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Using technology to strengthen democracy

Participants at the TechCamp

The first TechCamp Cyprus, on digital citizenship in the disinformation age, took place at the University of Nicosia earlier this month.

Co-organised by the US Embassy and the American Center of the University of Nicosia, the event put forward that the consolidation of the Republic must be based on fair and honest information, not disinformation. Technological development in our times, if used properly, will strengthen democracy, otherwise it will cause great harm to societies.

These were some of the points highlighted and analysed during the international TechCamp workshop, which saw more than 80 participants from Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Latvia, Moldova, Serbia and Turkey take part. TechCamp Cyprus was aimed at helping young people aged 18-35 become more democratic citizens, responding to the challenges of the growing influence of digital media and ready to take advantage of the opportunities they offer.

“Every day we use digital technology, where through social networking platforms we are updating and exchanging views, while organising our work. At the same time, however, some uses of this technology may pose problems for our society,” said US ambassador to Cyprus Kathleen A Doherty in one of her last public addresses before leaving the island.

The ambassador is in favour of the technology that helps us do great things, while as “digital citizens we are connected to each other through the use of online information,” she stressed, but she also pointed to the risk of disinformation.

Through interactive workshops, TechCamp Cyprus participants worked together with experts and practitioners from the United States and Europe, thus improving their digital literacy and technological skills, while developing methods of identifying and addressing misinformation.

TechCamps is a series of workshops organised by the Office of International Programmes of Information of the US Department of State. Since 2010, more than 60 TechCamps have been held worldwide, training more than 3,200 participants from more than 110 countries.

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