Global Conference for Media Freedom
In cooperation with Estonian Institute of Human Rights

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The Third Global Conference for Media Freedom will be hosted in Tallinn from February 9 to February 10, 2022, by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Estonian Institute of Human Rights.

The conference will provide a long-sought forum for in-person meetings and discussions to strengthen joint efforts in defending media freedom and human rights worldwide. It will be an occasion to connect with journalists and media workers, civil society, academia, international organizations and governments. The hybrid-format will also allow participants to join in virtually, from all over the world.

The conference will combine traditional and innovative media freedom topics focusing on Disinformation and Freedom of Speech, Protection of Journalists and interlinkages between Media Freedom and Internet Freedom.

The freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media – as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – is crucial to enabling the exercise of all other human rights.

Speakers Speakers

Alar Karis
The President of the Republic of Estonia
ESTONIA
Dmitry Muratov
Editor in Chief of Novaja Gazeta
Eva-Maria Liimets
Foreign Minister
Estonia
Maris Lauri
Minister of Justice
Estonia
Vĕra Jourová
Vice-President for Values and Transparency
European Commission
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Mélanie Joly
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Canada
Michelle Bachelet
High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations
Bjørn Berge
Deputy Secretary General
Council of Europe
Audrey Azoulay
General Director
UNESCO
Liliane Landor
Senior Controller
BBC News International Services
Lee C. Bollinger
The President of Columbia University
Columbia University
Irene Kahn
Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
UN
Helena Kennedy QC
Executive Director
International Press Institute
Olaf Steenfadt
Director, Journalism Trust Initiative
Reporters Without Borders
Barbara Trionfi
Executive Director
International Press Institute
Neeme Raud
Journalist
ESTONIA
Uzra Zeya
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
USA
Guilherme C. Godoi
Chief of the section of Freedom of Expression
UNESCO
Rozita Lofti
Head of BBC Persian
BBC World Service
Rebecca Vincent
Director of International Campaigns
Reporters Without Borders
Hanna Liubakova
Journalist
Belarus
Nadim Houry
Executive Director
High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom
Ahmad Quraishi
Journalist
Afghanistan
Jodie Ginsberg
CEO
Internews Europe
Johanna Sumuvuori
State Secretary to Minister for Foreign Affairs
Finland
Teresa Ribeiro
Representative on Freedom of the Media
OSCE
Catherine Anite
Human Rights Lawyer and the Founding Director
High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freed
Mari-Liis Rüütsalu
CEO/Chair of the Management Board
Ekspress Grupp
Lea Kaspar
Managing Director
Global Partners Digital
Omnia Abbas Shawkat
Journalist
South Sudan
Urmas Paet
Member of the European Parliament
Estonia
Can Yeginsu
Barrister and Deputy Chair
High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom
Mary Myers
Media development consultant and independent researcher
University of East Anglia
Martin Scott
Senior Lecturer i
University of East Anglia.

ProgramProgram

Feb 8
8 February, 2022
Feb 9
9 February, 2022
Feb 10
10 February, 2022
13.00-17.00

Meeting of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom

Closed meeting. 
Special invitations.

Terrace hall/Terrassisaal.
12.00

Arrival, registration, possibility for bilateral and group meetings

12.30-14.00

A sustainable and viable future for journalism - designing effective interventions

Watch Live

This meeting of the International Media Policy and Advisory Centre (GFMD IMPACT) co-convened with UNESCO, brings together media development donors, practitioners and academics to review the latest evidence on how donor support to journalism and media can effectively respond to the evolving challenges of media sustainability and viability.

Organized by Centre for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and Global Forum for Media Development.

Open for in person participation.

Full agenda and more information

Small hall/ Väike saal.
13.00-14.30

Panel discussion "Ways forward: systemic solutions and other mobilisation"

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Estonian Ministry for Foreign Affairs are hosting a panel session on "systemic solutions and other mobilisations" to present some of the most promising initiatives on the safety of journalists and democratic safeguards for the information and communication space. The panel will bring together experts from civil society and research to promote these objectives and pave the way forward.

Organised by Reporters Without Borders and Estonian MFA.

The Cauldron hall/ Katelde saal.

Watch Live
14.00-16.00

Meeting of the International "Light-Touch" Task Force on Safety of Journalists

Achieving a safe environment for the exercise of freedom of expression requires an enhanced collective response to address impunity for crimes against those responsible for reporting the news and bringing verified information to the public. In line with this essential goal, the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity promotes cooperation among intergovernmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders to address the wide range of issues affecting the fundamental right of journalists to inform and exercise their profession in a safe and independent manner. https://en.unesco.org/un-plan-action-safety-journalists
The International 'Light Touch' Task Force on Safety of Journalists (ITF) brings together relevant representatives and senior civil servants from regional and thematic IGOs working to advance safety of journalists.

Organised by UNESCO.

Closed meeting. Special invitations.

