"Media and Foreign Policy in the Digital Age" was the focus of the 2015 Global Media Forum held from June 22-24 in Bonn. DW Akademie offered interactive expert panel discussions.
Exchange and discussion: IT expert Hendrik Holtmann presented tips on digital safety for journalists during one of DW Akademie's interactive lunchtime sessions
Diverse international organizations publish their own press freedom country rankings every year. The results can differ from one institution to another. What are the methodologies applied for the existing indices? Which organisation stands behind each index and who finances them? Learn more about the Media Freedom Navigator, a web tool that provides an overview of all that information as well as how the transparency of the media freedom rankings can help journalists.
Dr Jan Lublinski, Head of Research and Evaluation at DW Akademie, talked to project manager Laura Schneider, a Research and Evaluation project manager at DW Akademie and Christian Mihr, the Executive Director of Reporters without Borders Germany.
The importance of freedom of expression and access to information in sustainable development
"Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements." This is the suggested text for "Target 16.10" in the new framework for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, better known as SDGs. Various governmental and non-governmental organisations working in the field of freedom and expression and media development are still debating these issues - before the SDGs are officially introduced in September 2015. Learn more about why it is important to have freedom of expression represented among the development goals and whether the target will survive the ongoing negotiations.
Dr Jan Lublinski, Head of Research and Development at DW Akademie, talked to Niels Breyer, Head of Division MDGs, SDGs, post-2015, Special Unit "Post-2015 agenda for sustainable development" at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and Mark Nelson, Senior Director of the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), National Endowment for Democracy, United States.
" Independent voices or mouthpieces of the rulers? The role and impact of state and public broadcasters in transformation and conflict"
Panelists Ilim Karypbekov (middle), General Director of OTRK, Kyrgyz Republic, and Prof. Johannes Grotzky (right), former Director of the Bavarian Radio Broadcasting Company
The workshop looked at the role of public broadcasters and the issues faced during reform processes of former state-run media. Public broadcasters needed to build a public sphere, encourage public discourse and promote societal integration, said DW Akademie's Jan Lublinski. The panel agreed and said that building trust was a key responsibility for journalists. For Zoe Titus, Regional Director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Namibia, it was about a relationship with the audience. "The notion of a public service broadcaster has to entail a sense of ownership from the public," she said, "and this is a long term process." Panelists representing Ukraine, the Kyrgyz Republic, Namibia and Thailand agreed that pressure from the state was a key challenge for their public broadcasting organizations, particularly because they relied on state funding. Lublinski added that the independence of public service media has been, and still is, a challenge in Germany. With these problems came the crucial issue: how to gain and maintain the audience's trust. Media development approaches currently include calling for improved legal structure or supporting organizational development. Panelists agreed that where state control over a public broadcaster was too strong, it could be more effective for media developers to focus on community media or alternative ways to provide content, such as new digital initiatives.
" Political and crisis communication capacities for civil society and public administrators"
How can government bodies, civil society and the media communicate effectively during conflicts? International media experts offered answers at a DW Akademie workshop, moderated by Ute Lange, head of DW Akademie communications. Because the flow of information is often interrupted during crises, building trust between citizens, non-governmental organizations and the media is especially important, said Kyryl Savin, DW Akademie's country coordinator for Ukraine. Governments also need to respond to crises quickly and transparently, said Gerlind Vollmer, a DW Akademie trainer for conflict-sensitive communication, and referred to Tunisia as an example. Leila Nachawati, co-founder of the project Syria Untold, highlighted the importance of continued training for journalists as careful word choice is often crucial during crises. All panelists viewed conflict-sensitive reporting, which would result in a broad understanding of the standpoints of conflicting parties, as key to deescalating conflicts.