“Aktionstage: Refugees – Migration – Democracy” in Vienna

The Aktionstage: Refugees – Migration – Democracy are organised in Vienna from November 29 – December 2, 2016. The first scientific part will take place at the Academy of Fine Arts (Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien), while the second part will be held at the new ÖBB headquarters nearby Vienna’s main train station.

Katharine will be part of a prestigious public debate discussing “Polarization and Securization: Fear Re-Shaping European Democracies” on the opening day (18:00) at the Academy of Fine Arts. Additionally, she will also be on a panel dealing with the question of “Demos: Who belongs to the political community?“.

The full programme and schedule in German and English can be accessed on the conference’s website.

12. Österreichisches Rundfunkforum in Vienna

Katharine is invited to participate in the upcoming 12. Österreichisches Rundfunkforum entitled “Meinungs- und Medienfreiheit in der digitalen Ära: Eine Neuvermessung der Kommunikationsfreiheit”. The forum is organised by the Forschungsinstitut REM (Recht elektronischer Massenmedien) from October 20-21, 2016 in Vienna.

Alongside Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bernd Holznagel (Universität Münster, Germany), Mag. Andrea Komar (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, Druck, Journalismus, Papier / Presserat), Dr. Alexander Wrabetz (ORF) and Dr. Alexandra Föderl-Schmid (Der Standard) she will be a panel discussant on the topic “Wohin geht das Medien- und Kommunikationsrecht?“.

If you are interested in the detailed event programme please see here.

Katharine at Fundamental Rights Forum in Vienna

On June 21, Katharine will be a Fundamental Rights Agency panelist at the Fundamental Rights Forum 2016 in Vienna. She will be speaking on the impact of surveillance and loss of privacy for civil rights and democratic practice.

Details on the panel:

The digital age

WG 19: The right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy in the context of increased security concerns in Europe: Challenges and promising practices

Chair: Barbora Bukovská, Legal Director, Article 19

Panel Speakers:

  • Joseph Cannataci, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to privacy, OHCHR;
  • Dunja Mijatović, Representative on Freedom of the Media, OSCE;
  • Joanna Cavan, Head, Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO);
  • Katharine Sarikakis, Professor, Head Media Governance and Industries Research Lab, University of Vienna;
  • Mario Oetheimer, Head of Sector Information Society, Privacy and Data Protection, FRA.

Workshop objective

This workshop will explore the impact of security measures on privacy and freedom of expression. Law enforcement and intelligence laws and policies as well as measures to counter terrorism will help frame the discussions. References will be made to case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) when applying the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The workshop will feed into FRA’s current and future work on surveillance and safeguarding fundamental rights. Participants will also share examples of promising practices for others to use.

Guiding questions

  • Security, freedom of expression and privacy: a balancing act?
  • What has been the impact of enhanced security measures on the right to freedom of expression and privacy?
  • How can law makers and regulators safeguard key fundamental rights while preserving the security of individuals?


Currently, governments are dealing with a heightened level of security by increasing the collection and analysis of personal data, following violent attacks in Europe and other parts of the world. This applies equally to law enforcement authorities and national intelligence services. The 2015 European Agenda on Security and the Internal Security Strategy have paved the way for enhancing the exchange of data and the better use of the EU’s large-scale databases and other communications platforms. These include the (future) EU’s Passengers Name Records Directive, the ‘Smart borders’ package, the Schengen Information System (SIS II), Europol’s European Counter Terrorism centre and its Internet Referral Unit. Moreover, enhanced cooperation between national intelligence and law enforcement services is being discussed in terms of data exchange. The impact of these measures on privacy and freedom of expression can be significant, particularly given the urgency with which they are being adopted.

On the part of data processing by intelligence services, FRA’s recent research has shown that Members States’ laws do not provide clear and effective safeguards for protecting private life and the personal data of individuals. As a result there is a clear need for effective oversight systems. FRA research also mentions the impact on freedom of expression, such as the protection of journalistic sources or whistleblowing measures.

