Results e-society conference in Macedonia

By EDRi · December 5, 2005

The international conference “e-Society.Mk” took place in Macedonia in October and November 2005, with the goal of raising awareness and sharing knowledge of decision makers about important information society issues with the general public. It was organised by Foundation Metamorphosis and supported by OSCE Mission in Skopje and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, in line with the recently adopted National strategy for the development of the information society.

Over thirty international and local experts interacted with an audience of around 400 participants in all events, discussing the topics of freedom of the media on the internet, e-business and cybercrime, copyrights and privacy, e-government and e-education. The audience consisted mainly of representatives of central and local government, IT experts, NGOs, journalists and university students (law, economics and IT).

Some of these sessions introduced topics that were entirely new to the Macedonian public discourse, such as alternative forms of protection of intellectual property (Creative Commons) and the protection of privacy. In Macedonia, there is no law on data protection yet. It is due in two years. Some sessions also served as advocacy channel to promote concrete solutions, including the announced Freedom of Information Act, expected to be adopted in the beginning of 2006.

Media coverage of the conference focused on the problem of increasing Internet penetration and bridging the digital divide in Macedonia, whose market is not completely liberalised, with large market players acting as de facto monopolies.

Mr. Miklos Haraszti, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, stressed the need for “constant legislative care about pluralism of providers, pluralism of content providers, and pluralism in terms of media.”

Mr. Xhemail Mehazi, the Minister of transport and communications of the Republic of Macedonia, emphasised the need for public-private partnerships and co-operation with all actors in society. Further policy and legislative obligations for Macedonia include enacting a Law on Information Society and a Broadband Strategy, scheduled for the beginning of 2006.

The conference started with an all-day plenary session in Skopje (on 20 October 2005) and was followed by public debates in four cities: e-business/cybercrime in Ohrid, freedom of the media on the internet in Skopje, e-government in Bitola and e-education in Tetovo.

e-Society.Mk Conference website

Foundation Metamorphosis

OSCE Spillover Mission to Skopje

(Contribution by Filip Stojanovski, EDRI-member Metamorphosis, Macedonia)