Program | #digidemos: FES Congress on Digitalisation and Democracy

Let’s work together for a good digital society: June 20th 2017 in Berlin!

Join us online! We will provide livestreaming of the sessions!

  • Congress
House 1, Conference Hall


WELCOME (with translation in English)

Dr. Roland Schmidt, Managing Director of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation

House 1, Conference Hall


INTRODUCTION (with translation in English/German)

"The debate on digital progress"

  • Malu Dreyer, Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Paul Nemitz, Principal Advisor European Commission

  • Moderation: N.N.


House 1 & House 2


TRACKS (with translation in English/German)

Panel discussions

House 1, Conference Hall



"Democracy and digital rights"

  • Markus Beckedahl, Chief editor
  • Ulrich Kelber, MdB and parliamentary secretary of state at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection
  • Laura-Kristine Krause, Co-Chairwoman of D64-centre for digital progress and director of the Democracy Lab at "Das Progressive Zentrum"

  • Moderation: N.N.

Digital democracy and democratic digitalisation – these are two sides of one debate which is concerned with nothing less than the future of our society.

At #digidemos we look at the interaction between democracy and digitalisation: the changing relationship between state and citizens, the interplay of digital forms of participation and civil society with representative democracy and not least the question of fundamental rights and values in the digital age. How do we organise digital democracy and democratic digitalisation for the benefit of everyone.

House 2, Conference Hall



"Digitalisation and the democratic public sphere"

  • Dr. Ralf Bremer, Director of Public Relations at Google
  • Saskia Esken, MdB and member of the task force “Digitale Agenda”
  • Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz, Member of the board of directors at Hans-Bredow-Institute, Hamburg
  • Dunja Mijatovic, Media freedom and internet expert, human rights advocate, former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

  • Moderation: Vera Linß, Media journalist

The digital media society is remodelled by new gatekeepers and observers (gatewatchers) as well as by new technological developments.

At #digidemos we will discuss current issues of media and net policies – starting from opinion formation in social networks and a public life that is shaped by algorithms up to digital journalism. How can we strengthen democratic public(s) within and with digitalisation?

House 2, Room 6.01



"On the digital future of work"

  • Thorben Albrecht, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
  • Uwe Horstmann, Founder & CEO of Project A
  • Andrea Kocsis, Vice-Chair of ver.di

  • Moderation: Dr. Julia Kropf, Moderator and Business Coach

The working world is one focal setting of the digital transformation.

There are controversies as to whether this transformation will be beneficial for the employees or not. Does the promise of digital progress also apply for the working place? How does “work 4.0” become “good work”? #digidemos will discuss these questions with people from politics, labour movements and businesses who model the work environment of tomorrow.



Parallel forums


House 1, Conference Hall


Politics 2.0? EGovernment, Open Government and relationship citizens and state
(with translation in English/German)

  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Ingolf Pernice, Director of the Humboldt-Institute for Internet and Society and professor at the Humboldt-Universitiy in Berlin
  • Julia Kloiber, Project director Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Sabine Smentek, Secretary of state for information and communication technology, Senate Department for the Interior and Sports Berlin

  • Moderation: N.N.

Digitalisation with its new forms of interaction and participation, the availability and use of data and the transparency associated with all this does not only change economic and private activities -

 it also influences government actions . Activities of the government and public bureaucracy change slowly, and the way in which their roles are interpreted as well as power relationships will shift. Where are the opportunities of EGovernment and Open Data for state and society to be found? How will these change the relationship between citizens and state?

House 1, Room 119


Specific rules on the internet? Fundamental values and rights in digital democracy

  • Dr. Ulf Buermeyer, Judge at the Berlin Superior Court and President of  Society for Civil Rights
  • Dr. Aleksandra Sowa, Author and member of SPD working group „Digitale Gesellschaft“
  • Dr. Thymian Bussemer, Member of the SPD's Basic Values Commission and is Head of Human Resources Strategy & Social Sustainability at Volkswagen AG

  • Moderation: N.N.

Social and work-related communication, political debate, consumption, work, leisure time - nowadays we live on the web just like we do in analogue reality.

But do the same rules, rights and values of our democracy apply in both realms? Upholding and satisfying fundamental rights and accumulated values on the web is a task that must be faced by all of society if technical innovation is to translate into social progress. How can this be achieved? What answers do the fundamental values of Social Democracy offer to the challenges posed by a digitalised world?

House 1, Room 121/122


Digital participation – salvation of democracy? How does the internet transform political participation and civil society?

