Media Dialogue 2021


„Media Dialogue 2021" - Successful conclusion of the international project with countries of the Eastern Partnership - Solidarity with Belarusian journalists in exile - Ukrainian Journalists' Association pays tribute to BVBM Chairman and project leader Dr Wolfgang Ressmann's commitment to freedom of the press and freedom of opinion - Federal Foreign Office has been funding the project since 2015

Ludwigshafen / Kyiv / Berlin 3.12.2021

This year's "Media Dialogue" with representatives from Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia ended with a final conference at the "Institute of Journalism" of Taras Shevchenko University in Kiev (Ukraine). Journalists from the Belarusian independent journalists' association BAJ, which was forced into illegality by the Lugashenko regime, and who are currently working in exile in Ukraine, also participated in the project.

The chairman of the National Union of Ukrainian Journalists (NUJU, Kiev), Sergiv Tomilenko, emphasised the special importance of the media project, which has been funded by the Federal Foreign Office since 2015. The "Media Dialogue" not only offers the participating students from the universities of Lutsk, Lviv, Odessa, Kiev (Ukraine), Caucasus University (Georgia), the "State Național University of Moldova" and the "Free Internațional University Of Moldova", both Chişinău (Moldova), the opportunity for international media teamwork, but also promote the exchange of opinions and facts between the participating professional print and TV journalists from Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.

This is particularly important against the background of the current war and conflict situations in the Donbass / Crimea (Ukraine), Transnistria (Moldova), Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Georgia), as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (Armenia).

The central role of civil society for democratic development in Western and Eastern Europe was highlighted by Roger Casale, Chairman of New Europeans and former member of the British House of Commons, in his speech broadcast online. The civil societies of the European countries can make an essential contribution to fighting state terrorism such as in Belarus and the threat to freedom of opinion and freedom of the press with democratic means. This requires cross-border solidarity.  "Media Dialogue" and the "New Europeans" are working closely together to achieve these goals.

At a previous event, Tomilenko had presented the chairman of the German Association of Citizen Media and project leader Dr. Wolfgang Ressmann with a certificate of thanks from the NUJU for his commitment to the Media Dialogue. It says: "The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine appreciates your contribution in the context of your various public and professional activities at the level of the Federal Republic of Germany to the promotion of journalism and freedom of expression. We wish you success in your endeavours and sincerely congratulate you on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence!"

During the 2nd part of the project, the participants of the "Media Dialogue 2021" held numerous talks with representatives of the Ukrainian Zvil Society, visited public and private TV stations in Kyiv and in Lviv in western Ukraine, including the headquarters of the new public broadcaster in the Ukrainian capital. The focus was on issues such as safeguarding freedom of expression and freedom of the press, the fight against fake news, propaganda and hate speech, as well as reporting on threats to democratic development and the respective military conflicts against the backdrop of significant Russian propaganda activities.

At a working meeting, the President of Taras Shevchenko University, Prof. Volodymyr Bugrov, was impressed by the project's development since 2015 and assured the "Media Dialogue" of his university's extensive support.

The first part of the project took place in Georgia and Armenia in September 2021. Contacts were established with the Georgian Journalists' Association in Tbilisi, which is also under considerable political pressure. In Armenia, the "Media Dialogue" was on the agenda, highlighting the importance of art and culture for conflict resolution. At the "Academy of fine Arts" in Gyumri, the Armenian partner organisation "Acoss" (Yerevan) had organised a comprehensive programme between culture and journalism, as well as the role of art in socially dealing with the war and conflict situations in the former Soviet republics.

During the project phases, numerous TV programmes, blogs, podcasts and videos were produced. The website at http://mediadialogue.eu gives a comprehensive overview of the project results achieved so far.

For the first time, the participants produced "Media Dialogue TV". Recorded on site and edited via data transfer at OK-TV Ludwigshafen, the TV magazine provides exciting insights into the course of the project. The magazine can be viewed on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYloBYSHvTw&list=PLRWf_VkyqaD-MU5twFHGgS1C4EaEb6I57) and is included in the programme of German citizen media.

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