TEAC Conference Report Dec. 2015 - Page 17

The second speaker was Vukosava Crnjanski from a civil society organisation active in e-participation in Serbia. CRTA is a group of journalists and political activists working to improve government transparency and to motivate citizens and media to hold politicians accountable. She presented some interesting tools they have introduced in society such as the Open Parliament initiative or the “Truthometer”, an initiative that evaluates elected officials statements for their truthfulness, consistency and whether they fulfil campaign promises or policy pledges. She talked about the main challenges in Serbia such as the fact that accountability is a new concept for many or the low level of awareness and interest in policy from the citizens. Her organisation is finding ways to reengage citizens through ICT. had different approaches on organising their e-participation activities and what age groups they targeted. Some partners chose to focus on seniors, others on families and some exclusively on youth, sharing with them the tools. Participants at almost all tables said that, apart from the newly introduced e-Participation day, their experience with e-participation activities was limited. They believe that people use e-participation tools mostly on their own devices, from home. When they do, they use rather local/national e-participation tools, primarily for e-government services, such as accessing documents. In some telecentres, they have noticed that people find it hard to believe that these tools can change anything. Motivation comes from the need to use participation tools. People want to participate in political issues when they are affected by the topic, as seen in the TTIP demonstrations and many petitions on local levels. Therefore, the promotion of e-participation tools would be most effective when combined with current affairs and especially when citizens feel they are directly affected. Vladimir Radunovic, director of e-Diplomacy programmes at Diplo Foundation, talked about the e-competences needed for e-participation. He explained that these main competences are: curation, creation, communication, critique and collaboration. He expanded on these competences, what other sub-competences they include and how they can be learned. For Vladimir e-participation is about management of information online and management of knowledge online. Since many citizens still do not know how to do these It is also important to promote confidence in the things online, telecentres could indeed fill the gap tools and their results. For this, telecentre staff and help them acquire these competences. needs to be trained how to use the tools and how to make them attractive to citizens. Only when Table discussions staff is appropriately trained, can promotional and awareness raising activities be effective. All the E-uropa project partners from 12 different countries had an active role in the session, especially As a conclusion, participants of most tables were in in the table discussions where they introduced their favour of establishing the European e-Participation activities during the first European e-participation Day as a regular, annual campaign. Some of Day (held on May 7th, 2015). All project partners the participants suggested including also nonEU e-participation tools, and especially those at national and lo cal level. 17