Preserving freedom of speech | Program | DW | 26.03.2015
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Preserving freedom of speech

Hosted by Deutsche Welle
Monday, June 22 / Plenary Chamber

Being a journalist, writer, or political cartoonist sometimes involves personal risk. It is a risk worth taking, in the eyes of the women and men observing revolutions, conflicts and wars around the world and sharing their findings and opinions with readers, viewers and listeners. Their mission is to keep the public informed, and, ideally, to make a difference and even to promote change.

The risks of covering news on the frontlines are obvious, but a new and worrying dimension has come into play. More than ever before, journalists have become targets. The number of journalists who are being threatened, intimidated and arrested in countries where regimes are clinging to power is growing. Taking members of the media hostage has become a source of income for terrorist groups. Extremists are using social media to spread terror with graphic images of public executions of journalists.

The attack on the editorial staff of French magazine Charlie Hebdo marks a grim milestone. Members of the Western media have been injured and even killed as a direct consequence of freedom of speech in the past, but this brutal slaughter symbolizes a developing rift between cultures. The role of the media as an observer and admonisher needs to be protected from both governmental caprice and threats by extremists.

This panel at the Global Media Forum will discuss the new challenges for journalism and political publishing. The discussion aims to collect differing perspectives on the responsibility of individual reporters, publishers and media organizations to use freedom of speech as a tool for mediation.

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