28 November from 10.30 to 12.30 - Room 7 - Palais de l'Europe

Interpretation: FR/EN


Can we find a balance between the quest for the transparency of democratic institutions and the respect of the rule of law, as well as the rights and safety of individuals which may be exposed by whistle-blower platforms?

Balkanleaks, Bulgaria

Following the example of the whistleblowers site Wikileaks, Balkanleaks promote transparency and fight organised crime and political corruption in the Balkan states. The site is accepting confidential documents related to political, criminal or financial topics in a secure, anonymous way, through a secured and encrypted upload server. The documents are reviewed and published by experimented journalists after checking the information. Balkanleaks are now working on a new, distributed approach, which can extend and remodel the concept of whistleblowing platform.

Website: http://www.balkanleaks.eu/


Mr Atanas TCHOBANOV, Bulgaria, Journalist

Atanas Tchobanov holds a PhD in Linguistics from Paris Ouest University and works as a Research Ingeneer in CNRS, France, MoDyCo lab. He is a transparency and netizen activist, co-founder of Bivol.bg and Balkanleaks.eu spokesman.


Mr Assen YORDANOV, Bulgaria, Journalist

Assen Yordanov graduated in philology from the University Asen Zlatarov. He is a high profile investigative journalist, focusing on corruption, organized crime and the State-Mafia nexus. He is also the co-founder of Bivol.bg. In 2010 he received the «Leipzig Media Award».


OpenNet Initiative, Canada

The OpenNet Initiative is a collaborative partnership of three institutions: the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; and the SecDev Group (Ottawa). The aim of this project is to investigate, expose and analyze Internet filtering and surveillance practices in a credible and non-partisan fashion. We intend to uncover the potential pitfalls and unintended consequences of these practices, and thus help to inform better public policy and advocacy work in this area.

Website: https://opennet.net/


Mr Adam SENFT, Canada, Research Officer, The Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs

Adam Senft is a researcher at the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. His primary research focus is online freedom of expression and information controls. He has been a coordinator on the OpenNet Initiative project since 2011. He has an MA in political science from the University of Toronto.


Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Ms Chantal CUTAJAR, France, President, Citizens' Observatory for International Finance Transparency

Chantal Cutajar is President of the Citizens' Observatory for International Finance Transparency and Director of the Research Group on Organised Crime at the Centre for Business Law of the University of Strasbourg. She serves as an expert for the European Commission on the seizure of criminal assets and on financial investigations. In her research, Chantal Cutajar focuses on ways to improve the prevention and suppression of money laundering and fraud as well as on the fight against economic and financial organised crime in Europe.


Mr Jung-Won KIM, Senior Research Judge, Constitutional Court of South Korea

Jung-Won Kim is a Senior Research Judge at the Constitutional Court of South Korea since 2013. Before, he served as a Senior Judge at The Seoul Northern District Court and the Seoul Central District Court. From 2007 until 2009, he worked as a Senior Judge and Professor at the Judicial Research & Training Institute. He was also a visiting scholar at Stanford Law School.

Ms Rachel OLDROYD, United Kingdom, Deputy Editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Rachel Oldroyd is the deputy editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit news organisation based in London. Established in April 2010, the Bureau is the first investigative unit of its kind in the UK. Since its inception its work has secured over forty seven front-page stories and has produced a number of award-winning web, radio and TV reports. Before joining the Bureau, Rachel spent 13 years at the Mail on Sunday, the UK's biggest selling quality Sunday newspaper. At this paper she worked closely with many of today's best investigative journalists in the UK and launched the award-winning Reportage section in Live magazine. 


Mr Charles ONYANO-OBBO, Uganda, Executive Editor, Africa and Digital Media Division at Nation Media Group

Charles Onyango-Obbo is the Executive Editor for the Africa and Digital Media Division at Nation Media Group in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a columnist for Daily Nation, The East African, The Monitor (Uganda), and The Citizen (Tanzania). Onyango-Obbo holds a BA degree from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, and a Master's degree in Journalism from the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He has published three books and is a member of the Board of Directors at the Institute of Economic Affairs in Nairobi, Kenya.


Mr John SHIPTON, Australia, Chief Executive Officer of the Wikileaks Party

John Noble Shipton is Chief Executive Officer of The Wikileaks Party in Australia which advocates civic courage, the protection of human rights and freedoms and a free flow of information. The party was created partly to support Julian Assange's bid for a Senate seat in Australia in the 2013 election. Shipton studied Architecture and worked in a vast range of building projects including the Sydney Opera House. He established an art gallery in Sydney and was engaged in the late 1970's in Australian Aboriginal Art and play writing. He has also designed and built an Amphitheatre and lately managed public art roof garden projects.

Rapporteur to the plenary session

Ms Ellen BERENDS, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the Council of Europe

Ambassador Ellen Berends studied for a year at Moscow University before she obtained her doctorate in Modern History in the Netherlands (1982). She began her career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands as a diplomacy intern. Since then she has, among others, held positions in Moscow, The Hague, Hanoi, Cape Town and Kiev. From 2007 to 2010 she held the position of Ambassador of the Netherlands in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 2010 she is the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the Council of Europe. Ellen Berends is also the author of several studies and articles published in the Netherlands and abroad.


Ms Julia LAFFRANQUE, Estonia, Judge at the European Court of Human Rights


Mr Aurélien CANTOU

Your opinion

Does/Do the following initiative(s) increase significantly citizens' influence in the policy-making process and/or make democratic institutions more transparent, responsive and accountable? 

For the Balkanleaks initiative:
% Votes
74% 100
a. Yes
26% 35
b. No

Total Votes: 135

Voting is disabled because this poll expired on 29/11/13 12:00.

For the OpenNet Initiative:
% Votes
69% 64
a. Yes
31% 29
b. No

Total Votes: 93

Voting is disabled because this poll expired on 29/11/13 12:00.