News Event


PDF PL CEE 2016: Reconnecting Citizens

NE100 Team

PDF PL CEE 2016: Reconnecting Citizens - amazing event organized by New Europe 100 challengers from ePaństwo Foundation.

The Internet was supposed to be a communication revolution. To connect us beyond any level ever possible or imaginable. And yes - more and more things are connected but what about us - the people?

Citizens in democracies empowered by technologies were thought to create civic societies. But something is not working. And we feel obliged to ask the question - why? What does it mean to be engaged citizens? Do we forget to care about basic democratic rules when thinking about detailed ways of integrating various civic groups? We need a platform where we can all agree on - to build on top of it.

Information surrounds us. It reaches us wherever we are. But does it help us or distract us? It’s easier to produce, but much harder to verify. Who do we talk to? Who listens? Who reacts? How do we make information meaningful? And moreover: how to begin a debate on top of it?

When things get uncomfortable we can unfriend or unfollow someone - but does that solve the problem? Or just hide it? By evading conflict, we close ourselves in smaller and smaller circles that are harder to get out from. What was supposed to be one global connected community is now a group of less and less connected tribes.

PDF PL CEE 2016 poses a question of how we can reconnect citizens to restore the public debate. How do we tackle the issue of a growing disconnect between various groups?

It all starts with information. Does it work for or against society?

During the two days of PDF PL CEE 2016 we will listen to 15 talks on Day 1 and participate in over 20 thematic workshops on Day 2.

What is Personal Democracy Forum (PDF)?
Since 2004, the Personal Democracy Forum in New York has been an exceptional opportunity for representatives of NGOs, public administration, activists and journalists to explore how technology affects politics, government and civic life.

The annual conference PDF Poland - Central Eastern Europe, organised in Warsaw since 2013, has become the biggest European event devoted to technology, democracy and civic engagement giving space for participants from more than 25 countries to join the debate and share their experiences.

This year, experts and practitioners from all over the world will focus on the ways radical narratives, particularly prominent in the Internet, lead to ideological divisions and mistrust among citizens and towards the authorities. Together we will analyse various scenarios of reconnecting citizens. We want to focus on finding new methods and standards which could enable media neutrality and foster an effective social dialogue.

On March 17-18, European participants from the Balkans to the Caucasus as well as guests from other continents will gather in Gdańsk, the cradle of democratic movements, to share their experiences and present solutions designed to reunite citizens. The aim of PDF PL CEE 2016 is to fight invidious stereotypes and talk about the Internet as a tool of building new information society.

Day 1 – Conference Day
On the first day, 15 invited experts representing NGOs, public administration and technological institutions will present their perspective on the role of the Internet in dis- and re-connecting citizens, share their practices and come up with innovative solutions aimed at developing the democratic information society. We will have a pleasure to learn from specialists from the entire world.

Session 1 - Disconnected
The main question is what divides us and what builds fences. How does technology disconnect us rather than helps us?

Session 2 - Sources of understanding
How do we find the common ground, while not necessarily agreeing on everything, but keeping the debate civil and beneficial? What trends and tools allow us not to close in smaller circles but to be a part of a bigger community and debate?

Session 3 - Reconnected
The tools are there, but how do we use them to build more bridges leading us to understanding, action and better communication.

Closing session

Day 2 – Community Day
The second day of PDF will be devoted to community-organised sessions in the form of individual talks, demos group presentations, panels or open sessions. The Community Day will offer the total of 20 organised 50-minute sessions in four parallel blocks.

PDF PL CEE 2016 is organized by Fundacja ePaństwo in partnership with TechSoup and the City of Gdańsk. The event is supported by the Personal Democracy Media, Code for All and the U.S. Department of State within the “Promoting Technology for Transparency and Accountability” Program.