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Right to Know across Europe: impacts and lessons learned

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Join us to celebrate the International Day for Universal Access to Information with this special TICTeC Show & Tell event

About this event

TICTeC stands for ‘The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference’, and since 2015 mySociety has convened an international cohort of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, philanthropists and tech giants to examine the effectiveness of digital interventions to enhance public participation, transparency and accountability.

Many digital interventions to enhance government transparency rely on Access to Information, or Freedom of Information (FOI), laws. 28th September is the International Day for Universal Access to Information, and to mark the occasion mySociety is hosting a special TICTeC Show & Tell event to explore the use and impacts of this vital democratic right, and how civic technology and research bolsters it.

We’ll hear seven-minute Show & Tells from the below journalists, campaigners and researchers.

There will be ample opportunity for attendees to ask questions during the discussion, with the speakers' responses shared after the event.

Show & Tell topics and speakers:

The FOI Clearing House: an openDemocracy investigation into freedom of information at the heart of government

Jenna Corderoy (openDemocracy, UK)

openDemocracy's Jenna Corderoy will discuss her recent investigations into the Clearing House, a unit within the UK Cabinet Office that "advises on" and "coordinates" FOI requests referred by government departments. openDemocracy has uncovered alarming evidence that the Clearing House blocks the release of information and causes lengthy delays. openDemocracy's investigations and subsequent FOI tribunal hearing over Clearing House documents have sparked a UK parliamentary inquiry.

Lost in Europe: deploying the Alaveteli network on a cross-border investigation

Liset Hamming (The Dutch-Flemish Association for Investigative Journalists (VVOJ), Netherlands)

Ten European FOI sites were used in this Netherlands-based investigation into the thousands of children who go missing as they migrate across European borders. This FOI part of a journalistic investigative research project is led by an Alaveteli insider, running the recently launched Dutch Alaveteli site. Hear about her user experiences and national FOI differences.

Watch this space (and pay for it): Alaveteli-driven exposure of the misuse of public resources in an election campaign

Dražen Hoffmann (Gong, Croatia)

In April 2021, Gong used the Alaveteli-powered platform ImamoPravoZnati.org (lit. WeHaveTheRightToKnow.org) to unveil the practice of funding a YouTube channel by the mayors and country prefect of a county in Croatia, ahead of the May 2021 local elections. The quaint footage of seaside towns and villages, and boasting of successful projects, in fact concealed a misuse of public resources for the purposes of incumbents’ campaigns.

This practice of non-transparent media buying is one that Gong addresses continuously.

The presentation will focus on how watchdog organisations and citizens can use FOI platforms to fight malfeasance in campaign finance.

Regulating Access to Information

Alex Parsons (mySociety, UK)

The practical reality of Access to Information laws depends on how effective the system of regulation and appeal is. In this Show & Tell, mySociety will discuss their work comparing different systems of regulation in place within the UK's devolved nations, and share parts of their upcoming research comparing systems of regulation across Europe.

Running an Access to Information platform in France: obstacles and success stories

Samuel Goëta (MaDada.fr, France)

Open data in France somehow looks like the Pisa Tower: a beautiful building (open data is mandatory by law), but leaning because its foundations (the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)) are in bad shape. In this presentation, Samuel will speak about the weaknesses of FOIA in France, how the French Alaveteli platform madada.fr manages them and the first success stories of the platform.

A change in the law for school starters in Scotland — through FOI

Patricia Anderson (Give Them Time, Scotland)

In this Show & Tell, Patricia from the Give Them Time campaign will speak about how Freedom of Information requests, sent via WhatDoTheyKnow.com, helped them get the law changed, so that more children in Scotland can benefit from more time at nursery school. Thanks to the campaign, from 2023, all children in Scotland who legally defer their school start date, as they're not quite ready, will be automatically entitled to a further year of nursery funding.

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Who is this event for?

Anyone interested in the use and effectiveness of Access to Information laws around Europe, and how digital tools can enhance this. We think the event will be of particular interest to journalists, campaigners, researchers, elected government representatives, civil servants, civic tech practitioners and researchers, funders and software developers.

Further info

Joining instructions (we'll be using Zoom) will be sent with your confirmation email once you register. Please direct any questions about this event to Gemma Moulder at gemma@mysociety.org.

Attendees may need to register for a free Zoom account and download their software. To understand more about how Zoom uses your data, please read their Privacy Policy in advance.

This online event is guided by our Code of Conduct. By registering for this event, you agree to abide by this Code of Conduct. Should anyone violate this they will be removed.

The event will be recorded.

By registering, you consent to receiving communications from mySociety about this event, both before and after, and you agree to the sharing of your name, organisation & title with the organiser mySociety.

The information you provide when registering for an event will be retained by mySociety and will be used to record attendance at the event. To understand more about how mySociety uses your data, please see our Privacy Policy.

For details of future TICTeC events, please see sign up for updates.

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Organiser mySociety

Organiser of Right to Know across Europe: impacts and lessons learned

mySociety are a UK based not-for-profit who help people be active citizens with technology, research and data, used by individuals, journalists, and civil society in over 40 countries around the world.

 

 

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