  • Prof. Dr. Sigrid Baringhorst, Professor of Political Science at the University of Siegen
  • Jutta Croll, President of the Digital Opportunities Foundation
  • Carolin Silbernagl, Member of Managing Board gAG and „Foreign Secretary“betterplace lab

  • Moderation: Dr. Serge Embacher, FES "AK Bürgergesellschaft", National Network for Civil Society

Digitalisation of political participation and innovative new forms of civil-society commitment arouse many hopes with respect to the widely-touted crisis of representative democracy.

More people can be persuaded to participate in democratic processes and the 'representation gap' closed once again thanks to digital participation opportunities - that is the expectation of some. Digitalisation will create new divides based on levels of education and access to education, fear others. How will political participation and civil society change in the course of digitalisation? Where do the opportunities lie to strengthen our democracy?


House 2, Conference Hall


Digital journalism and platforms
(with translation in English/German)

  • Lutz Hachmeister, Founder and director of the Institute for Media and Communication Policy, private lecturer at the Institute for Journalism at the TU Dortmund
  • Martin Moore, Director of the Centre for the Study of Media Communication and Power des  Policy Institute at King’s College London
  • Maria Exner, Deputy chief editor "Zeit ONLINE" (cancelled)

  • Moderation: Petra Sorge, Free journalist

Upholding, preserving and strengthening independent journalism in the online eco-system is one of the biggest challenges of our times

the relationship between legacy media on the one hand and knowledge and data-driven platforms from Silicon Valley on the other is full of tension. It ranges equally from innovation to cooperation and all the way to dependency. How can a democratisation of media power be achieved?
(note: in English with translation)

House 2, Room 1.02


Political opinion formation in social networks

  • David Schraven, Journalist and founder CORRECT!V
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Stöcker, Professor of Digital Communication at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
  • Saskia Esken, MdB and member of the task force “Digitale Agenda”

  • Moderation: Frederic Werner, Director of the FES office in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

While some fear selective formation of opinion, influence or even the manipulation of opinion formation in social networks in echo chambers and filter bubbles, others play down the danger:

social networks, they contend, do not play any major role in opinion-formation or collective decision-making processes in German-speaking territory. But what do we really know about it all, and what conclusions can be drawn with regard to media education, journalism and politics?

House 2, Room 1.03


Algorithmetized public spheres and values

  • Nele Heise, Scientific Assistant at the Institute of Journalism and Communication sciences at the University of Hamburg
  • Dr. Anja Zimmer, Director of media authorities in Berlin-Brandenburg
  • Peter Welchering, Journalist

  • Moderation: Christine Watty, Free journalist, author and editor

It is already there - the "algorithmetised" public, in which artificial intelligence also has an impact on decision-making, diversity and editorial standards.

But on what values do we as a society want to base publicness and what answers are accordingly associated with this for digitalisation?


House 2, Room 6.01


Digital casualization - who wins, who loses?
(with translation in English/German)

  • Dr. Florian Butollo, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
  • Dr. Henning Meyer, Social Europe

  • Moderation: Philipp Fink, FES, Division for Economic and Social Policy

The service sector will gain in importance as a result of the increasing digitalisation of our everyday lives.

Who will profit from it? Who may be among the losers? How can we avoid employees in the service sector working in ever more precarious jobs?

House 2, Room 6.09


Digital platforms: labour markets of the future?

  • Bastian Unterberg, Founder and CEO of jovoto
  • Dr. Florian Schmidt, Professor for Design Theory und journalist

  • Moderation: Thomas Absmayr, FES, Division for Economic and Social Policy

Digital platforms are booming in the area of commercial services.

They hold out the promise of flexible, self-determined work - and at the same time have the reputation of undermining social as well as labour-law standards. What challenges does platform-based work of the future face? And how can it be shaped and structured in a fair way?

House 2, Room 1.01


Worker participation 4.0

  • Valentina Kerst, Founder and director of topiclodge, digital counselling
  • Dr. Katharina Oerder, head of the capital office, MIT Institute

  • Moderation: Stefanie Moser, FES, Division for Economic and Social Policy

The digital economy likes to entice its staff with the promise of flat hierarchies and wide-ranging forms of participation for employees.

At the same time, the new economy is a virtually "works-council-free" zone. Institutionalised co-determination is viewed with scepticism here. But does allowing individuals to have a say really work effectively without collective co-determination? How do old-economy works councils view the working methods employed in the new economy? And what can both sides learn from each other when it comes to co-determination?

House 1, Conference Hall


Conclusion (with translation in English/German)

"#digidemos - Moving digitalisation forward"

  • Dr. Richard Barbrook, University of Westminster

Snacks to conclude the evening

nach oben