Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Slovenian ambassador apologizes for signing ACTA, Poland halts ratification

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, February 3 2012

Helena Drnovsek Zorko, Slovenia's ambassador to Japan, is one of the EU representatives that signed ACTA a week ago.

Yesterday, though, the ambassador reconsidered her position and issued an apology to her country for signing the international treaty on counterfeiting. She wrote:

I want to apologise because I carried out my official duty, but not my civic duty. I don’t know how many options I had with regard to not signing, but I could have tried. I did not. I missed an opportunity to fight for the right of conscientious objection on the part of us bureaucrats.

Apparently she was flooded by emails and messaged from Slovenian citizens that criticized the treaty's ratification. On her personal blog, she then acknowledged that online protests raised concerns about a treaty that she now defines as “damaging to the state and citizens."

The ambassador also warned against demonization by the people who protested against her, pointing out that the responsibility is on her government:

This was decided by the Slovenian government and by the parliamentary committee for EU matters, and before that, Slovenia was for quite some time involved in coordinating the agreement. All this was done with too little transparency, judging by the outraged responses that have appeared following the signing. Back then, the Slovenian media did not demonise this decision to the same extent as they now demonise my signature. This I consider very dangerous for the continuous (non-)development of democracy in Slovenia. 

Tomorrow a protest is planned in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, and the ambassador  called for people’s participation: “The true concern and determination of those Slovenian citizens who feel that the agreement must be stopped will be reflected in the number of people who attend this protest. I would like to ask for somebody to please attend in my name.” she concluded.

But the Slovenian ambassador is not the only political representative to have second thoughts. The Washington Post writes in fact that Poland’s prime minister Donald Tusk declared that he is halting the the ratification process on ACTA, a treaty that also Poland had signed a week ago.

Poland was the country that faced the biggest amount of protest against ACTA: last Thursday more than 10,000 people took the streets in protest, BBC reported.

Poland government websites were also attacked by Anonymous. ‘Anonymous’ masks were also worn by some Polish MPs in the Parliament.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. GO

wednesday >

In the Philippines, Citizens Go Undercover With Bantay to Monitor Public Offices

The Philippines, a country of almost 100 million, is considered among the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, despite a boost in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in the past few years (from 134th in 2010 to 94th in 2013 out of 175.) Corruption involves all levels of government, but benefits also from a mindset of tolerance, says Happy Feraren, the co-founder of Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption educational initiative that teaches citizens how to monitor the quality of government services, sometimes by going undercover. GO

More