Democracy in an information society

09.06.2006

This conference was dedicated to the 5th anniversary of TID and sought answers to the following questions: Have the opportunities provided by information and communications technology been sufficiently implemented in the exercising of public authority? What new problems are members of the information society having to grapple with? What experiences have other countries had in the field of e-democracy? What further steps can be taken in Estonia in the area of e-democracy? These and other questions on democracy and the information society formed the focus of the conference.

The conference provided all of the attendees with the opportunity to get together and exchange ideas on the development prospects of e-democracy at both the local and national levels. Guests at the conference included the world’s first professor of e-democracy Stephen Coleman and the head of the local e-democracy project in the UK Isobel Harding, both visiting Estonia for the first time.

9:30 Registration, morning coffee
10:00 Opening of the conference, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
10:10 Session I: Information Society in Estonia – Visions and RealityModerator: Tarmu Tammerk, Estonian correspondent for the AFP News Agency, Chairman of the Estonian Press CouncilMarju Lauristin, Professor at the University of Tartu – A Sociological View of the Development of the Information Society in Estonia

Urmas Reinsalu, Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu – Fundamental Civil Rights and Freedoms in an Information Society

Margus Püüa, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, head of department – Developmental Objectives for an Information Society until 2010

11:45 Coffee break
12:00 Session II: Politics in an Information Society –International ExperienceModerator: Ivar Tallo, Director of the e-Governance AcademyStephen Coleman, Professor at the University of Leeds – Democracy in the Internet Age

Isobel Harding, Director of the Centre of Excellence for eDemocracy – Centre of Excellence for e-Democracy – Europe in Partnership

13:30 Lunch
14:00 Session III: Development of e-Democracy in EstoniaModerator: Liia Hänni, e-Democracy Program Director at the eGovernance AcademyEvely Illing, Participation Expert – The Present State of eParticipation at the Central Government Level

Marko Palo, master’s candidate at the University of Tartu – The First Five Years of the Direct Democracy Portal TOM (Today I Decide)

Nele Leosk, Project Manager at the e-Governance Academy – Reflecting Local Elections on the Websites of Rural Municipalities and Towns in 2005

Allan Sikk, Advisor to the Department of Economic and Social Information (DESI) of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu – The Virtual Face of the Political Parties in Estonia

Ülle Madise, Member of the Lead Committee for the Estonian eVoting Project – Lessons from e-Voting

Eleka Rugam-Rebane, Advisor to the Communications Office of the Government of the Republic – Participation Portal: New Opportunities for Online Citizen Participation in the Development of Policies and Drafting of Legislation

15:45 Workshops1. e-Participation at the Central Government Level (Riigikogu, Government of the Republic, Ministries)Moderator: Eveli Illing, Participation Expert The objective of the workshop is to formulate proposals for the development of e-democracy at the central government level.

Answers will be sought to the following questions: – How to instigate different counterparties (citizens, politicians, state officials) to e-participation? – What should be the direction for the further development of the portal TOM (Today I Decide)? – What can be expected from the Riigikogu website – are the existing opportunities for communicating with citizens sufficient or should they be developed further? – What are the opportunities for participating in the formation of European Union policies through the Internet?

2. e-Participation the Local Government Level

Moderator: Hannes Astok, Local Government Program Director at the e-Governance Academy

Opportunities for developing local e-democracy will be considered in the workshop. The topics under consideration will include: – What are the problems of the use of on-line communication channels in local governments that have been encountered to date? How have they been overcome? – How to implement e-participation instruments in the formation of local policies? – How could the Republic of Estonia support local government e-democracy projects?

3. ICT and Civil Initiative

Moderator: Peeter Marvet

New technologies that help the online community to have meaningful and fruitful discussion and to influence policies by civil initiative will be introduced in the workshop.

16:45 Panel discussion based on the results of the workshops – What Kind of e-Democracy Do We Need?
17:30 Celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the Portal TOM (Today I Decide)

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Government Office

Chancellery of the Riigikogu