The Free European Media Conference 2022 in Gdansk 17. og 18. March is organized by European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and Free European Media in cooperation with Council of Europe, European Commission (EU), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Nordic Council of Ministers (NMR), Nordic Journalist Centre (NJC), Self-Goverment of the Pomorskie Voivodeship, European Solidarity Centre (ECS) and City of Gdansk.
Speakers from all over Europe
Mayor of Gdansk
Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor of Gdansk, Wiesław Byczkowski, Deputy Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, President, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Věra Jourová (online) Vice-President of the EU-commission for Values and Transparency and responsible for the European Media Freedom Act, Pïer Luigi Parcu (online) Center for Media Pluralism and Freedom, Wout van Wijk, New Media Europe, director, Ramona Strugariu, MEP, Romania, Chair of the EP media group, Richard Burnley (online) Director of Legal and Policy, EBU, Yannis Kotsifos, President, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Adeline Hulin, UNESCO project officer for Freedom of Expression, Pieter Knapen, General Secretary and ombudsman, Raad voor de Journalistiek, Alexander Warzilek, Österreichser Presserat, David Puertas Graell, Blanquerne Universitat Ramon Lull, Lucie Sýkorová, Chair, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Leon Willems (online) Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Barbara Trionfi, Director, IPI, Marc Gruyber, media expert, Tine Johansen, President, Danish Union of Journalists (DJ), Grzegorz Nawrocki, moderator, Free European Media (FEM), Vaclav Stetka, Loughborough University, Krzysztof Bobinski, Society of Journalists, Joanna Szymanska, Article 19, Senior Programme Officer, Magdalena Adamowicz, MEP Poland, Patrick Penninckx, Head of Information Society Department of the Council of Europe, Maia Mazurkiewicz, Alliance4Europe, Anna Kireeva, Barents Press Russia, Gunta Sloga, Director, Baltic Centre for Media Excellence, Elias Carayannis (online) Professor Dr., The George Washington University School of Business, Washington, DC, USA, Leif Lønsmann, senior advisor and board member, Nordic Journalist Centre (NJC), Urska Umek, Secretariat of the CoE Steering Committee on Media and Information Society, Maja Sever, President, Croatian Union of Journalists, Adrien Collins, (EFJ), Gulnara Akhundova, Head of Department for Global Response, International Media Support (IMS), Laurens Hueting, (ECPMF).
AGENDA AND SESSIONS
Sessions: Free media and politics are challenged
Session 1: Launch of the European Media Freedom Act
Intergovernmental institutions use recommendation, declarations and charters as instruments to protect free media. The EU wants to go further creating a Media Freedom Act. What difference will that make and what should such an act deliver?
Session 2: Self-regulation to empower credibility in the media
Talking about hate and disinformation, trust in media, self-regulation is a cornerstone for the media to achieve credibility. This is now addressed in a large EU-project. How can such a project make a change and what will the impact be on propaganda media, how to counter them?
Session 3: Trust in Journalism and Media Viability
Trust in Journalism is under attack, weaponisation of information in the war – pluralism in decline and extended areas without local media is a threat for European democracies. Therefore, new business models, media support and mechanisms to ensure media viability should be considered as support for democracy.
Session 4: Poland, who controls the media?
Poland has through decades experienced polarization in media. However during the latest years this situation has worsened through new media law and a government strategically attacking free media.
SPECIAL UKRAINE: Working session
War against Ukraine: How to provide the future for free and independent media and for the journalists in the region of war and conflicts. The need for a regional collaboration of journalists and media.
Session 5: Media Literacy, Media and Dialogue for Democracy
Reaching out to the citizens, engaging readers, listeners, and viewers. Media Literacy is not only about teaching, it is a mechanism to increase credibility which is crystal clear during the war of information within the war in Ukraine.
Session 6: Media Freedom and safety as a prerequisite for democracy
To address the challenges regarding freedom of the media, mapping and alerts can be helpful, and how can we get use of that including a special focus on Ukraine? Both the UN and the Council of Europe have urged member-states with all stakeholders on board developing national plans with mechanisms to ensure safety of journalists and to bring perpetrators to justice. And ECPMF is the lead on Media Freedom Rapid Response.
Conference in English but with translation into Polish
Thursday 17 March
European Solidarity Center (ECS), Gdansk
Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor of Gdansk
Wiesław Byczkowski, Deputy Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship,
Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, President, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) will address the current situation for media in Europe in wartime.
