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DW conference responds to worldwide crises

Berthold StevensMay 24, 2016

Europe's relationship to Russia; attacks against journalists in Turkey and the refugee crisis – these are only a few of the issues that the Deutsche Welle (DW) Global Media Forum will take up in Bonn from June 13 to 15.

GMF16 Cinemascope Katze
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo/A. Lubaki

"Media, Freedom, Values" is the central theme of the German international broadcaster's ninth annual conference, where around 2,000 experts from around the world will meet and discuss for three days at the World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB). DW expects guests from over 100 countries and a number of professions, ranging from the media to politics, science to art to activism.

Speakers include Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, vice president of the European Parliament, Alexey Nikolov, managing editor of RT, and Andrea Nahles, minister of Labor and Social Affairs. Also coming to Bonn are Claudia Roth, the German parliament's (Bundestag) vice president, Michael Roth, minister of state for Europe in Germany's Federal Foreign Office, Wolfgang Ischinger, director of the Munich Security Conference, Gesine Schwan, president of the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform, and Bärbel Kofler, Germany's commissioner for human rights policy and humanitarian aid.

Additional guests include Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera of Uganda, winner of the "Alternative Nobel Prize", Meglena Kuneva, deputy prime minister of Bulgaria, and Yves Leterme, former prime minister of Belgium. British historian, journalist and author Martin Walker will speak about the upcoming referendum in Great Britain on its membership in the European Union. Christiana Figueres, head of the UN's Climate Change Secretariat, will deliver the conference's closing remarks.

Freedom of Speech Award and 'The Bobs'

GMF16 Cinemascope Zelt
Image: picure alliance/landov/E. Zanoun

DW will bestow its "Freedom of Speech Award" for the second time. Sedat Ergin, editor-in-chief of the Turkish newspaper "Hürriyet," will be receiving the prize for his courageous defense of press freedom in his country. The award ceremony will begin on June 13 at 10:30.

On the second day of the conference, DW will be honoring this year's main prize winners of "The Bobs", its competition for the best of online activism. The internationally renowned awards will be going to outstanding activists and projects in Bangladesh, Iran, Germany and India. The award ceremony will feature a musical performance by Ethiopian soul singer FETSUM.

Interactive and solution-oriented approach

DW Director General Peter Limbourg: "The Global Media Forum offers solution-oriented workshops, interactive formats and inspiring talks. We will be discussing the importance of digital strategies for the future of international media, as well as human rights, good governance and development cooperation, and restrictions placed around the world on the freedom of the press, art and culture. As always, the conference will also deal with the role of the media and the development of journalism."

Sedat Ergin
Image: DW

During a panel about "Forgotten humanitarian crises," the German Federal Foreign Office will discuss the relationship between media attention and donor nations’ willingness to help. Innovative projects dealing with drone journalism and the future impact of social media will be presented. The Mercator Foundation is organizing an "Open Situation Room," a simulation exercise about dealing with complex political crises – in this case Iran.

DW cameras rolling

Multiple DW programs will be broadcasting from the Global Media Forum. Conference participants will be able to attend recordings of the hit-series Shababtalk, hosted by Jaafar Abdul Karim, and DW's new human rights-themed interview show, led by Cuban journalist Yoani Sánchez.

In addition, a number of outstanding documentary films will be screened, with their creators present for discussion. #MyEscape, jointly produced by DW and German regional broadcaster WDR, Eco@Africa, a coproduction between DW and its Nigerian partner Channels TV, and #WhatAmerica, a DW series covering the run-up to the US presidential elections, will all be shown. The IDEA production "Power in our Pockets", about the use of social media for controlling campaign financing, will also make its European premiere at the conference.

The accompanying cultural program includes performances by Syrian refugee and pianist Aeham Ahmad and Egyptian street artist Ammar Abo Bakr. The artists will discuss the role of arts and culture in times of crisis with Samy Deluxe, Dieter Gorny and Ahmed Al-Basheer.

Co-hosts, supporters and partners

The Global Media Forum 2016 is being put on in collaboration with the Foundation "Internationale Begegnung" of the Sparkasse Bonn. The conference is also supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the city of Bonn and the Robert Bosch Foundation. Further partners include the European Economic and Social Committee, Google News Lab, Facebook, the think tanks IDEA and Carnegie Europe, UNESCO, the Gustav Stresemann Institute, and the Development and Peace Foundation.

Image: DW