Regional Microsoft Education Conference – Real Impact for Better Education

Microsoft Macedonia and Public Sector Microsoft CEEIt in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Republic of Macedonia is organizing a Regional Microsoft Education Conference that will be held on December 4th, 2013 at the Aleksandar palace Hotel. This is an opportunity to learn how to use technology to help improve education and learning, create opportunity, and raise living standards for people in the country.   Please join us for an event showcasing solutions and best practices that bring learning to life in and out of the classroom allowing education leaders to reimagine how technology can modernize learning and improve outcomes.The event organizers believe that:                                                                                                1) An excellent education is a basic right and social imperative2) Technology can accelerate insight and impact3) Effective, immersive learning experiences inspire improved outcomes4) Communities of committed, collaborative participants are essential to advancing educationRegister now to attend Regional conference “Real impact for Better Education” and learn how you can start making a real impact for better education: Accelerate economic growth Empower Youth Foster local innovation Address societal change This is a rare opportunity to hear great success stories and best practices by prominent Microsoft executives and experts in the Education area, see real projects by teachers, and a great opportunity for networking and sharing experiences with representatives from Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries from the region.Conference Agenda Source: “Regional Microsoft

E-Government & SEEITA Open Days Conference

On 24th and 25th October 2013 in Skopje, the Chamber of Information and Communication Technology – MASIT in cooperation with the Ministry of Information Society and Administration of the Republic of Macedonia, Embassy of France in Macedonia, Agency of international Technical cooperation of the French ministries – ADETEF and the French agency for the promotion of export – UBIFRANCE organized the “E – Government and Open Days SEEITA” conference.The conference provided opportunities for various stakeholders to share their insights about the current status of development of e-government systems in Macedonia and the plans for the future. In addition, the conference also provided an overview of the experiences of France in the field of e-government development. All conference materials are available online on the website.     As a representative of Metamorphosis foundation, program coordinator Filip Stojanovski participated within the Round Table on the Demand Side on October 24th, presenting the needs in the area of e-governance development expressed by the citizens of Macedonia through various means, including surveys, posts on blogs and social media, and forums. Which e-government services are Macedonian citizens asking for? from Metamorphosis The presentation addressed the issue of the impact of the prioritization of development of e-government services from the income generating cluster during the last decade, related to the needs of state institutions, which results in gaps and opportunities for development of new services that would cater

Front for Freedom of Expression: Freedom of expression is being imprisoned along with Kezarovski

According to the Front for Freedom of Expression, the 4.5-year prison sentence for journalist Tomislav Kezarovski is yet another heavy blow to the freedom of expression and the freedom of media in the Republic of Macedonia.The verdict against Kezarovski is actually a threat to all journalists reporting about the work of the police, the judiciary, and all the other state institutions, so they would be more careful in terms of what they are reporting about, and how they are doing it, because they also may be convicted and get a severe penalty, regardless of whether they were reporting the truth or protecting the citizens’ interests.The Front for freedom of expression requires the higher instance courts to annul this scandalous verdict during the appeal procedure and to free Kezarovski from liability for a crime that he has not committed. Kezarovski was convicted for knowingly conducting the basic journalistic task – informing the public on matters of public interest – as in this case, disclosure of the abuses of the witness protection program by the police and judicial authorities.Otherwise, the confirmed prison sentence for Kezarovski would simply mean an imprisonment for freedom of expression and media freedom in the country.The Front for Freedom of Expression ( is a wide platform of individuals, organizations, institutions and informal groups that shares a common goal – to preserve and advance the basic human right of freedom of expression,

Metamorphosis Foundation, MDC and NGO Infocenter call upon Macedonia to protect privacy against unchecked internet surveillance

