What role does the Internet play in public protests like those in the Arab World, in Turkey or in Ukraine? And how do media react to certain events? The 2014 Global Media Forum seeks to find the answers.
"Ukraine is an information battle - more than it is a real, physical battle," said Jamie Shea, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security, in reference to the current precarious situation gripping Ukraine.
Shea will be one of the prominent speakers at DW's Global Media Forum 2014 (GMF 2014), which runs from June 30 to July 2 at the World Conference Center in Bonn.
According to Shea, the Internet has transformed the nature and course of recent conflicts in countries like Ukraine, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey. The Internet offers more and more people the chance to participate in the way their societies develop. With its motto, "From Information to Participation - Challenges for the Media," this year's Global Media Forum puts a spotlight on this trend.
Together with British journalist Sarah Harrison, a close confidante of Edward Snowden, and other experts, Shea will take part in a discussion on how security can be ensured and abuse prevented in today's global information-based society. The session will take place on Wednesday (02.07.2014).
A leading media conference
This year marks the seventh edition of the Global Media Forum. DW's new director general, Peter Limbourg, will be hosting the event for the first time. "We get through to a lot of people around the world in this way - we have fascinating topics and I think we should be proud of this Global Media Forum," said Limbourg.
According to Limbourg, the event, which attracts over 2,000 participants from 100 countries, can play a significant role in the world of media. "You can't change the world with it, but you can draw attention to important issues such as this year's question of how people can participate in this digital world," he said.
The question of how digital media can contribute to shaping political opinion will be the focus of a plenary session on Tuesday (01.07.2014), involving prominent participants: Emma Ruby-Sachs, campaign director at global civic organization Avaaz, Amy Goodman, journalist and co-founder of Democracy Now!, and Guy Berger, director of media development at UNESCO. Together with Matthew Armstrong from the US Broadcasting Board of Governors, they will discuss the Internet's two different roles: enabling greater political participation and threatening data security and freedom of opinion.
The podium discussion will conclude with an address by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, providing the foreign policy perspective ("Digitalization and participation: A foreign policy view").
DW is offering various options to those interested in the Global Media Forum but unable to attend in person. In several special television segments, DW-TV will report live on the event, including on the opening at 11:20 a.m. CEST, as well as at 5:30 p.m. from the Bobs Awards ceremony, which honors outstanding achievements in online activism. In addition, all sessions taking place in the plenary hall of the World Conference Center will be available via Livestream on the DW homepage. Information will also be made available via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
As in other years, conference attendees will also take part in an evening dinner cruise on the Rhine river. Scheduled for Tuesday evening, the cruise will provide opportunity for further discussion and exchange.
A forum for exchange
One of the main objectives behind the Global Media Forum is enabling networking between participants from all over the world. This will also be the case this year, underscored DW Director General Peter Limbourg.
One of the event's most appealing features is the platform it provides for the exchange of different perspectives. Lively debates can be expected when Limbourg meets with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of German media group Axel Springer, Tim Sebastian, British television journalist and host of internationally acclaimed talk shows "Doha Debates" and "New Arab Debates," and Jeff Jarvis, US journalist and author of the bestseller "What Would Google Do?" on Monday (30.06.2014). Together, they will discuss the future of journalism and the role of international broadcasters.