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(Simultaneous translation will be provided throughout the conference.)
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Implemented by the Association of Journalists and funded by the European Union, the Media for Democracy / Democracy for Media Project will hold its third annual media conference themed “the Heavy Toll of News” in Ankara on March 26th and 27th, 2022. The event will also serve as the closing conference of the M4D Project.
Many journalists continue to be threatened and attacked, and face the constant risk of prosecution. They are forced to work overtime with low salaries under unfavorable work conditions. Many are also subjected to censorship as well as self-censorship. Journalists in pursuit of factual and real news are often accused of propagating disinformation, and the heavy toll to pay to produce real news increases each day.
The third annual media conference of the M4D Project will open the problems surrounding journalism up for discussion while also shedding light on press freedom. Representatives of national and international media organizations, journalists and academics will discuss solutions to problems troubling the profession.
On March 25th Friday, program will begin with a reception marking the end of the M4D Project, which started back in 2019. The III. Annual Media Conference will begin with the opening event on March 26th Saturday at 10 AM.
Conference will begin with the opening remarks by Chair of the Association of Journalists Nazmi Bilgi and Stefano Fantaroni, Minister Counsellor, Head of Political Section of the EU Delegation to Turkey. Following the opening remarks, video messages by European Parliament Standing Rapporteur on Turkey Nacho Sánchez Amor, Chair of the European Journalists Association Paolo Magagnotti and 6th Chair of the Association of Journalists Altan Öymen will be screened, followed by a recap on the three-years of the M4D Project, as well as the 2021 Annual Media Monitoring Report. Outputs of the “2021 Professional Satisfaction Survey”, documenting data from 317 journalists, will be shared for the first time with attendants of the conference. Journalist and writer Hıfzı Topuz will be awarded the Professional Honor Award.
Atmosphere of freedom of expression and of the press
First session of the Annual Conference titled “Atmosphere of freedom of expression and of the press” will start at 11:30 AM with the participation of esteemed Journalists Sedef Kabaş and Board Member of the Association of Journalists Nursun Erel.
Self-regulation in media and ethical principles
The afternoon sessions of the first day will begin with the topic “Self-regulation in media.” The need for self-regulation and reader representation as well as recent debates on professional ethics will be discussed by academic Dr. Hülya Eraslan, Chairperson of the International Press Institute (IPI) Turkish National Committee Kadri Gürsel, Media Ombudsman Faruk Bildirici and Journalist Ünsal Ünlü. The session will be moderated by Journalist Murat Yetkin.
Challenging times for local press
Later on, hardship faced by the local press will be discussed by academic Prof. Süleyman İrvan, former Board Member of the Press Advertisement Agency (BİK) Mustafa Arslan, Deputy Chairman of the Confederation of Journalists Feridun Fazıl Özsoy, and fellow journalists working for the local press. The session will be moderated by Journalist Zeynep Gürcanlı.
Freedom of Expression and Disinformation
The second day of the conference will be held on March 27th Sunday, and will begin at 10:30AM. The opening session will be titled “Journalism under the Pressure of War”; First Secretary National Union of Journalists of Ukraine Lina Kushch, and Journalist Tinatin Dvalishvili from Georgia will share their experiences and remarks in this session.
This will be followed by a session titled “Freedom of Expression and Disinformation” will be, like all sessions, carried out in a hybrid fashion with both physical and online participation. Founding member of the Freedom of Expression Association Prof. Dr. Yaman Akdeniz, and Vice-Chair and the Executive Board member of the Press Institute (IPI) Emre Kızılkaya will hold a discussion which will be moderated by Journalist Yıldız Yazıcıoğlu. The following session will be held physically, bringing representatives of professional organizations together, this session will be moderated by Sedat Bozkurt. Chairperson of the İzmir Association of Journalists Dilek Gappi, Chairperson of the Progressive Journalists’ Association Can Güleryüzlü, Chairperson of the Association of Parliamentary Correspondents Kemal Aktaş, and Chairperson of the Journalists’ Union of Turkey Gökhan Durmuş will be the guest speakers of this session. During the session, the new social media law brought to parliament under the guise of combatting disinformation will be discussed by the panelists, suggestions to counter this law as well as censorship practices in Turkey will also be debated.
Later on, during Sunday, journalists Mustafa Hoş and Hazal Ocak who paid the price for their profession, will be discussing impunity regarding crimes committed against journalists, and unlawful practices carried out on journalism trials, and possible solutions to counter these practices. Video message by Prof. Dr. Murat Akser will be shared druing the session. At the beginning of this session Journalist Hayri Demir will present an annual report on trials of journalists in between 2021 and 2022. This session will be moderated by fellow journalist and Secretary General of the Association of Journalists Kenan Şener.
Session for young journalists
On the second day of the conference, a special session will be held for young journalists at 2:30 PM. Members of professional organizations that offer various vocational trainings for young journalists will be presenting their work. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tezcan Durna will be giving a presentation on the work of Uğur Mumcu Investigative Journalism Foundation as well as the conversion of news production, while Dicle Kavak Ekmekçi will be presenting “GC Academy” and Orhan Şener will be presenting TGS Academy. Barış Altıntaş of MLSA- Media and Law Studies Association will be talking about their work on “Gazete MLSA” and Öznur Subaşı will give information on “Atölye BİA” and Chairperson Turgay Türker of the Economic Correspondents’ Association (EMD) will present the M4D-supported much appreciated economy reporters training program of the EMD. This session will be moderated by Journalist Özlem Akarsu Çelik.
The final session of the media conference will hand the microphone to beneficiaries of the M4D Project who will share their experiences as independent news outlets, professional organizations, and freelance journalists.
Note: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference will be carried out in a hybrid fashion. The total number of physical participants has been limited to 70 people, the opening reception has been limited to the participation of 100 people. All the necessary precautionary measures in view of the pandemic will be taken during the conference, such as social distancing, usage of masks, and hand sanitizer. All attendees will be required to wear face masks and follow social distancing rules at all times. All sessions of the conference will be livestreamed online on Zoom and on Media4 Democracy YouTube channel.