session on Access to Public Information and Human Rights
19 March 2013,Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
On 19 March Lydia Medland from Access Info held a talk for journalism students on the right of access to information and human rights. The talk consisted of an introduction to the right of access to information internationally and a discussion on how it can be of use to journalists and human rights researchers. The discussion that followed included questions on how to deal with responses that do not reflect accurate information and how to appeal in various countries.
Transparency Law and Access Info work, University Villanueva
6 March 2013,Villanueva (Madrid), Spain
As part of a course on the ethics of journalism, Lydia Medland from Access Info gave a talk for final year journalism students about the right of access to information worldwide and in the Spanish case. During the talk, and in the debate with the students that followed, the focus was on the use of the right to information as an instrumental right and as a tool for journalists in their research and everyday work.
Meeting with Members of the Andalucian Government (Junta de Andalucía)
15 February 2013, Seville, Spain
Helen Darbishire and Victoria Anderica met with members of the Andalucian government in Seville on 15 February to advise the government on the drafting of a transparency law in Andalucia. There they also discussed the mission of Access Info, to defend the right to freedom of information, and also the 10 principles of the Pro Action Coalition.
To see the full description of the meeting,click here.
The Personal Democracy Forum in Poland (Central America and Eastern Europe)
1-2 February 2013, Warsaw, Poland
The Personal Democracy Forum, established in 2004, organizes regular meetings in countries all around the world to discuss ways to improve democracies. Helen Darbishire from Access Info participated in the most recent forum in Warsaw where experts discussed the relationship between the internet and open democracies. The event was organised by Personal Democracy Media in collaboration with Fundacja ePaństwo (EPF), the recipient of the European Sector of Public Information Award in 2011 for their outstanding parliamentary monitoring portal, Sejmomter.pl.
To view videos from the forum, click here.
Inaugural Transparency and Access to Information Web Session
23 January 2013, Barcelona, Spain
On 23 January, Victoria Anderica spoke about the situation regarding freedom of access to information in Spain in the event organised by Nova Innovació Social in Barcelona. Victoria also spoke about transparency, participation, accountability and new technologies as the key to establishing open governments.
To hear the conclusions, click here.
To see pictures of the event, click here.
Access to Information Workshop on Access to Information for Journalists and Members of the General Public
17 and 18 January 2013, Milan and Rome, Italy
On 17 and 18 January 2013, Helen Darbishire, Victoria Anderica and Diritto di Sapere taught journalists,bloggers, members of the general public and social organisations about the concept of freedom to access information and the state of the right to access information in Italy. They introduced the participants to the Italian version of the Legal Leaks Toolkit which was launched during the event in Milan and later in Rome. Diritto di Sapere created the Kit with the help of Ernesto Beisario, lawyer and founder of the Italian Open Government Association, and Luca Bolognini, lawyer and president of the Italian Institute for Privacy.
Participation, ethics and transparency: what citizens want from Brussels
Friday 16 November 2012, Residence Palace, Polak Room, Brussels: 9am – 1pm
The issue of transparency is again high-up on the EU agenda: following the scandal about ex-health and consumer Commissioner Dalli in the last weeks, debates on how to improve the transparency of EU institutions and regain the trust of European citizens have started again.
Discussion of these questions is the goal of this conference organised by the ALTER-Citizens project.
The project strives to create a two-way dialogue and greater trust between European public officials and European citizens and foster enhanced citizen participation in EU decision-making.
In the first session the link between ethics regulation and citizens' trust will discussed: What can be learnt from the European Parliament experience and how can it be used for enhanced citizens' participation in Brussels and EU member states?
The second session will follow-up on these questions and explore avenues for more inclusive citizens' participation and enhanced transparency of EU institutions. It will debate how greater lobbying transparency can be achieved in the EU and how the erosion of trust in EU institutions can be stopped.
Citizen Proposals for Lobby Regulation
Public Debate organized by Access Info Europe, 22 October 2012, Barcelona
Summary and outcomes of the Debate
As a follow-up to the workshop on citizen participation and lobby regulation held in Navacerrada in early September, Access Info Europe organised a public debate in Barcelona on 22 October 2012. The debate was titled Citizen proposals for lobby regulation and was moderated by the communications specialist Antoni Gutiérrez Rubí.
Participants at the open debate were Fernando Golmayo, Vicepresident and Founder of the Spanish Association of Institutional Relations Professionals, Koen Roovers, Coordinator of ALTER-EU (Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation in the EU) and Salvador Milà y Solsona, a member of the Catalan Parliament and representative of the left-wing Parliamentary group Esquerra ICV-EUiA. The position of the conservative party (Partido Popular) was submitted ahead of the debate by Santiago Cervera Soto, the rapporteur on transparency for the Spanish Parliament, and was communicated to the audience during the session by an Access Info staff member, Victoria Anderica.
Both events aim to address the current lack of lobby regulation in the Spanish legal system, whilst articulating new strategies for citizen participation across Europe. This dual-focus on lobbying and participation is due to the popular sentiment that lobbies may exert their influence on politicians and officials in more efficient way than ordinary citizens, and that this can lead to decision-making that does not favour the public interest.
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