Friday, April 8, 2016
The University of Amsterdam, Free Press Unlimited and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands are organizing the conference ‘The Future of Independent Russian-language Media’ on Russian-language media and the importance of press freedom.

The conference will feature several presentations on the importance of press freedom and the challenges and opportunities for independent press in the Russian speaking regions, in particular Eastern Europe. See the full programme below. Additionally, an expert panel will discuss the topic ‘People deserve to know: challenges and opportunities for quality Russian-language journalism’. Confirmed speakers at the panel are : 

  • Alina Radu (Director of Ziarul de Gardă, Moldova)
  • Katya Gorchinskaya (CEO of Hromadske TV, Ukraine)
  • Rita Ruduša (Executive Director at the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence, Latvia)
  • Jon Kyst (Diplomat at the European External Action Service, EU)
  • Jerzy Pomianowski (Executive Director of European Endowment for Democracy)

Yes, I would like to join and register for the event. 

Introduction

Over the last few years we have read and seen a lot about the post-Soviet space. Events in the region dominated Western news headlines during the 2014 Maidan Revolution and the events in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Interest has remained high ever since, as countries in the region find themselves at the crossroads of democratic promises and autocratic legacies. Recently, the Dutch media has focused heavily on the region in the run-up to the referendum on the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine that took place on April 6th.

However, less visible to us is what the Russian-language media report and what they can report. Russian is the most geographically-widespread language of Eurasia and the largest native language in Europe, with 144 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

The lack of free and independent media in the Russian-speaking area is of great concern: Russian-speaking audiences are being deprived of media plurality, free expression and diversity of opinion. Accurate news and free access to information are not only crucial for democratic societies, but a human right. Media outlets across Eastern Europe have expressed the need for more independent news and reporting in the Russian language in order to inform their audiences.

Programme

13:45-14:15 Registration

14:15-14:30 Word of welcome by the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof. Frank van Vree (University of Amsterdam)

14:30-14:50 Presentation on the current Russian-language media landscape by dr. Sudha Rajagopalan (University of Amsterdam) 

14:50-16:15 Expert panel discussion 'People deserve to know: challenges and opportunities for quality Russian-language journalism'
Speakers: Alina Radu (Director of Ziarul de Gardă, Moldova), Katya Gorchinskaya (CEO of Hromadske TV, Ukraine), Rita Ruduša (Executive Director at the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence, Latvia), Jon Kyst (Diplomat at the European External Action Service, EU) and Jerzy Pomianowski (Executive Director of European Endowment for Democracy).

16:15-16:45 Break

16:45-17:05 Presentation on the current media situation by the Director of Free Press Unlimited, Leon Willems

17:10-17:30 Keynote speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bert Koenders

17:30-18:30 Reception