24-Hour Hackathon to Change the Future of Internet Freedom

September 4 - 5, 2021

Fabrika - Tbilisi, Georgia

The 2021 Hackathon is CLOSED. Pre-register for the 2022 edition here



September 4 - 5, 2021

Fabrika - Tbilisi, Georgia



The RFE/RL Tbilisi Hackathon is a 24-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 4th and 5th at Fabrika in Tbilisi, Georgia. RFE/RL journalists report the news in 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

Arkady Pildes

Lead Product & Solutions Manager at Pangea Digital

Vusal Garibov

Human Right Technical Consultant

Anton Merkurov


Rudolf Eremyan

Data Scientist at Toptal

Imran Aliyev

Digital Security Consultant

Ketevan Ebanoidze

Co-founder at Impact Hub Tbilisi

Arzu Geybullayeva Kurtulus

Founder at Azerbaijan Internet Watch

Natia Zambakhidze

Director, Georgian Service at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Artur Papyan

Director at MDI Armenia


September 04⁠ – 05,  2021
  • 17:00 — Registration
  • 18:00 — Opening
  • 18:15 — Fireside chat - Arzu Kurtulus
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  • 18:35 — Fireside chat - Artur Papyan
  • 19:55 — Fireside chat - Arkady Pildes
  • 20:15 — Putting the teams together
  • 20:25 — Dinner and networking
  • 21:00— Begin hacking
  • 23:00 — Group check in
  • 9:00 — Breakfast
  • 9:30 — Group check in
  • 13:00 — Lunch
  • 15:00 — Hacking ends
  • 15:30 — Prepare presentations
  • 16:30 — Presentations
  • 18:45 — 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 4th, 5th 2021. Fabrika, 8 Egnate Ninoshvili St,, Tbilisi, Georgia.

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 Georgia during the period of RFE/RL Hackathon (thus 4-5 September 2021). The current rules, valid as of July 9, 2021, can be found here http://www.moh.gov.ge/ or https://stopcov.ge/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!

Prize Partners


Event Partners

Impact Hub Tbilisi