Launch of Helping voters to win the European Parliament elections

By EDRi · April 1, 2014

Press release – Brussels, April 1st.

The We Promise campaign was formally launched today in the European Parliament. Parliamentarians from across the political divide joined forces with European Digital Rights to support the campaign.

Paweł Zalewski MEP (EPP) opened the event with an introductory video message. He highlighted the importance of adapting copyright to the digital age and expanding free access to culture on the Internet:

“Every point of the Charter is dedicated to ensure both freedom and personal safety of Europeans in the digital environment,” he said.

Josef Weidenholzer MEP (S&D) explained that

the protection of liberties on the internet is going to be one of the most important aspects for the new legislative term. Unlike the Commission, the Parliament does not have a digital agenda yet. We need to have a clearer battleground.

Marietje Schaake MEP (ALDE) emphasised that

“we need to lower the threshold for citizen engagement in Brussels. People need to be able to shape policies before policies shape their daily lifes” she said.

Christian Engström MEP from the Greens/EFA added that

the internet is obviously the most magnificient thing that has happened to the human kind”. He added that the upcoming elections play an important role in defining its future since “data protection, copyright reform and free internet will be decided in the European Parliament during the next term.

Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights highlighted that

“the campaign is about interactive democracy. In a society increasingly shaped by new communications methods, this campaign is allowing voters to become active participants in election campaigns and not passive bystanders,” he added.

The campaign re-invents the idea of an election promise. Rather than just asking candidates for the European Parliament to make a promise, voters also make a promise. Candidates promise to support a Charter of ten core digital rights principles. Voters promise to vote – for candidates who have, by election day, signed the Charter. We Promise was initiated by European Digital Rights (EDRi), a network of 36 civil rights organisations from across the European Union and run in cooperation with international activist group GoVeto. It now has the support of nine other organisations including Wikimedia Germany, Reporters without Borders and the German national consumer protection association VZBV. 100 candidates and nearly 1500 citizens have signed the Charter.

Notes for editors:

EDRi – European Digital Rights
Kirsten Fiedler
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