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Page 1: Emerging Technologies/Emerging Democracies - Iraq

Emerging Technologies/Emerging Democracies:Information Technology, Economic Growth and

Governance in Iraq

September 27-28, 2010Erbil, Iraq

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Nik Gowing of the BBC World Service presented the keynote address, “Skyful of Lies and Black Swans.” With technology allowing citizens to communicate news and ideas instantly, Gowing argued that governments need to accept and embrace this new era of rapid communication and transparency or face the loss of credibility with their citizens.

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Conference participants included government officials, journalists, media associations, and civil society representatives. Here, Bashar Al-Mandalawy of the press freedom group Journalistic Freedom Observatory questions panelists on the right to access to information in Iraq.

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“For the first time in history no one now has a monopoly over information and moreover, this information can travel across the

world and be accessed by millions of people at the speed of light and at the same time.”

--Robert Pearson, President, IREX

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“An open Internet is the key to our future.”

--Botan Osman, Director, Kurdistan Regional Government, Department of Information Technology

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Audience members engaged in active discussion on the Kurdistan Regional Government’s plans for developing e-governance. Tara Al Assaadi, Kurdistan Parliament member, questioned Botan Osman on those plans.

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Adil Matloob, Advisor to Minister of Science and Technology, announced the details of Iraq’s e-governance plan at the conference.

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Journalists and civil society representatives discuss the Iraqi government’s e-governance plans during a breakout session with Adil Matloob, Advisor to Minister of Science and Technology.

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Conference attendees debated how civil society and the media can work with the government to promote transparency and encourage more effective governance that involves citizens. Saman Omer, IREX Iraq (right), argued that the media must play a central role in ensuring the government is accountable to its citizens.

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Ali Marzah Al-Yasery, General Director, National Joint Planning Center, National Security Council answers an audience question about the role of the government in access to information.

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The second day of the conference featured small group trainings in using new media and technology for e-governance, civil society advocacy, and citizen media. Noel Hidalgo, Director of Technology Innovation at the New York State Senate , discusses free and open source tools for e-governance.

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Trainings for civil society included approaches to presenting information for advocacy campaigns. Above, Tanya Notely of Tactical Tech presenting “Ten Tactics for Turning Information into Action.”

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Participants in the trainings worked through the variety of tools available for advocacy and citizen media.

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Journalists and civil society activists learned how to develop a blog to reach their audiences and constituencies from Raed Jarrar, American Friends Service Committee.

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Emerging Technologies/Emerging Democracies:Information Technology, Economic Growth and

Governance in Iraq

For More Information on IREX’s work in Iraqvisit

www.irex.org

IREX implements the Media and Technology for Community Development program in Iraq

through a grant from the US Department of State, Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights,

and Labor

*Photos by Sebastian Meyer