Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum focuses on ‘Global Inequalities’ | Press Releases | DW | 15.05.2018
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Press Releases

Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum focuses on ‘Global Inequalities’

Among the speakers at DW’s Global Media Forum (GMF) 2018 in Bonn, Germany in June are EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai and Freedom of Speech Award laureate Sadegh Zibakalam. 

Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, and award-winning journalist Yusuf Omar, co-founder of Hashtag Our Stories and former CNN Senior Social Media Reporter, are just two of the many high-level experts who will return to the GMF to share their expertise and give participants an insight into their latest innovative projects. 

For the 11th consecutive year, around 2,000 experts from over 100 countries will come together at the World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB) for the three-day conference and discuss pressing media and political issues. 

“Global Inequalities” will be the focus theme. Inequalities can be found anywhere in the world - some are all-too visible, many obscure and insidious, and often causing lasting damage to society, social cohesion and growth. From institutionalized racism to income inequality, sexism, the digital divide and unequal political and economic power relations, inequality is deeply ingrained and deeply confusing. Shedding light on all dimensions of global inequality and its various solutions is a difficult yet vital mission for media, civil society and politicians.

DW Freedom of Speech Award 

Global Media Forum 2016 Peter Limbourg (DW/M. Müller)

Peter Limbourg

As in the past three years, DW will be honoring a person or initiative which is distinguished in its advocacy for human rights and freedom of speech. The Freedom of Speech Award 2018 goes to Iranian political scientist Sadegh Zibakalam. Announcing the winner on International Press Freedom Day on May 3, DW Director General Peter Limbourg said that "Deutsche Welle's utmost concern is to reach people who live in countries with limited freedom of speech and the press and to provide them with reliable information. One of those countries is Iran where people are being systematically kept from being able to access information. The 2018 Freedom of Speech Award is intended to serve as an encouragement to civil society in Iran while also criticizing the government for its decision to prosecute Zibakalam for expressing his opinion."

The decision to honor Sadegh Zibakalam was met with both praise and criticism. Some social media users outside of Iran protested immediately, claiming that the academic was a supporter of the Iranian regime. Many others approved of DW’s choice and congratulated Zibakalam on his courageous efforts to try and push for reforms from within his home country and even risking imprisonment for speaking his mind freely.

Previous Freedom of Speech Award laureates

Speech: Monika Grütters (DW/P. Böll)

DW Freedom of Speech Award ceremony 2017

Last year's laureates were the members of the White House Correspondents' Association from Washington DC. The former editor-in-chief of the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, Sedat Ergin, picked up his award in Bonn in 2016. The year before the first recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award was unable to attend the ceremony. DW keeps appealing to authorities in Saudi Arabia to release blogger Raif Badawi from his prison in Jeddah. 

Deutsche Welle - Germany’s public global broadcaster 

DW is renowned for its credibility and journalistic independence. The international broadcaster delivers global news from Germany, available in 30 languages worldwide. With television channels in English, Spanish, Arabic and German, and digital content in 30 languages, DW brings its audiences closer to what matters most with news, features and talk shows covering everything from business, science and politics to culture and sports. DW Akademie, together with its partners, plays a leading role in the development of free media systems, creating access to information, setting standards for education and independent journalism.

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