Metamorphosis Foundation, the Media Development Center (MDC) and NGO Infocenter are joining a huge international coalition in calling upon Macedonia to assess whether national surveillance laws and activities are in line with their international human rights obligations. Our organizations have endorsed a set of international principles against unchecked surveillance. The 13 Principles set out for the first time an evaluative framework for assessing surveillance practices in the context of international human rights obligations. The 13 principles presented to the Human Rights Council: legality of privacy limitations, limitations should be necessary and have a legitimate aim, the surveillance of communications should be adequate and proportional with the aim; determinations related to communications surveillance must be made by a competent judicial authority; states should respect and guarantee individuals’ human rights and they should be informed in a timely manner about the surveillance of their communications, communications surveillance should be transparent and subject to public oversight, the integrity of communications and systems should be ensured, safeguards for international cooperation should be established, as well as safeguards against illegitimate communications surveillance.In order to increase the citizens’ confidence in the state institutions, and ensure their democratic functioning, Macedonia has to establish mechanisms for civil control and accountability of the government agencies that are authorized and possess equipment for monitoring and surveillance of online communication. Privacy is a fundamental human right guaranteed with the Constitution of the Republic of

The Front for freedom of expression reacts to the statements of the Minister of Information Society

Malicious destruction of civil society’s reputationThe Front for freedom of expression has no intention of participating in a debate when apparently the other side is unwilling to do so. However, we are using this opportunity to indicate that, in his interview for Utrinski vesnik (September 1, 2013) the Minister of Information Society demonstrates a serious lack of knowledge about the civil society concept. He is also bluntly labeling and accusing the country’s NGOs of being deliberately negative towards the media laws, just so they could receive funding. This is completely untrue and we perceive it as a malicious destruction of civil society’s reputation. This behavior is an unpleasant surprise from the Minister of Information Society, along with the surprising ignorance for civil society in the Republic of Macedonia. Trying to stay positive and constructive, we will attribute this behavior to ignorance rather than arrogance and destructive political orientation.We assure the Minister that, as an organization, we want, we can and we exist to provide a positive, constructive and competent contribution to the improvement of the situation in the field of human rights, democracy, rule of law, and thus the right to freedom of expression. This is the actual area where precisely the mentioned laws are destructive, regressive and completely unnecessary.The Minister should take into consideration that it is a bit boring to constantly start from the beginning and deal with issues and problems

Macedonia: The Front for freedom of expression demands the Assembly to withdraw the proposed media legislation

The Front for Freedom of Expression, an informal coalition of nine civic associations, demands from the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia to retract the proposed media bills – the Law on Media and the Law on Audio and Audiovisual Media Services, which threaten to further undermine freedom of speech in Macedonia, especially due to the unjustified decision to cover both print and internet-media with new regulations. The majority of issues allegedly resolved with the proposed bills are already covered in the Broadcasting Law, the Criminal Code, the Law on Civil Liability for Defamation. At the same time, the new media legislation disregards completely a number of key measures that permit the use of public funds to undermine the freedom of the media and, contrary to best practice democratic societies and to regulate self-regulation of the journalists. We reject the strategy of proponents of the new media legislation, which consisted of creating the impression of a public debate and constructive approach, bringing international experts to Macedonia, consulting with them during the process of preparation of the bills and then, once they left the country, reinstating the problematic provisions that were amended or deleted through amendments proposed by parliamentarians from the ruling majority. The proposed legislation, in its current form, can only lead to increased control of the government over the majority of media outlets in Macedonia. Furthermore, the decision to entrust regulation of

