2024 International Day of Democracy Conference


 

As places are limited, please register here.

 

Strengthening democracy through media engagement


A democratic society relies on media that is both free and independent. It ensures that diverse perspectives are heard and encourages political participation among citizens.

However, in today’s world, where misinformation can easily manipulate public opinion and erode trust in democratic processes, understanding the media’s role becomes crucial. Beyond just providing information, the media shapes narratives, influences public discourse, and holds those in power accountable. The emergence of social media, algorithms, and artificial intelligence adds complexity to this dynamic, offering both opportunities and challenges. The latest annual World Press Freedom Index (Reporters Without Borders) confirms the ongoing trend of a global decline in press freedom: violence and threats against journalists are on the rise, as are actions that undermine the role of journalists or instrumentalise the media through campaigns of harassment or disinformation. Especially in the super-election year of 2024, democratic governments are more and more challenged to protect journalists, as press freedom is a crucial precondition for forming an independent opinion and informed election decision.

Building on the success of last year's International Day of Democracy Conference, the Polit-Forum Bern and the Swiss Democracy Foundation SDF are organising the second edition on 11 September 2024 with a renewed focus on strengthening democracy. The event will gather leading experts and practitioners from various countries and backgrounds to discuss the media’s role in promoting democracy and share best practices.

The discussions will revolve around four key areas:

  • Public service media: Exploring tools and successful examples of public service media to promote democracy.
  • Social media: Examining effective strategies of using social media in supporting democratisation.
  • Media literacy: Defining meaningful media literacy and exploring comprehensive approaches.
  • Voting and elections: Analysing the media’s influence on elections and voting, drawing lessons from the 2024 super-election year.

The morning session will provide an overview of these four strands, while the afternoon sessions will delve into concrete examples and discussions to gather best practices together with all participants.

 

As places are limited, please register here.

 

Programme (updated regularly)

09:00 Door opening

09:15 Opening and welcome by the Co-Hosts

  • Stefanie Bosshard, Director of the Swiss Democracy Foundation
  • Stefanie Schuepbach, Deputy Director of the Polit-Forum Bern

09:25 Launch of the new "Guidelines Democracy 2024-27" of the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs (FDFA)

Moderated dialogue:

  • Christine Löw, Deputy Head of the Peace and Human Rights division, of the FDFA

Moderated by Bruno Kaufmann, Global Democracy Correspondent at the Swiss Broadcasting Company, and Board member of the Swiss Democracy Foundation

09:55 Panel discussion: What role does the media play in democratising and promoting democracy?

Experts from different backgrounds will be discussing how and when media are a true force for democracy from the perspective of public service media, social media, media literacy, as well as elections and voting:

  • Krzysztof Izdebski, Co-Lead at the Open Spending EU Coalition, and Legal and Policy Officer at the Stefan Batory Foundation (Poland)
  • Vesna Nikodinoska, Senior Program Manager at the Macedonian Institute for Media (Macedonia)
  • Firas Shamsan, journalist and filmmaker, specialised in the field of media and development (Yemen / Switzerland)
  • TBC

11:15 Coffee Break and networking

11:45 World Café in two parts for the collection of best-practice examples of media work promoting democracy

Part I: Discussion and analysis of the four topics in practice using concrete examples

Room 1: Public Service Media

  • Krzysztof Izdebski, Co-Lead at the Open Spending EU Coalition, and Legal and Policy Officer at the Stefan Batory Foundation (Poland)
  • Nicola Frank, former HEad of Institutional and international relations at the European Broadcasting Union EBU (Belgium)

Room 2: Social Media

  • Firas Shamsan, journalist and filmmaker, specialised in the field of media and development (Yemen / Switzerland)
  • Daniel Vogler, Head of Research and Deputy Director at the fög – Research Center for the Public Sphere and Society (Switzerland)

Room 3: Media Literacy

  • Vesna Nikodinoska, Senior Program Manager at the Macedonian Institute for Media (Macedonia)
  • Markus Spillmann, operating director of the initiative "Use the News" (Switzerland)

Room 4: Voting and Elections

  • TBC

13:00 Lunch break and networking

14:30 World Café in two parts for the collection of best-practice examples of media work promoting democracy

Part II: Putting the four themes into practice with concrete examples: collecting, summarising and visualising good practice

Rooms and Experts: See aboce "Part I" at 11:45

15:45 Coffee break and networking

16:15 Interactive collection of practical advice and best practice

Moderated by Stefanie Schuepbach, Deputy Head Polit-Forum Bern

17:15 Wrap up and closing of the conference by the Co-Hosts - followed by an Apéro

PARTNER

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