Potsdam, 19 September 2018: The German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel receives this year’s M100 Media Award with standing ovations, FDP Federal Chairman, Christian Lindner, gives the main political speech, Ines Pohl, Editor-in-Chief of Deutsche Welle, the laudation.
The M100 Media Award ceremony for the German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel marked the successful conclusion of the international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium at the Potsdam Museum yesterday evening. Potsdam’s Lord Mayor, Jann Jakobs, welcomed the 200 guests and emphasized that the M100 Media Award is especially intended as a reminder of all those who sit in prisons or have been expelled from their homeland for their call to the truth.
FDP Federal Chairman Christian Lindner, who gave the main political speech of the evening, underlined his clear commitment to freedom of the press: “The liberality of a society is measured by the freedom of its journalists. If journalists are restricted in their work, then all members of society are restricted in their rights and freedom”. At the same time Lindner called for more courage to disagree. There should be more controversy and diversity to live press freedom.
The laudatory speech on Deniz Yücel, who as the Turkey correspondent of the WELTN24 group attracted the displeasure of the Erdogan regime with his uncomfortable reporting, was arrested as a result and spent a year in custody in Turkey, was held by the editor-in- chief of Deutsche Welle, Ines Pohl, who emphasized: “Journalism has never been a particularly distinguished profession. But now it is becoming a dangerous profession – also in the heart of Europe. Deniz Yücel also stands for that. She continued: “Democracies need a free, independent press that keeps its eyes on the powerful. If we look around, we see that this cornerstone of free societies is also threatened in countries where we never thought it was possible. That is why all democratic forces must come together. “
Deniz Yücel himself expressed his gratitude for the prize and stressed the importance of freedom of the press and journalism: “I am convinced that journalism – I am not saying ‘critical journalism’ because an uncritical journalism is not one – is needed everywhere where power is exercised, in greater and smaller scale, but most of all where it is in danger and with it the freedom of all”. And he continues: “The Erdogans, Orbans and Trumps, the Putins, Salvinis, Maduros and what they are all called have in common that they did not come to power through violence, but through more or less free and fair elections. For their legitimacy, they need confirmation from the electorate and yet they despise everything that goes beyond the mere acclamation of the existing rule of democracy: the pluralistic society, the diversity of lifestyles, the material foundations of freedom, the participation of the opposition and, of course, the existence of a free and critical press. But because they so desperately need the appearance of democracy, they are best fought with its means – not least with the journalism they hate so much.” Deniz Yücel received the M100 Media Award with standing ovations from international guests.
“Home Alone? – Europe and the Post-American Age” was the headline under which some 60 editors-in-chief, historians and politicians from Europe and the USA discussed the state of transatlantic relations, the European agenda in the Post-American era and the role of the media at the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium in the Barberini Museum during the day. Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dr. Dietmar Woidke welcomed and noted that the global challenges facing the world could not be solved with actionism, but had to be addressed collectively for a better world. “We need dialogue and a living democracy”. The opening speech was delivered by policy advisor and former US ambassador John Kornblum. He said: “There is no post-American age. But there is a new age that has left the post-war era behind. America and Europe remain closely connected and important to each other, but our goals and methods must change. What we need is a new narrative structure”.
The conference was divided into three sessions, each of which highlighted different aspects of the main theme. Session 1, entitled “The Remains of The West – The New Relationship”, discussed to what extent the Donald Trump presidency could be seen as a turning point and an end to the “Pax Americana” and debated the growing pressure on the EU to resolve its internal contradictions and become active in foreign policy. Session 2, entitled “A European Agenda for the Post-American Age”, asked whether the global political upheavals are awakening Europe. The states agree that the EU must be reformed, but the views on further development differ enormously. “European Media Challenge: How to cope with Politics, Technology and the Fight for Trust” was the theme of Session 3, which dealt with the fact that on the one hand there is more transparency than ever before. On the other hand, an excess of information leads to a “system error” in public communication in which facts and opinions can no longer be distinguished.
Among the participants are Agron Bajrami (Editor-in-Chief, Koha Ditore), Ruth Ben-Ghiat (Historian, New York University), Tamas Bodoky (Editor-in-Chief, Atlatszo.hu), Dr. Alexandra Borchardt (Director Strategic Development, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford), Stephan-Andreas Casdorff (Editor, Der Tagesspiegel), Liz Corbin (Head of News, BBC World News), Dr. Ondrej Ditrych (Director, Institute of International Relations, Prague), Dr. Tobias Endler (Americanist, University of Heidelberg), Astrid Frohloff (TV presenter and journalist, ARD/RBB), Berthold Kohler (Publisher, FAZ), Tina Kulow (Director Corporate Communications, Facebook Germany), Rick Noack (Foreign Affairs Reporter, The Washington Post), Natalie Nougayrède (member of the editorial board and columnist, The Guardian), Marcin Piasecki (editor and head business editor, Rzeczpospolita), Wojciech Prybylski (Editor-in-Chief Visegrad Insight), Jan Techau (Senior Fellow and Director of the Europe Programme, German Marshall Fund of the United States), Dr. Christoph von Marschall (Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, Der Tagesspiegel).
In the run-up to the colloquium, 25 selected young journalists from Europe, the Eastern Partnership countries and Russia met at the M100 Young European Journalists Workshop (M100YEJ) on “Journalism and Political Education in the Social Web“. The aim of the workshop was to strengthen freedom of the press in the home countries of the young journalists: Workshops on mobile reporting or the verification of social media content were to facilitate journalism and reporting using simple and cost-effective means. At the end of the 6-day training, the participants’ own projects on the topics of environment, migration, fake news, identity and EU elections were presented at a pitch at the cross-media community channel Alex Berlin. The best webvideos will soon be published online on Alex Berlin.
About M100 Sanssouci Colloquium
M100 was initiated in 2005 by Jann Jakobs, Lord Weidenfeld and Moritz van Dülmen as part of Potsdam’s application for the 2010 Capital of Culture and took place for the 14th time in 2018.
M100 is an initiative of the City of Potsdam and the Potsdam Media International e.V. This year’s event is sponsored by the City of Potsdam, the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the State of Brandenburg and the Federal Foreign Office. We thank the sponsors medienlabor and L’Eau Sanssouci.
The M100 Young European Journalists Workshop was sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office and the National Endowment for Democracy. Cooperation partners are Alex Berlin, Association of Young Journalists, European Youth Press, Medieninnovationszentrum Babelsberg, Pressclub Belarus, Orange Magazine and Telefonica.