The EU has also finalised reforming its data protection rules. They aim to boost the individual’s rights while allowing unhampered exchange of data between national law enforcement authorities. In addition, the re-negotiated EU-US Umbrella Agreement will pave the way for the exchange of law enforcement data while protecting personal data. However, several judgments from the CJEU have demonstrated the importance attached to having a high level of privacy and data protection in the EU. ECtHR judgments on secret surveillance measures have also highlighted the impact of such measures on freedom of expression and privacy. Accommodating freedom of expression and privacy, while maintaining security, raises many questions that need to be further discussed. Those measures should also be seen in the general context of implementing the Digital Single Market strategy as well as the political agreement on reforming the EU data protection rules, the recent adoption of the Network and Information Security Directive and the revision of the e-privacy Directive.

To view the full programme please check here.

Katharine at Conference in Brussels

Organised by Maastricht University, Katharine has been invited to attend the conference “The cultural open method of coordination: A new boost for cultural policies in Europe?“, to be held at the Campus Brussels of Maastricht University in the Belgium capital on June 20, 2016.

She will chair a panel entitled “The cultural OMC in the fields of cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, mobility, and accessible and inclusive culture: A view from within” and will additionally act as panelist for a discussion on “The cultural OMC – An assessment“.

For further details on the conference programme (draft) please check here.

UNESCO Research Conference on the Safety of Journalists

As part of the World Press Freedom Day, which will be co-hosted by UNESCO and the government of Finland, UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair at the University of Gothenburg are organizing in collaboration with IAMCR, University of Sheffield, University of Helsinki and University of Tampere the Research Conference on the Safety of Journalists. The conference will take place from May 3-4 in Finland’s capital Helsinki.

Katharine will moderate the opening session of the conference entitled “Safety of Journalists – Mapping the field of research“.

Further details on the conference and the panel can be seen here.

Katharine moderating panel at ACUNS Vienna UN Conference 2016

The ACUNS Vienna UN Conference “New approaches for a peaceful and more sustainable world” is taking place at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) between January 13-15, 2016. Katharine will moderate a panel on “Persistent and emerging security challenges”.

Main questions and issues to be discussed include

  • Containing Boko Haram’s Transnational Reach: Toward a Developmental Approach to Border Management
  • Preventing Radicalisation Towards Violent Extremism – A Matter of Society not Security
  • NPT: “No Progress Tomorrow” or Non-Proliferation Treaty? Analysis & solutions to a number of NPT problem areas
  • Child Soldiers: Victims or War Criminals? Criminal responsibility and prosecution of child soldiers under international criminal law and the need of legal protection for radicalized children in Western countries

Detail information on the conference programme can be accessed here.

Forum on Freedom of Media and Human Rights in Thessaloniki, Greece

The Civic School of Political Studies in Greece, affiliated to the Council of Europe Network of Schools of Political Studies supported by the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists, the Journalists’ Association of Northern Greece (ESIEMTh), the European Federation of Journalists, the national public media ET3 and the Thessaloniki Municipal Media are organising the Forum on freedom of expression and the media, to be held in Thessaloniki (Greece) from December 17-20.

Katharine will be one of the panelists in a session on “Freedom and security in a mediated environment” (subtitle: Free and pluralist public debate, a precondition for democracy; how to create an enabling environment?).

Katharine at News XChange Annual Conference in Berlin

Katharine is invited to participate in NEWS Xchange’s annual conference, to be held in Berlin, Germany from October 28-30. News Xchange is an annual gathering of approximately 500 senior media executives from around the world. This year’s conference is hosted by ZDF, the German public service media company.

She will be an expert panelist in a discussion on the topic of hate speech entitled “Hate Speech – Can we control it? Should we try?“. The session will explore the key question: As social media’s importance in news and its integration with the news business grows, will differing attitudes to Free Speech across all media affect how news is presented or perceived – is the quality of news being diminished by opinion’s evil cousin, hate speech?

Katharine’s profile for the conference can be found here. The website of the conference, incl. the programme, can be accessed here.

Katharine invited to conference in Gothenburg, Sweden

The University of Gothenburg is organising a conference entitled “Communicative democracy. Protecting, promoting and developing free speech in the digital era”, to be held in the Swedish city from October 6-7.

On the opening day, Katharine is invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Andrew Kenyon (Melbourne Law School) and Justin Lewis (Cardiff University). Furthermore, she will participate in a panel entitled ‘Structuring Democratic Engagement’ and add her expertise on “Communication and Control: Freedom of speech in crisis Europe”.

The conference programme can be accessed here.