Hall D/D-saal.
14.15-15.45

Renewing the principles for effective media support - designing effective interventions

International donors, key implementing agencies, and civil society organisations concerned with the protection of press freedom, freedom of expression, and the sustainability of independent media are calling for the adoption of principles for effective media support. This session will build on consultations that provided recommendations to the Summit for Democracy. As outlined in this draft concept note, developing these principles can guide and inform the international response to the crisis in the independent media sector.

Organized by Centre for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and Global Forum for Media Development.

Co-conveners: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (BZ), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Open for in person participation.

Full agenda and more information.

Small Hall/Väike saal.
16.00-19.00

Second Ministerial Meeting of the Media Freedom Coalition

Closed meeting. Special invitations.

Black Box Hall/ Black Box saal.
16.00-18.00

Roundtable: "Reset Required? Evaluating the first two years of the Media Freedom Coalition"

This event will present and discuss the findings of an independent academic evaluation of the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC), reviewing its progress since its inception in 2019. Today's media freedom issues will be explored through the lens of the MFC's response to them, with the aim to identify key areas for improvement or development of the MFC to strengthen its work moving forward.

The Cauldron hall/ Katelde saal.

MFC Event Outline - Reset Required (PDF)


Speakers
Can Yeginsu, Barrister and Deputy Chair
Mary Myers, Media development consultant and independent researcher
Rebecca Vincent, Director of International Campaigns
Nick Benequista, Senior director
Martin Scott, Senior Lecturer i
18.00-19.00

"Scaling up Support to Independent Media"

Organized by International Fund for Public Interest Media and Information for Democracy Forum

The Cauldron hall/ Katelde saal.
19.00-19.15

Possibility for media-stakeout, interviews following Ministers' Meeting

Atrium/Vahetänav.
19.00-21.00

Reception for all participants

Atrium/Vahetänav.
Speakers
Maris Lauri, Minister of Justice
19.30-21.30

Ministerial dinner

Hosted by Eva-Maria Liimets, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia

By Invitation Only.

Patron of the Conference is ALAR KARIS, the President of Estonia.
Conference music design: Kristjan Järvi

The organiser reserves the right to make changes in the program and the presenters.

By invitation only.
08.30

Arrival, registration, possibility for bilateral and group meetings

09.00-10.15

Showcasing Media Defence Fund

All around the globe, the ability of journalists to report the news and bring verified information to the public is being hampered by a wide range of attacks and violations, including threats, harassment, economic pressures, abusive judicial prosecutions (e.g. SLAPPs), arbitrary detentions, and a lack of access to specialized and gender-sensitive legal assistance. Administered by UNESCO, the Global Media Defence Fund is addressing these issues by supporting not-for-profit organizations in the implementation or upscaling of projects designed to bolster journalists' legal protection and enhance media freedom through investigative journalism or strategic litigation. This hybrid event shall showcase the results and impact of the GMDF around the globe, as well as exchange over the persisting needs identified on the ground vis-à-vis the defense of media freedom and the legal protection of journalists and media.

Organized by UNESCO.

Small hall/Väike saal.

09.00-10.00

Closed roundtable on Journalism and Democracy in a rapidly closing civic space, organised by Internews

Organized by Internews.

By Invitation Only. Special invitations.

D hall/D-saal.
10.30-11.45

Pledging event on taking commitments to defend media freedom

Pledge Session (PDF)
Guide to Pre-Recordings (PDF)

Organised by Estonian MFA

The Cauldron hall/ Katelde saal.

10.30-11.45

“Gendered disinformation, tech and democracy: How rethinking digital infrastructure can advance media freedom and build a more gender just world”

When a woman journalist is targeted in the digital space, the whole sector is at risk. What is tech's role in gendered disinformation? How is the media and media freedom community an imminent target as well as an integral part of the long-term solutions?
Gendered and sexualised disinformation is a subset of online harassment and it is pushing particularly women journalists and other women social leaders out of the public debate at alarming rates. This form of harassment combines three defining characteristics of online disinformation: falsity, malign intent, and coordination.[1] For example, journalist and Nobel peace prize laureate Maria Ressa continues to be trolled en masse as a "presstitute" and hundreds of other women journalists have been threatened with the spread of super-imposed pornographic photos or other sordid images for speaking back to power.
As women's equal right to freedom of expression is indispensable for media freedom and the achievement of peace, democracy and sustainable development, this session explores how gendered disinformation is a defining challenge and part of a systemic problem with our current digital infrastructures-social media platforms, search engines, internet cables, app stores, and amongst other components.
This session asks what local and global coalitions are needed to ensure our digital infrastructures serve the public interest, media freedom, democracy and gender equality in the human rights framework?

Organized by International Media Support and Tech for Democracy.