13.15 Session 1: Launch of the European Media Freedom Act
Moderator: Mogens Blicher Bjerregård
Speakers: Věra Jourová, (online) Vice-President of the EU-commission for Values and Transparency and responsible for the European Media Freedom Act. Panel: Pïer Luigi Parcu,(online), Center for Media Pluralism and Freedom, Florence, Wout van Wijk, News Media Europe, director, Ramona Strugariu, MEP, Romania, Chair of the EP media group, Richard Burnley, (online), Director of Legal and Policy, EBU, Yannis Kotsifos, ECPMF, President of the executive board
14.30: Session 2: Self-regulation to empower credibility in the media
Moderator: Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary, EFJ. Panel: Adeline Hulin, UNESCO project officer for Freedom of Expression, Pieter Knapen, General Secretary and ombudsman, Raad voor de Journalistiek, Alexander Warzilek, Österreichser Presserat, David Puertas Graell, Blanquerne Universitat Ramon Lull
15.30: Coffee Break
16.00: Session 3: Trust in Journalism and Media Viability
Moderator: Lucie Sýkorová, Chair of the Supervisory Board, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. Panel: Leon Willems (online), Free Press Unlimited, Barbara Trionfi, Director, IPI, Marc Gruber, media expert, Tine Johansen, President of the Danish Union of Journalists
17.00: Session 4: Poland, who controls the media?
Moderator: Grzegorz Nawrocki, former TVP-journalist. Panel: Vaclav Stetka, Loughborough University, Chris Bobinski, Society of Journalists, Joanna Szymanska, Article 19
18.00: Coffee Break
18.30 War in Ukraine (no live-streaming)
The role of media and journalists, our narratives, the fight against disinformation and propaganda, journalism and media in the region of Ukraine and the former Sovjet republics.
20.00 Networking Reception
Friday 18 March
9.00 Opening: Magdalena Adamowich, MEP Poland
9.10 Speaker: Patrick Penninckx, Head of Information Society Department of the Council of Europe
9.30: Session 5: Media Literacy, Media and Dialogue for Democracy
Moderator: Maia Mazurkiewicz, Alliance4Europe/Free European Media. Panel: Anna Kireeva, Barents Press Russia, Gunta Sloga, Director, Baltic Centre for Media Excellence, Elias Carayannis (online), Professor Dr., Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, The George Washington University School of Business, Washington, DC, USA. Leif Lønsmann, senior advisor and board member, Nordic Journalist Centre, Urska Umek, Secretariat of the CoE Steering Committee on Media and Information Society
10.30: Coffee break
11.00: Session 6: Media Freedom and safety as a prerequisite for democracy
Moderator: Maja Sever, President of the Croatian Union of Journalists. Panel: Gulnara Akhundova, Head of Department for Global Response, International Media Support (IMS), Laurens Hueting, (ECPMF), Adrien Collins, (EFJ).
12.00 Concluding remarks
After a 24 hours conference, representatives of a diversity of European organisations will propose concrete actions that they and other organisations can take to meet the challenges addressed.
VENUE: IN A HISTORICAL PLACE
An important place for the European history
The Free European Media Conference always take
place in this area, in the huge European Solidarity Centre (ECS) in Gdansk in Poland.
Second World War began with german attack on Westerplatte near by Gdansk the 1. september 1939. Russian follow from the East the 17. September same year, and not before 50 years after, the Poles get the freedom again. Also in Gdansk.
Gdansk is a sort of a capital of democracy in the united and free Europe after the collapse of communism in June 1989. The Solidarity-movement (Solidarnosc) that give Poland and Europe the freedom back started in Gdansk with the shipyard strikes in august 1980. The Free European Media Conference take place in this area, in the huge European Solidarity Centre (ECS).
The huge construction you can see next to the entrance to the Gdansk Shipyards is the impressive European Solidarity Centre which opened on August 30, 2014, the 34th anniversary of the signing of the August Accords. The 5-storey building, which has been designed to give the impression of walls cracking and tilting and is covered in rust-coloured sheet metal reminiscent of a ship’s hull, has been a project many years in the making. It was finally signed into life in 2005 on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the August Accords when a Founding Act was signed in Solidarity Square by 29 joint-signatories including EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Solidarity legend and former President Lech Walesa.
The centre quickly gained international recognition picking up the prestigious Council of Europe Museum prize for 2016 while it, the OHS Hall (Sala BHP), Gate No. 2, Solidarity Square (Plac Solidarności) and Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970 were awarded the European Heritage Label. The purpose of the Label is to mark those sites which ‘have played an important role in European history and culture and relate to the idea of uniting, as well as democratic and humanistic values of timeless significance.’
