Imprisoned or fined, but not discouraged: Defending Freedom of Expression and Media in Eastern Europe

Tillsammans med Forum Syd, Fojo, Silc och Civil Rights Defenders arrangerar Östgruppen ett halvdagsseminarium om press- och yttrandefrihet i Östeuropa den 25:e januari på Medelhavsmuseet. Läs den fullständiga inbjudan nedan. Anmälan via denna länk:

876ea544-dcd9-4d40-ac40-3bc734e4cb98Imprisoned or fined, but not discouraged: Defending Freedom of Expression and Media in Eastern Europe

On the proposal of Poland and Sweden, the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative was launched in 2009. Although the advancement of freedom of expression and media freedom remains one out of several goals, little or no progress has been made in this field in the region. Repressions against journalists and media outlets continue on various levels in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Azerbaijan and Belarus are among the worst places for media freedom in the world. Journalists and civil society representatives in these countries are subjected to threats,
imprisonment and financial punishment. Nevertheless, they carry on with their work and do not give up. The media is also not free in Armenia, while Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine tend to enjoy higher scores in media freedom ratings. In some of these countries lack of transparency in media ownership remains a major challenge to freedom of expression. Why are the governments of Eastern Partnership countries either repressing freedom of expression or not protecting media freedom more actively? How does the civil society in the region view the current media freedom situation? What role can the EU and Swedish civil society play in promoting freedom of expression in Eastern Europe?

Join us for a seminar on these topics with some of the leading journalists and civil society representatives from the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood!

Organizers: Eastern Partnership and Russia Swedish Civil Society Network, Civil Rights Defenders, Forum Syd, Fojo Media Institute and Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter

8.30-9.00 Registration
9.00-9.10 Welcome and introduction to the program

9.10-10.45 Political influence, opaque ownership schemes and costly law suits: How do journalists and civil society representatives organize to defend themselves?
– Victor Gotisan, Media Researcher and National Advisor on Communications at GIZ, Moldova
– Aida Mirmaksumova, Freelance Journalist, BBC & the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Georgia & Daptar and Eto Kavkaz, Dagestan
– Boris Navasardian, President of the Yerevan Press Club and Country Facilitator for the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, Armenia
– Oksana Romaniuk Head of the Kiev-based Institute of Mass Information, Ukraine

10.45-11.00 Coffee Break

11.00-12.30 Beaten or behind bars: How do journalists and civil society representatives operate in the most repressive environments and how can they protect themselves?
– Arzu Geybullayeva, Journalist and Political Analyst, Azerbaijan
– Andrei Bastunets, Chairperson of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), Belarus
– Volodymyr Prytula, Head of the Crimean Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Ukraine

Moderator: Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Civil Rights Defenders

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