D-Hall/D-saal
11.30-12.00

Conference registration

12.00-12.45

High-Level Opening of the Conference: Keynote speeches

Black Box hall/Black Box saal.
Moderator
Neeme Raud, Journalist
Speakers
Alar Karis, The President of the Republic of Estonia
Dmitry Muratov, Editor in Chief of Novaja Gazeta
Vĕra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency
Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights
Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General
Audrey Azoulay, General Director
Liliane Landor, Senior Controller
Lee C. Bollinger, The President of Columbia University
12.45-14.15

Panel 1: Disinformation and the Freedom of Speech

Disinformation is clearly not a new phenomenon. Since ancient times, information has been manipulated to win wars and to advance political ambitions. Never before, however, have there been so many opportunities to create and spread disinformation on such scale and speed as today.
Addressing and countering disinformation, is however not an easy task. It is not always easy to differentiate between disinformation that is spread with the intent to cause harm and misinformation that innocent third parties share. How to ensure that any measures taken to address disinformation are in accordance with international law, including international human rights law? What is the role of media in combating disinformation? What are the possibilities and limits of media in tackling disinformation? What are the best ways to improve societal resilience to disinformation?

Black Box hall/Black Box saal.

Moderator
Neeme Raud, Journalist
Speakers
Eva-Maria Liimets, Foreign Minister
Kanbar Hossein-Bor, Media Freedom Co-ordinator
Irene Kahn, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
Helena Kennedy QC, Executive Director
Olaf Steenfadt, Director, Journalism Trust Initiative
Barbara Trionfi, Executive Director
Brice Ndangoui, Editor in Chief
Mouhamadou Touré, Editor in Chief
14.15-15.15

Lunch

Atrium/Vahetänav.

Documentary "Women on the Frontline"

At 5 PM, the Red Cross and OSCE observers leave the frontline and leave the fighters behind. Hypocrisy takes over and this is where the story of our women, which kicked off on the Maidan Square in Kyiv seven years ago, begins. Heartache and hatred, breakdown of love, wrong decisions, and yet a hope for a new life in the face of death.
This is a documentary film about the war that broke out in Eastern Ukraine in spring 2014 through the eyes of women.
Speakers
Ivar Heinmaa, War correspondent and cameraman
Neeme Raud, Journalist
15.15-16.45

Panel 2: Protection of Journalists

Media is often described as the fourth pillar of democracy or as a watchdog to protect public interests. Being a journalist is a dream job for many young people. However, even in democratic states, the profession of journalist can sometimes be dangerous. Journalists are under attack from an array of assailants, ranging from governments looking to suppress their investigations to private citizens seeking to quiet voices projecting news and opinions that they do not agree with. The COVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer to this, with governments being increasingly aggressive and less transparent to journalists looking for hard data on their responses.
The digital age has increased the opportunities for the dissemination of information and ideas. However, the digital means have also enabled new forms of harassment and discrimination to emerge. How can the media space be changed to ensure that journalists feel safe and empowered to do their invaluable work? How to address the emerging threats related to online spaces? How to ensure accountability?

Black Box hall/Black Box Saal.
Moderator
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO
Speakers
Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
Guilherme C. Godoi, Chief of the section of Freedom of Expression
Rozita Lofti, Head of BBC Persian
Rebecca Vincent, Director of International Campaigns
Hanna Liubakova, Journalist
Nadim Houry, Executive Director
Ahmad Quraishi, Journalist
16.45-17.00

Leg stretching pause/coffee break

Atrium/Vahetänav.

INTRODUCTION: Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University

LIVE online
Moderator
Neeme Raud, Journalist
Speakers
Lee C. Bollinger, The President of Columbia University
17.00-18.30

Panel 3: Interlinkages between Media Freedom And Internet Freedom

With the innovations such as social media, cloud computing, big data, and smartphones, some aspects of the media industry are unrecognizable compared to media at the turn of the millennium. Non-discriminatory access to and accessibility of the Internet have fundamental importance for exercising the freedom to seek, receive and impart information. Furthermore, oftentimes, internet freedom is a prerequisite for media freedom as internet shutdowns are preventing dissemination of information.
What can different stakeholders - governments, private sector and civil society - do, to promote and protect the free flow of information online? How can we improve the coordination and cooperation between different stakeholders? What are the rights and responsibilities of internet platforms?

Black Box hall/Black Box saal.

Moderator
Urmas Paet, Member of the European Parliament
Speakers
Johanna Sumuvuori, State Secretary to Minister for Foreign Affairs
Teresa Ribeiro, Representative on Freedom of the Media
Catherine Anite, Human Rights Lawyer and the Founding Director
Mari-Liis Rüütsalu, CEO/Chair of the Management Board
Lea Kaspar, Managing Director
18.30-19.30

Closing Reception

Atrium/Vahetänav.

Patron of the Conference is ALAR KARIS, the President of Estonia.
Conference music design: Kristjan Järvi

The organiser reserves the right to make changes in the program and the presenters.

By invitation only.

Photos: Kaupo Kikkas & Kaupo Kalda

Conference music design: Kristjan Järvi