There are a number of aims to the centre. First and foremost it is designed to be a symbol of the victory of the Solidarity movement and the way that victory was achieved peacefully thanks to the power of people uniting in solidarity with each other. It is both definitions of this word that the centre’s organisers want to pay tribute to and to develop further. The proclamation issued by the joint-signatories in 2005 stated that they wanted the European Solidarity Centre to “become the world’s centre for the ideas of freedom, democracy and solidarity to be fostered”.
The building is centred around a permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of Solidarity and the opposition, which led to the democratic transformation of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. But the exhibition forms just a part of the European Solidarity Centre’s daily function. The building features a library, reading rooms and archives which are completely accessible to researchers and any interested reader alike. The conference rooms and other spaces, such as the winter garden on the ground floor, host debates and concerts serving projects of both the ESC and outside associations aimed at working towards the common good.
A viewing terrace on the roof allows visitors to look out over the remains of the Lenin Shipyards where the Solidarity movement was born. The warmer months will see a bar opened here as well.
The building is free to enter and to move around – there are no scowling security men on the door. The major attraction for the foreign visitor is the permanent exhibition spread over two floors, seven different halls and occupying 3,000m2. This is the one part of the centre for which you need a ticket. This permanent exhibition tells the story of Solidarity; where it began, how it grew and ultimately where it led the people of Poland and the occupied countries of the Communist Bloc. For those familiar with the highly-regarded Roads to Freedom (Drogi do Wolnosci) exhibition, this is its successor and aims to build upon its legacy and develop the story further. It combines traditional display methods with some truly impressive state-of-the-art technology which allows visitors access to authentic artefacts, 3D projections, photographs, film, declassified security service documents and interactive displays. Allow yourself 2 to 3 hours to view the exhibition comfortably.
Exhibition with Solidarnosc and Lech Walesa
The first hall (A) you will enter is called ‘The Birth of Solidarność and is devoted to the strikes of August 1980. You’ll see the cab of crane operator Anna Walentynowicz, whose sacking close to her retirement created the spark that saw the shipyard rise up in protest. Authentic materials salvaged from the shipyard are used to tell the story with the former canteen table now supporting the interactive terminals and former workers helmets suspended over visitors’ heads onto which archive film is projected.
Moving into hall B, entitled ‘The Power of the Powerless’, you see the world that preceded the strikes of 1980 which give you an insight into the roots of the opposition movement and what the totalitarian regime looked and felt like. There are operational records from the security services and memories of the failed protests in 1970 which resulted in 45 deaths as they were ruthlessly crushed by security and military personnel.
Hall C brings you into the room dedicated to ‘Solidarność and Hope’. It’s here that you get a sense of the unexpected and unfamiliar freedom the strikes bought the country in August 1980 and the sixteen months that followed until the movement was outlawed and the country placed under Martial Law on December 13, 1981. Visitors are guided by a white and red trail which when reflected into the ceiling panel forms the legendary trade union’s logo.
Next comes ‘The War with Society’ and you are graphically given a sense of how the freedom and hope of the sixteen months following August 1980 was systematically destroyed. The space narrows and visitors are ushered toward a Militia van with the riot shields of Zomo (the armed paramilitary police) pressing you deeper into the hall. The terror and dread of the Martial Law period are conveyed while you witness the activity in the underground Solidarity movement as they try to rally the people to stand firm and resist. This chapter of the exhibition ends with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Lech Walesa in 1983.
Hall E hosts ‘The Road to Democracy’ and demonstrates the important role played by Polish-born Pope John Paul II (the former Bishop of Krakow Cardinal Karol Wojtyla). His messages of hope delivered during his pilgrimages to his homeland fuelled the struggle for freedom and inspired youth movements and society as a whole to renew their fight. The growing demands and the worsening economic crisis resulted in the governing regime agreeing to the Round Table talks in 1989. The subsequent partly-free elections saw Solidarity storm to victory and saw Poland become the first Communist Bloc country to win its freedom.
‘The triumph of Freedom’ in the final hall shows how the changes in Poland reverberated across the Communist Bloc as country after country rose up and demanded democracy. Countries were reborn and countless new states emerged. As Lech Walesa later told President Barack Obama, “(the Poles) smashed the teeth of the Soviet bear and when he couldn’t bite anymore, the rest of the nations made their own freedom”. Visitors are invited to add their tickets to the stack of those who have visited before in a symbol of solidarity.
As well as visiting the exhibition you can also take a moment to visit the ‘Pope John Paul II Hall’ to reflect as you look out through the windows onto the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers.
