August 10, 2018 Opening panel: 10:30 – 11:30
After the welcoming ceremony ended, the Conference began its actual work and sessions.
The first panel, which was facilitated by Wissam Jafar Executive Director of Tawasoul Organization, started with an opening speech made by Mr. Darko Brkan head of “Why not” Organization in Bosnia.
Mr. Burkan expressed how delighted he is to participate in the conference, and is surprised by the ability of Iraq to hold this conference in a record time, reviewing the steps of establishing the international Point in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when the first sessions of the conference were held in 2012. The main idea of the conference is to establish a special forum for Civil society and modern technology and media, to be used particularly in promoting political accountability and different fields of life.
He also stated “In this day social networking platforms have an important role in changing public opinion, it has been possible through such forums to strengthen the role of democracy and active citizenship.”
Answering Wissam Jaafar’s question about his view of Point Iraq conference as a first step in MENA region, he replied: “It is a very good start. There are possibilities that can be developed to take its real place, especially with civil society organizations.
“Also Saying that Point Iraq Conference can allow Other interested parties to participate in the Middle East.” Mr. Ali Al-Zubaidi talked about the possibility of using modern technologies in Civil Movement, pointing out that “Point combines between the field of technology, media and civil society to be used for monitoring the performance of government through an interactive electronic platform.”
“Many institutions in Bosnia are specialized in technology and serve the community,” he said, referring to the ability of young people in Iraq to use this method, especially with no restrictions on the use of technology, as in many countries in the region, which impose restrictions on the establishment of electronic platforms. Al-Zubaidi considered the use of internet by young people is a good indicator, which civil society organizations can benefit from. “Civil society always needs media and technology, especially as some of the resources in the civil society are used in money laundering and are a potential provider for terrorism. It is a global problem; we are in need for new media and technology tools to reduce it.” said Ali al-Zubaidi.
Dr.Basma Mohammed participated in the panel to talk about open source applications and its use by citizens and civil society to monitor human rights violations Citizens can observe the preference of governments in providing services, to be part of law legislations as in the French Parliament and also to be part of law projects that the government suggests” And she added “Most of the governmental institutions don’t have these kind of techniques and don’t make any announcement about their data as most of the governmental institutions websites contain news and activities but don’t take the citizens’ opinion in consideration”, noting that some of the governmental institutions are applying “Electronic Government” Program, including The Department of Citizen Affairs to receive citizens’ complaints and transferring them to the ministries and other concerned authorities electronically.
Mustafa Nasser, Head of the Association for Press Freedom Advocacy in Iraq, spoke about three main problems affecting the press in Iraq: legal system inherited from the previous dictatorship era, the weak role of the independent press and the functional security of journalists.
And he also added “the reason behind not using technology by journalists is the lack of experience”, in addition to that the complete dominance of political parties on the press sector and the absence of laws that protect or secure financing independent press as a 4th authority”.
He added “involvement of experts and technologists in this conference will result in new initiatives led by independent press that will enable them to create a real New Media in Iraq, uncover hidden corruption files and counter fake news” Engineer Mohammed Issa, founder of Code of Iraq Initiative, spoke about the smart cities and the future of technology in Iraq to turn the citizen into a key partner in the reform of society, saying that “America two years ago allocated $ 4 billion to introduce programming for children, after noticing the number of graduates is only 8% to 9%, knowing that the vacancies in the field of technology are 88% meaning that the entire state economy will be threatened, so when we think about how to use technology everyone should know that programming is a supernatural power that may affect one’s mind”.
He added that “We should focus on (open data) to inform people about information and Database which can connect citizens with each other, therefor programming is a tool or a way to connect the society“.
On the other hand, Mohammed Al-Tamimi General Director of the NGOs Department, pointed out that “Technology changes everything in our lives such as Health Sector in curative techniques, Cinema and Artistic Production and Industrial Sector such as electric cars and etc, noting that the Visual , Heard and the Readable Media started to leave large area for the Digital Media that it became necessary to keep up with technology”.
The Facilitator of the session, Wissam Jaafar requested that the General Director of the NGOs Department makes greater efforts to support NGOs to achieve this progress and technological leap to serve the community.