Workshop – ¿Se puede acabar con la evasión y la elusión fiscal?

26 November, Madrid, Spain

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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.

For more information, please read Victoria’s Power Point presentation ppt_logo

“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

ogp_annualHelen 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

OGPHelen 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

parisHelen 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

gigappVictoria Anderica attended a debate, organised by GIGAPP, the Spanish OGP IRM researchers, on ‘the progress of the Spanish OGP Action Plan: advances, mistakes, remaining questions and proposals’.

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

gongHelen 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

vienna1Helen 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

kimAccess 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

ombudsman1To 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

ponentes1Victoria 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

IMG_20130924_094923Access 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

comissioners_conference

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

OKCHelen 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_BIRN_2013Helen 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

eu_transparency_workshopPam 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_UNCACLydia 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

Andreas_Rome_sRepresenting 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.

You can see the video of his speech and final comments here (dubbed in Italian).

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

OGP_BosniaHelen 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

HD_Warsaw_speech_2Helen 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

LydiaViena13Access 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

IMG_2101Pam 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