Excellent audio guides are available in Polish, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish and the local Kashubian language. There is audio description for the visually impaired and sign language and loops for the hearing impaired. The entire space is designed to be accessible to all. You’ll also find a gift shop, cafe, restaurant, a roof-top terrace (with summer-time bar) where you can view the remains of the surrounding shipyards and relax and reflect on what is a very good portrayal of the Solidarity story indeed. Those with children should also find the Play Department interesting as well.
TRICITY – GDANSK, GDYNIA, SOPOT
The neighbouring cities of Gdynia, Gdańsk and Sopot, form an extensive urban agglomeration called Tricity, with a population of more than 1 million.
Gdańsk is more than 1000 years old, visited by thousands of tourists each year; it combines cultural traditions of many nations. It is a paradise for enthusiasts of old architecture. One can infinitely walk among beautiful houses and historical monuments representing various architectural styles. Additionally, shops with a “soul”, charming restaurants and cafes as well as cultural events not encountered anywhere else create a unique atmosphere.
A few theatres, philharmonics, an opera, a summer music scene and multiplexes operate in the city. There are also many areas suitable for active recreation from walks on the beaches to biking, canoeing to extreme tourism. Everyone can find something interesting there irrespectively of the interests and mood. Additionally, cyclical events that are very popular with the local population and tourists take place in the city, e.g.: the St. Dominic’s Fair, Long Night of Museums or the Baltic Sail.
Gdańsk, one of the most beautiful cities in Poland, is a place one not only has to visit briefly but also do some sightseeing. The Main Town, Old Town, Wrzeszcz, Oliwa, Sobieszewo Island… Each of these places hides stories worth knowing. LINK: Visit Gdansk
Gdynia was founded as a fishing village and agricultural center. As Poland grew, gained independence, and the region began to expand, it became an influential seaport as well. Make your way up Kamienna Gora to get a full view of the city.
The initiative to build-up Gdynia started in the early 20th century and was then restarted in the 1970s. This makes it one of the most modern cities that Poland offers. What Gdynia lacks in historical architecture it makes up for with access to nature. The coastline and its surrounding hills are some of the most beautiful you’ll ever see. Take a leisurely walk along the promenade during sunset. There are hidden gems that can be found such as the 13th century St. Michael the Archangel Church and the 17th century manor house that is found on Flowarczna Street.
Events are held on a regular basis in Gdynia, including air races, football matches, and professional basketball. An annual film festival is held every November and yhe big music festival, the Open’er, draws in musicians from around the world. LINK: Visit Gdynia
Sopot is considered to be a major resort area and tourist spot along the Baltic Sea in Poland. Many people have heard of Sopot because it is home to the longest wooden pier in Europe, it stretches out over 500 meters! First mentioned as a city in 1283, the location of Sopot was initially known as a 7th century stronghold for the Slavonic people.
The beach at Sopot is known for beautiful white sands, plenty of restaurants and shops, and cultural events throughout the year. The waters of the Baltic Sea are enjoyable to take a swim during the Summer season.
Take a few moments to visit the famous crooked house before grabbing a bite to eat or a few drinks at one of the bars. Sopot has much to offer a visitor, partially because it is geared toward welcoming tourists, but also because it has plenty of history and natural features that make visiting a city fun. LINK: Visit Sopot
Working journalists, photographers and TV crews need accreditation to enter the Free European Media 2022 press zones. Submit information about your job function and what media you represent to press(at)freeeuropean.media.
Telephone during the conference: +45 81 44 84 74.
Press contact: Justyna Krawczyk, Anna Werenberg and Jens Mørch.
Thursday, 17. March 11.30 – 12.30 | Room 4
How to use mappingmediafreedom.org?
Monitoring Officer at ECPMF
This workshop enables you to detect and share media freedom violations in Europe. You will be introduced to www.mappingmediafreedom.org, the largest database of its kind, containing more than 6.000 alerts. You will learn how to use the Report It form to submit alerts and how to use the alert explorer to speed up your research on the status of media freedom. Speaker: Neus Vidal, Monitoring Officer, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF).
Neus Vidal is a journalist and political scientist. She is currently in charge of monitoring violations of press freedom at the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. She is also a Journalism Lecturer at the Open University of Catalonia and is pursuing a PhD in Politics at Birkbeck College – University of London, focusing on transparency policies and access to information.
Previously, she was as a freelance reporter at El País, and worked for several outlets in the United Kingdom and in Spain. Neus holds a double degree in Journalism and Political Science (Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona) and an Investigative Journalism Master’s degree (City, University of London). She has been awarded with several grants such as the European Collaborative Journalism Programme 2021, Reconstitution fellowship 2019 or La Caixa Excellence fellowship 2014.