How to make government more open and transparent? How to fight against undemocratic governments? Is online “de-radicalization” possible and how to protect privacy online? How did social networks influence results of Brexit? How and why did Donald Trump win presidential election in the US? Did fake news, that were spread from this area, contribute to that? How to fight efficiently against them? These are only small part of topics included in the program of the sixth edition of POINT (Political Accountability and New Technologies) conference, that will be held in Sarajevo from 24-28th of May in the Art cinema Kriterion.

 

POINT 6.0 is the largest conference of this type in the region, that brings together representatives of civil society organizations and activists from the region of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and other parts of the world, who are engaged in using new technologies to advocate responsible, transparent and safe society.

This year’s conference will address the most current international and regional issues and challenges, and will also offer several interesting workshops, Hackaton and Data Stories exhibition, which will be set in Kriterion from 25-28 of May.

Within POINT 6.0 conference, a regional premiere of the musical and theatrical performance “The days of the rebellion” of a famous Russian activist group “Pussy Riot”, and their new project “Pussy Riot Theater”, will be held on 26th of May in the amphitheater of the “Dom Mladih” at 20:30.

As in previous years, among the speakers at the conference, there will be found some of the leading experts in the fields such as conducting political campaigns and political communication, the development and use of tools for advocating open government, and fighting against violent online extremism and privacy, as well as civic activists from the region and the world who advocate responsible and safe society.

On the first day of the conference, on Wednesday 24th of May, Advocacy Day will be held, on which Regional Index of Government Openness in the SEE Region will be presented, while the official opening of the conference will take place on Thursday 25th of May in Art Cinema Kriterion, when the winners of the regional “fact-checking” awards will be announced.

The same day, among other things, we’ll talk about “How to free internet of harrasment and violations of privacy” a presenter on this panel will be Emma Holten, feminist human rights activist from the Denmark and the editor of Friktion magazine. After being a victim of non-consensual pornography in 2011, she became active in fighting the structural oppression and gendered online violence.

On the other hand online radical extremism is one of the challenges that activists are grappling around the world, and special panel discussion will address this. Participants are Omar Ashour, senior Lecturer in Security-Military Studies and Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, he was a senior advisor to the UN and is a regular contributor to media outlets including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, Sky News, CNN and others. Omezzine Khelifa is a Tunisian female activist, president and founder of “Mobdiun – Creative Youth” a non-profit organization that promotes the inclusion of young people in society through art, culture, sport and technology and Jelena Dukarić, head of the Vojvodina Civic Center and an activist in the fields of dealing with the past and transitional justice. Using examples from their own environment, they will try to provide some of the answers to the question of how to fight against violent extremism online and whether “de-radicalization” is possible.

On Friday, 26th of May, Dmitiri Romanovski from TechSoup Europe together with Krzysiek Madejski from ePanstwo Foundation will speak about  Civic Tech Community-Building in CEE / SEE and our TransaprenCEE network.

Scott Carpenter, Managing Director of Jigsaw, will present tools developed in the incubator, which tackles the challenges such as preventing the spread of online propaganda, preventing censorship, digital attacks and violent extremism, as well as improving transparency and accountability in society.“Jigsaw” is a technology incubator in the Google’s company Alphabet, which was created last year from the Google Ideas platform.

He oversees the product and design portfolio as well as project management, and he will give a cross-section of the basic vision of Jigsaw through some of the tools, such as: Project Shield, a tool that provides web-hosting for organizations and helps them to protect their sites against DDoS attacks; Unfiltered.News, map which compares how the individual stories are processed in different countries; ”Conversation AI” and  ”Perspective”, developed in order to prevent online nuisance through comments on web portals but also recently developed Share the Facts tool for combating fake news, applied within Google news.

This will certainly be an opportunity to find out something more about Jigsaw from his first man.

One of the panelists of the POINT 6.0 conference is Thomas Borwick, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Vote Leave online campaign for UK referendum on leaving the EU, which will participate in the panel entitled “Brexit, online campaigns and impact of social media.” His collocutor will be Clare Llewellyn, research fellow within the Neuropolitics Research Lab of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, who analized reaction of social media to Brexit the 2016 UK-EU referendum.

Great interest will surely cause current and comprehensive panel “Fake News and Propaganda”, which will especially reflect on some of the regional and global current cases of spreading fake news.

We’ll hear about false news from Alistair Shawcross from British Legatum Institute, author of a publication entitled Facts We Can Believe In: How to Make Fact-Checking Better”; Goran Rizaov from Macedonian Foundation Metamorphosis,  who will speak about the case of false news factory from Veles; Saška Cvetkovska journalist from Nova TV, who works on the platform Mediapedia – database of media ownership in Macedonia; Marko Dražić, the editor of the Serbian satirical web portal Njuz.net who has managed to “confuse” the regional but also international public with his satirical news, and Marko Gregović founder of social enterprise BRODOTO from Croatia.

There will also be talk about the recent presidential elections in the US on the panel entitled “Elections in the United States – What happened and why.”

On this panel discussion Dejan Vinković from Oraclum, a British-Croatian start-up based in Cambridge, will present a method they used to predict the results of presidential elections in the United States and were almost the only ones who predicted the victory of Donald Trump. The second speaker on this panel discussion will be Julius van de Laar, a German expert on digital media strategy and communications, who worked in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama as the regional GoTV director in Ohio. Van de Laar will give a cross-section of the current-driven Internet campaign for the US presidential elections.

Complete program of POINT 6.0 conference is available HERE.