Text by Pauline Betche
From 6 to 7 October 2016, media workers, experts and journalists meet in Leipzig, Germany, for this year’s European Media Freedom Conference. The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) invited speakers and attendees from a variety of backgrounds. The annual conference focuses not only on the challenges media freedom in Europe is facing, but also on opportunities and success stories that are worth being discussed.
Most important questions include: How can we network to protect journalists? What have we learned about whistleblowing? How can we measure media freedom? Are there any other options for how to fund journalism? These and more questions will guide the conference. In keynote speeches, world café discussions and individual consultations, media workers, journalists, lawyers and experts will live the spirit of cooperation.
A video introducing the conference:
Journalism under threat – how can we protect journalists?
Attacks on journalists seem to be on the rise Europe-wide. Threats are coming from different directions and take diverse forms: police authority, religious and political extremism, online threats and hate speech on social media, gender-based attacks against female reporters.
Four panelists will engage with these issues after a keynote speech on the first day of the conference. Investigative journalist Visar Duriqi from Kosovo will focus on religious extremist groups, as he has had to experience threats himself. Martin Hoffmann, researcher at ECPMF, will link to the Fact Finding Mission that monitors the massively increasing number of attacks on journalists during right-wing populist assemblies in Germany. Marius Lukošiūnas contributes from an international perspective as the specialist in the Safety of Journalists Programme at UNESCO. Mediacoop journalist Eloïse Lebourg enriches the discussion with her own experiences as an independent journalist in France.
Henrik Kaufholz, Chair of the Board at ECPMF, will moderate the panel discussion.
Recent Leaks: What have we learned so far regarding protection of sources in whistleblowing?
Whistleblowers have had a huge impact in the past years: Several big leaks have resulted in international criminal investigations of high profile individuals and resignations of prime ministers. Although whistleblowing has proven to be successful in uncovering illegal activities and misconduct, to this date whistleblowers do not enjoy proper protection.
Only recently, whistleblower Antoine Deltour of #LuxLeaks was sentenced to one year of suspended prison and a fine of 1,500 euros. Although he is hindered from attending physically, he will be able to share his experiences at the conference. Kristof Clerix, a Belgian journalist working for Knack, is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and speaks from a journalistic perspective on whistleblowing and leaks. With Dirk Voorhoof, Executive Board Member at ECPMF, the panel discussion will be widened by legal expertise.
The discussion is led by Gillian Phillips, Director of Editorial Legal Services at Guardian News & Media Limited.
Schedule and more information
Author of the text, Pauline Betche is a Communication Assistant at ECPMF