Building on a positive experience at the Global Media Forum in 2016, the European Endowment for Democracy is yet again travelling to Bonn to contribute to this year's edition of this unique conference by Deutsche Welle. The GMF is dedicated to looking at various topics in the field of foreign policy, future of the media and freedom of expression under an overarching focus theme for 2017 of "Identity and Diversity".
The GMF is the "Place Made for Minds, where decision makers and influencers from all over the world come together. It’s the global platform put on by Deutsche Welle and its partners and the place where you can connect and strengthen relations with over 2,000 inspiring representatives from the fields of journalism, digital media, politics, culture, business, development, academia and civil society. The conference provides a unique opportunity to network, get inspired and collaborate using a wide variety of state-of-the-art formats. The main goal of the conference is to create relations money can't buy. It aims at developing solutions and creating ideas on media trends, foreign policy and their impact on helping overcome the challenges of global development."
Within the framework of the conference, EED will host its own innovative session showcasing the innovative work of our partners - "Unconventional Tools for Democracy Support: The Edge of Online Creativity".
Alternative media, art, culture and innovative technologies and new forms of activism can be powerful tools and channels to challenge the status quo and push for social and democratic change. With a plethora of traditional outlets offering similar information, it is important to tap into these fresh ideas and innovative tools to raise greater awareness of, and support for, the observance of human rights, fundamental freedoms, democratisation and transformation processes in the European Neighbourhood and beyond.
In the current climate where democratic values are increasingly questioned, and space for civil society and free media ever restricted, EED proposes a creative session to showcase some of the inspiring and diverse work of grassroots activists, who employ innovative and unconventional online media tools to counter anti-democratic practices. Despite all the challenges these activists face in their daily lives, their aspirations to foster democratic transition in their native countries survive.
Three activists from three countries will share their experiences of how they use the limited space that exists creatively for promoting democracy (e.g. political art and satire; art and culture: promotion of democratic values though innovative media outlets) While the context and realities may differ, the common values and conviction shared by all of our speakers is that strong democracies are the best way of safeguarding human rights, freedom of speech, tolerance and prosperity – and that innovation and creativity is the best tool to sustain these values in the current political contexts.