2-Day Event to Change the Future of Internet Freedom

September 17-18, 2021

HubHub Palac ARA in Prague



September 17 - 19, 2021

HubHub Palac ARA - Praha



The RFE/RL Prague Hackathon is a 48-hour event bringing together journalists, coders, and designers to innovate and build digital prototypes in support of media freedom. The Hackathon will be held on September 17th and 18th at HubHub Palac ARA in Prague.

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages and 23 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 Theme

Internet Freedom

Authoritarian governments increasingly seek to suppress the free flow of information by limiting access to the Internet by blocking information, filtering content, enhancing surveillance tactics, and other forms of censorship.

The RFE/RL Hackathon will help to increase resilience to censorship and surveillance by developing technology to empower individuals in the digital sphere, to enhance freedom of information, and to bolster abilities to freely access the Internet.

Judges - Speakers - Mentors

Thomas Rid

Johns Hopkins SAIS. Author of ACTIVE MEASURES

Samya Ayish

News Lab Teaching Fellow at Google

Tara Kelly

Data Editor at European Journalism Centre

Michael Brenner

Head of Design at Data4Change

Patrick Boehler

Head of Digital Strategy at RFE/RL

Jan Eißfeldt

Global Head of Trust & Safety at Wikimedia Foundation

Aric Toler

Director of Research & Training at Bellingcat

Josh Rayman

Data Viz at New Statesman Media Group

Andy Secker

Lead Data Scientist at the BBC

Jan Cibulka

Data Journalist at iROZHLAS.cz

Pete Baumgartner

Senior Editor at RFE/RL

Tolkun Umaraliev

Managing Editor for Digital at Current Time TV

Troy Norcross

Enterprise Strategist

Olga Abramchik

Multimedia Producer/TV at Current Time TV

Kimberly Conger

Director, Pangea Digital at RFE/RL

Arkady Pildes

Lead Product & Solutions Manager at Pangea Digital

Nat Kretchun

Vice President for Programs, OTF

Tomáš Fidler

Principal Software Engineer at Microsoft

Arzu Geybullayeva Kurtulus

Founder at Azerbaijan Internet Watch

Miro Masat

Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services

Zdenek Bulan

Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services

Aleksandar Vladimirov

Technical Project Manager at Thales

Anton Merkurov


Konstantin Ignatov

Staff Engineer at Kiwi.com

Martin Felcman

Director of Product management at Productboard

Jirka Hana

Co-founder of Geneea, NLP researcher at Charles University.

Petr Hamerník

Co-founder of Geneea

Jakub Sanojca

AI Product Manager at Avast

Adil Gherib

Senior Product Manager at RFE/RL

Evgenia Konovalova

Outreach Coordinator at RFE/RL, Media and Public Affairs

Lazizkhon Omilov

Social Media ProducerUzbek Service at RFE/RL


Sept. 17⁠ – 18,  2021
  • 10:00 — Registration
  • 11:00 — Opening RemarkDaisy Sindelar, Kimberly Conger, Adil Gherib
  • 11:40 — RFE/RL HackX incubator | Presentation of the Latest Products
    Adil Gherib
  • 12:00 — Fireside chat | Methodology and Open Source Technology in Geo-verification
    Samya Ayish
  • 12:30 — Panel | Humanizing Election Data: A Look at Regional Case Studies, Past and Present
    Tara Kelly, Josh Rayman, Jan Cibulka
  • 13:00 — Lightning talk | Data4Change: Data, Stories and Visuals
    Michael Brenner
  • 13:15 — Fireside chat | Prototyping Machine Translation Tools for a Multilingual Newsroom
    Andy Secker
  • 13:45 — Break Lunch
  • 14:15 — Fireside chat | Croatian Wikipedia Disinformation Assessment
    Jan Eißfeldt
  • 14:45 — Fireside chat | Bellingcat - Russian Gray/Black Data Market
    Aric Toler
  • 15:15 — Fireside chat | RFE/RL Internet Censorship Circumvention Products
    Arkady Pildes
  • 15:45 — Break
  • 16:00 — Interview | Thomas Rid - Active Measures
    Pete Baumgartner, Thomas Rid
  • 16:30 — Fireside chat | The Battle for Internet Freedom: What Tools Do We Have to Defend Ourselves?
    Nat Kretchun
  • 17:00 — Fireside chat | Censorship - Can Blockchain Help?
    Troy Norcross
  • 17:30 — Panel | Banned From In-Country Reporting? Bring the Audience Into the Newsroom
    Patrick Boehler, Olga Abramchik, Tolkun Umaraliev
  • 18:00 — Lightning talk | Trends of Circumvention Tools
    Anton Merkurov
  • 18:15 — Dinner and networking
  • 19:00 — Putting the teams together
  • 19:15 — Workshop | Amazon Web Services
    Miro Masat, Zdenek Bulan
  • 19:45 — Begin hacking
  • 23:00 — Group check-in
  • 9:00 — Breakfast
  • 09:30 — Group check in
  • 10:00 — Workshop | Microsoft DevOps
    Tomáš Fidler
  • 10:00 — Workshop | Sketching for Change: Internet Shutdowns
    Michael Brenner
  • 13:00 — Lunch
  • 16:30 — Hacking ends
  • 17:00 — Prepare presentations
  • 17:30 — Presentations
    Judging panel: Kimberly Conger, Arzu Kurtulus, Andy Secker, Josh Rayman, Lazizkhon Omilov
  • 18:45 — Winners
  • 19:00 — Closing, party and networking
    Glass Bar, Dancing House, Prague

Gold Partner

Avast Foundation

Prize Partners


Event Partners

Advocacy Assembly
Prague Startup Weekend
Prague Media Point
Advocacy Assembly


Who can attend?

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

When and where is it?

September 17th and 18th, 2021. 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! 💸

What are the Covid regulations?

All participants must comply with the Covid-19 rules valid in the Czech Republic during the period of RFE/RL Hackathon (thus 17-18 September 2021). The current rules, valid as of July 9, 2021, can be found here https://koronavirus.mzcr.cz/en/

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 one free drink at the afterparty. 🌯 ☕️

Is there a theme for the hackathon?

Yes! You’ll have the choice of choosing a project within our theme of Internet Freedom. The hack you decide to do must fall within the track that you choose.

What are the rules?

The maximum team size is five people. All projects must start 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 five people as long as you have a journalist on 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!