Macedonia: The European Commission did not require such media laws

Press statement of the EU Delegation on behalf of the European Commission on draft media lawsFollowing  this week’s debate in Skopje on the draft laws on media and audio- and  audio-visual media services, the European Commission would like to clarify its role in this process.The development of new media legislation to replace the existing Broadcasting Law started in 2011 at the initiative of the national authorities and not at the specific request of the European Commission.For the part of the proposed legislation which aligns with EU law (EU Directive on Audio-visual Media Services), the European Commission has made independent technical expertise available to the government in 2011, 2012 and 2013.Guaranteeing the freedom of expression and other fundamental rights is a requirement for a country to join the EU, but when and exactly how to reform a country’s media legislation is a matter for national authorities and stakeholders.As regards the process, the European Commission has been clear from the start that the government should take the necessary time to ensure that proposed laws are in line with European standards and best practices and that consultation with all relevant stakeholders is as inclusive as possible. Beyond these pieces of legislation, the Commission’s upcoming annual report will assess other, broader, outstanding issues in relation to the media environment in the country. Source: “Press statement of the EU Delegation on behalf of the European Commission on

Protest “Death to fascism, freedom of expression” held

During the celebration marking Europe Day, the Front for Freedom of Expression held a protest in front of the EU Delegation’s building in Skopje under the motto “Death to fascism, freedom of expression”.According to the organizers, the reason for the protest on this day (Europe Day and Victory Day over Fascism) is the attempt of the Macedonian government to introduce censorship by improperly adopting a new Law on Media.The protest began at the time when a government delegation was supposed to arrive at the EU headquarters in Skopje to attend the Europe Day celebration.The protesters demanded an end to censorship and pressures on the media.They blamed both the government and the European Union for the current situation.   Sources: “Смрт за фашизмот – Слобода на изразувањето” May 9, 2013 А “Протест – „Смрт на фашизмот – слобода на изразувањето” May 9, 2013 “Смрт на фашизмот – слобода на изразувањето” May 9, 2013

National Youth Council of Macedonia established

The National Youth Council of Macedonia was founded on June 29, 2013 in Struga. The Council was founded by 55 organizations (youth organizations, organizations for youth, alliances and youth wings of political parties).As the president of the National Youth Council of Macedonia, Ivana Davidovska noted, its mission is to represent the interests and needs of young people as a liaison with all the stakeholders and to ensure the involvement and active participation of youth in the decision-making process at every level.According to the adopted Statute, the National Youth Council of Macedonia (NYCM) will be managed by the following bodies: General Assembly, Management Board, Supervisory Board and Executive body – Secretariat. Delegates of the Founding Assembly elected Ivana Davidovska (CID) for President, Dona Kosturanova (MOF) for Vice President and board members Ivan Jovanov, Goran Georgiev (Scout Association of Macedonia), Daniel Kalajdzieski (HERA), Arben Ristemi (Centre for Community Development) and Antonio Jovanovski (Go Green). The Management Board elected at the Founding Assembly prepared a work plan for the next six months. According to this plan, the NYCM will focus on promoting the role of this body and the way in which cooperation is established with the institutions.The goals of NYCM lay down the guidelines under which it will operate in the future. Goals include: encouraging processes for creation of appropriate policies enabling social and personal development of young people, representing and acting on behalf of

APC: Macedonian government moves to limit online free speech and increase State control of the media

Macedonia is one of many countries where citizens struggle for democracy and against measures to control the media and limit freedom of expression and access to information online and offline. The latest of these measures is the proposed new Law on Media and Audiovisual Media Services which will require all media, both print and online, to be filtered through a centralised government agency, effectively allowing the government to legally filter and censor content.On 8 April 2013, the Macedonian Minister of Information Society and Administration presented a draft of the Law and announced a 60-day public consultation period, formally ending 8 June. No consultation with civil society took place during the development of this first draft.Macedonia’s media is already severely controlled by the government. “Control is mostly exercised through ownership of the media – owners of most media are people who are in close connection to the government,” says Bardhyl Jashari from Metamorphosis Foundation, an APC member organisation.Article 1 of the proposed new Media Law states, “this Law shall regulate the rights, obligations and responsibilities of media publishers, providers of audiovisual services and providers of programme packages.” In other words, the law will decide that the roles and responsibilities are of journalists, editors and bloggers and other members of the media. It will also require “people who want to inform the public” via print and electronic publications to be registered under the assigned government agency