RFE/RL Hackathon
Innovation for Independent Media
6⁠–7 September 2019
Prague, Czech Republic
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The RFE/RL Hackathon is a 24-hour event bringing together journalists, coders, designers to innovate and build digital prototypes in support of media freedom. The Hackathon will be held on September 6th and 7th at HubHub Palac ARA in Prague.

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.​

Hack Themes

Fake news – how to identify and debunk?

Disinformation is a big challenge for media today. Even for experienced and tech savvy journalists, sometimes it may not be easy to identify disinformation. For example, images and videos are professionally manipulated. Websites and social media accounts disseminating them are disguised as credible sources — such as government officials or other well-known personas. It seems there are enough useful online tools that help identify fake news stories, but the problem still persists. So how can we  identify and debunk disinformation effectively? Keeping in mind that the ultimate victims of disinformation are media consumers, how can media strengthen their ‘immunity’ to disinformation?

Open Debate

The concept of open debate and the idea of finding a way for the people to communicate with each other with more respect and consideration should be observed from the standpoint of media literacy.

If the media literacy level is low, as it is in many countries, and people do not have critical thinking skills developed, they are more inclined to act emotionally rather than rationally and react without arguments and with hate speech.

Open debate does not mean the ability to access platforms to express opinions, or to have to find a way to bypass laws and oppressed regimes to speak freely. It’s also not about opposite opinions talking past each other.

Open debate is the freedom to have a conversation with regards and respect to others, regardless of their views.

The aim of this concept is to find a solution to foster critical thinking and to increase media literacy.

News Censorship

There are governments that supervise and control information and ideas circulated amongst their people and abroad. In recent years, censorship refers to the examination of books, periodicals, plays, films, television and radio programs, news reports, and other communication media for the purpose of altering or suppressing parts thought to be objectionable or questioning the status quo.

Thanks to the Internet, there are many solutions today to bypass government censorship. These tools allow the population to access information freely even though doing so puts them at risk.

How can journalists reach people living under censorship? How can we help them access free information in a safe and modern way?

Judges & Mentors

Šárka Štrossová

Šárka Štrossová

CEO at WebExpo
Jozef Vodička

Jozef Vodička

Google Developer Experts European Lead
Aleksandar Vladimirov

Aleksandar Vladimirov

Technical Project Manager, Thales
Jan Cibulka

Adam Javůrek

Innovation Editor at Český rozhlas
Jan Cibulka

Jan Cibulka

Data journalist at iROZHLAS.cz
Jan Cibulka

David Bečvařík

Solutions Architect at Red Hat
Filip Noubel

Filip Noubel

Co-founder and co-editor at Cathay Publishers
Dagmar Caspe

Dagmar Caspe

Project Coordinator at Prague Media Point
Philip Staehelin

Philip Staehelin

Founder & CEO at DOT Glasses
6⁠–7 September 2019


  • 17.00 — Registration
  • 18.00 — Opening
  • 18.30 — Theme introduction
  • 18.45 — Putting the teams together
  • 19.00 — Dinner and networking
  • 19.45 — Begin hacking
  • 23.00 — Group check in
  • 09.00 — Breakfast
  • 09.30 — Group check in
  • 10.00 — Continue hacking
  • 13.00 — Lunch
  • 13.45 — Hacking ends
  • 15.00 — Prepare presentations
  • 16.00 — Presentations
  • 18.30 — Winners
  • 19.00 — Closing
  • 20.00 — Party and networking


Who can attend?

Journalists (students or professionals), designers, and coders.

When and where is it?

September 6th, 7th 2019. HubHub Coworking, Perlová 5, 110 00 Staré Město, Prague, Czech Republic.

Is this a free event?

Yes! Attendance, food, and swag is all completely free! 💸

Do you offer travel reimbursement?

Unfortunately, we cannot provide travel reimbursements.

What if there is a change of plans or an emergency?

In the event of a change of plans or an emergency, we will contact you via email. You can also follow us on Twitter for updates.

Can I work on my hack before the event?

No. To maintain competition integrity and fairness, all work on your hack must be done at the event.

Will there be free food and drinks?

There will be multiple meals scheduled throughout the event. Drinks and snacks will also be available, and 1 free drink at the after party. 🌯 ☕️

Is there a theme for the hackathon?

Yes! You’ll have the choice of choosing a project within our three tracks Fake news – how to identify and debunk?, Open Debate, or News Censorship. The hack you decide to do must fall within the track that you choose.

What are the rules?

The maximum team size is 5 people. All projects must be started from scratch at the start of the hacking period and completed by the designated time. All participants must follow the enforced Code of Conduct.

Is there a schedule?

Yes! See above.

Can I sign up with a team?

We allow team sign ups of up to 5 people as long as you have a journalist in your team. All team members must sign up individually and you can specify team members on your application.

What should I bring?

Bring your laptop, chargers, a valid ID, and comfortable clothes. We also recommend a sleeping bag and pillow so you can take advantage of our designated napping zones 😴

Is the event in English only?


Got more questions? Get in touch!

Prize Partners


Event Partners

Czech Startups


Don't hesitate, the number of participants is limited!