14 June 2018

IFLA at EuroDIG 2018

Plenary session 2

The European Dialogue for Internet Governance, EuroDIG, took place in Tbilisi, Georgia on the 5th and 6th of June 2018. The event is an open multi stakeholder platform to share views about the internet and how it is governed. This year IFLA helped organize one of the workshops held at the event.

Your Freedom of Expression vs. mine? Who is in control? looked at the various issues discussed at EuroDIG 2018 through the prism of freedom of expression. The panel discussed if the limits to freedom of expression are getting wider or narrower, what specifically has been the impact of the huge changes brought about by technical development and if they been beneficial of detrimental, and who are the agents setting limits and controlling our ability to express ourselves freely online. 

Workshop 10 participants at EuroDIG 2018

Workshop 10 Participants

The discussion was engaging, and the participants represented a varied group of experts ranging from academia, institutional organizations and civil society. The panellists included: Cristian Urse, Head of Council of Europe Office in Georgia, Giacomo Mazzone from the European Broadcasting Union, Irina Drexler of the No Hate Speech Movement, Professor Wolfgang Benedek from the University of Graz , Natalia Mileszyk of Communia Association , Pearse O ‘Donohue from the European Commission and Giorgi Gvimradze of the Georgian Broadcasting Corporation.

IFLA closed the workshop highlighting the remedies the panellists identified and stressing the link between freedom of expression and human rights. 

manuscript at library in Tbilisi

Italian-Georgian dictionary from the 1600s

EuroDIG was also the right venue to present informally libraries’ work in public access and digital media literacy.

IFLA participated in seminars and workshop stressing the added value created by libraries engagement at the local and community level. Digital Media literacy was again reiterated in the contest of misinformation, fake news and hate speech. A fruitful discussion with representatives from the European commission shed light on the role libraries have in preparing and engaging citizen to be critical consumers of information.

Georgian librarians were also present at the event and IFLA was able to visit the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia and its amazing collection and staff. The tour emphasized the central role libraries have as hub for public access to the Internet as many patrons used the facility to access the Internet to connect with friends and family but also to do homework. 

Maia and Esme at EuroDIG

Maia Simonishvili and Esmeralda Moscatelli

Maia Simonishvili, Curator of the Anglo-American Reading Hall, Leading Specialist of the PR & Cultural Programs Division, was proud to show an incredible collection of old and new materials, the German and French language centers in the library and an impressive museum on the history of modern Georgia. 

The event presented incredible networking opportunities in a friendly and relaxed environment.

EuroDIG 2019 will be hosted in Amsterdam and we are already looking forward to it.

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