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Global Media Forum 2020: a year of digital sessions

As the DW Global Media Forum goes digital, we are offering various digital sessions on the topic of "Pluralism. Populism. Journalism." Here is a comprehensive list of the sessions.

Global Media Forum 2020 and the digital revolution

The DW Global Media Forum 2020 turned to digital networking opportunities to discuss this year's topic Pluralism, Populism and Journalism.

The use of digital formats helped us to create opportunities for interaction and exchange within our global conference community during this difficult year. Our fascinating speakers gave us an opportunity to remain close while staying socially distant.

Here's an overview of all the stimulating topics highlighted in 2020.

Internet censorship

Can media organizations promote pluralism or do populists have full control over what information people receive?


June 24: What is the media's responsibility in the corona crisis?
The DW Global Media Forum kicked off with a discussion on the media's role in the current public health crisis. The trustworthiness of digital news sources was at the heart of the discussion, which hosted experts from three continents.

Our panlists included John-Allan Namu, CEO of the investigative Kenyan news platform, Africa Uncensored; Maria Esperanza Casullo, political scientist and Associate Professor at the National University in Rio Negro, Argentina; and Guido Bülow, Head of News Partnerships Central Europe at Facebook.


July 08: The internet — danger or boon for autocrats?
The internet offers infinite opportunities but can be also be used as a tool of oppression. In a bid to influence public opinion or to intimidate opponents and critics, autocratic states turn to the internet to utilize it for nefarious purposes such as censorship, surveillance, and hate campaigns. What can journalists do to fight against these forms of oppression?

Our panelists were Maria Ressa, co-founder of the news website Rappler in the Philippines; Lina Attalah, founder and chief editor of the online newspaper Mada Masr, which is among the last remaining independent media outlets in Egypt; and Amnesty International's Markus N. Beeko, whose roles include managing the organization's Human Rights in the Digital Age campaign.


August 11: Turbo-digitalization in local journalism
COVID-19 has forced the local journalism industry to face down existential questions about its relevance and financial survival in an increasingly digital media environment. What will it take for local media to pull through in the long term? How will the local journalism industry survive, while staying relevant and financially viable?

Our panelists included Brang Mai, CEO, co-founder and executive editor of the Myitkyina News Journal in Myanmar; Nasir Salisu Zango, journalist and editor at Freedom Radio in Kano, Nigeria; and David Schraven, founder and publisher of Correctiv, the first nonprofit investigative newsroom in the German-speaking world. 


August 24: Diversity in the media landscape: How news organizations can promote inclusion?
The drive to embrace diversity and become more inclusive is increasingly ubiquitous — from company boards to political parties to cultural and social institutions. But news organizations around the world are struggling to reflect the reality of an increasingly diverse society. Why is this reflection of pluralism so important, and how can diversity improve the quality of content and programming?

Our panelists were Jamie Angus, the director of BBC World Service Group, which provides news in English and 42 other languages; Indian political and social activist and co-founder of the Workers' and Peasants' Strength Union Aruna Roy; and Peter Limbourg, DW's director general.


September 07: The media’s role in a European public sphere
Societies around the globe are increasingly being infiltrated with lies and false information, as the coronavirus pandemic has given rise to an "infodemic." How can the media and the public avoid drowning in a flood of disinformation? How can carefully researched journalism get the upper hand against targeted disinformation campaigns in the digital sphere?  And what does this mean for the European Union? 

Our panelists included Věra Jourová, the European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency; Tobias Schmid, director of the Media Authority in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and chair of the European Regulators Group for Audio-visual Media Services; and Herman Wasserman, Professor of Media Studies at South Africa’s University of Cape Town.


September 21: The power of influencers - and what they mean for democracy
Many so-called influencers are footballers and fashionistas. But around the world, some are also now beginning to use their huge reach on social media to post and tweet about democracy and pluralism, acting as a force for social change. But are they properly equipped to participate in the public debate, and what can journalists learn from their tactics?

Our panelists were Masih Alinejad, a journalist-turned-influencer from Iran, who was forced to flee her country because her critical reporting; Egyptian human rights activist Hussein Baoumi, who works for Amnesty International; and Nigerian influencer JJ Omojuwa, whose platform has become as influential as many traditional news sources.


October 5: Media and Information Literacy (MIL)
(in cooperation with DW Akademie)
Viral misinformation, data scandals and censorship: social networks are at the center of many of our current media ecosystem challenges. There is a lot of pressure to solve these problems. Media and Information Literacy (MIL) is a crucial skill set for people to critically analyze news, reflect on their media habits and to assert their rights as informed citizens. But is MIL just a quick fix to address all these issues? Or is it even enough?

Our panelists included Koliwe Majama, a media, and information consultant from Zimbabwe; Osama Manzar, co-founder of the Digital Empowerment Foundation in India; and Michael Tecklenburg, representative of the Division for Media, Culture, Creative Industries and Sport in Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

October 26: Elections and the media

Free elections are considered to be the cornerstones of democracy, with the media often described as the fourth estate. But what role does the media play in elections? How independently do media organizations get to interact with politics - and with politicians? What do journalists contribute to support democracy and encourage free elections? Why do more and more people believe the media have their own agenda?

Our panelists were Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, journalist and commentator on geo-politics Anne Applebaum and editor-in-chief of WDR Television Ellen Ehni.


November 23: Revenue models for media organizations in a world of digital competition
Digitalization processes offer media companies seemingly endless opportunities to distribute their content across a variety of platforms. Intermediaries such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and others are playing an increasingly important role in addition to their own websites. From community building and to pay walls, there are new opportunities opening up in a bid to increase reach and market share.

This multitude of possibilities in the digital realm is also forcing media companies to stay highly flexible and constantly adapt to new trends at the same time. What opportunities and challenges will media organizations face when it comes to revenue models in the digital age? What are some examples of best practices? And what other developments in this area should journalists and newsmakers prepare for?

Our panelists were Nicholas Johnston, the editor-in-chief of Axios in Washington DC, Samir Patil, CEO of "Scroll," India, and Imme Baumüller, Director Data Technolgoy & Business Intelligence at Handelsblatt Media Group, Germany.


December 14: The power of constructive journalism
Today, almost a third of the adults on this planet say that they "often or sometimes avoid news." At the same time, societies around the world are facing increasingly complex problems, intolerance and populism are on the rise. False information is repeatedly presented as opinion, and disseminated as such by the media. But do the media really take responsibility for the way that debates are conducted in our societies? 

Our panelists included Gerd Maria May, founder of Room of Solution and journalist at the Fynen Newspaper, Denmark, Rishad Patel, co-founder of Splice Media, Singapore, and Nina Fasciaux, journalist and manager in Europe for the Solutions Journalism Network, France. 

Internet censorship in China

Do people with limited access to information and news necessarily make uninformed decisions?

As has been the case in previous years with the physical Global Media Forum held annually at the World Conference Center Bonn, the digital edition of the Global Media Forum 2020 also receives support from the Federal Foreign Office, the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Stiftung Internationale Begegnung der Sparkasse in Bonn.

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