Symposium 2022 Program

Tuesday, 13th September 2022

9 am Registration

9.30 am When the Past Drives the News – Keynote by Prof. Barbie Zelizer, Director, Center for Media at Risk, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania

This presentation addresses how the past infiltrates the news and impacts how media practitioners cover its issues and events. Using the Cold War and its global permutations over time as an example, it argues that the past is so deeply embedded in media practitioners’ beliefs and practices that it drives what they consider to be news and in which ways they are expected to cover it. The presentation calls upon media practitioners to take the past more seriously and understand more fully its effect on reporting the present. 

10 am The last war in Europe: Bosnia Lessons Learned 

Panel hosted by Konrad Adenauer Foundation and IDEM

The last war in Europe, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina that came about as a result of the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, lasted from 1992 until 1995. Estimates suggest around 100,000 people were killed during the war. Over 2.2 million people were displaced, making it, up until that time, the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II. Events such as the Siege of Sarajevo lasting for 1.425 days and the Srebrenica massacre later became iconic of the conflict.

Balanced and objective reporting – on war crimes and other transitional justice issues – can significantly contribute to security in a post-conflict country. In this panel, Journalists from Bosnia will investigate the role of media in the reconciliation process. How did media contribute to reconcile former enemies? How did media support all three ethnic groups facing their recent past? How did media promote the reconciliation process in the Balkans through its reporting on war crimes trials at the Hague tribunal and local courts in the region? Could media play a crucial role in helping people come to terms with their past and moving forward or did they fuel ethnic tension and increased insecurity in an already fragile state? And lastly: What lessons can we draw for the ongoing war in Ukraine?

Sigrun Rottman, University of Dortmund

Aida Cerkez, journalist (AP), Bosnia
Leila Bicakcic, Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN), Bosnia

11 am Coffee Break (60 min)

12 am  How to Communicate the Past: Practitioner Dialogue on Communication Strategies of Truth Commissions

Panel hosted by Catholic Media Council (CAMECO)

The more than fifty truth commissions since the 1990’s make these official, nonjudicial bodies one of the most deployed tools at institutional level in dealing with the past. In a very limited time and often with little resources, it is their task to determine through statement-taking, investigations, research and public hearings what has happened (facts), why it has happened (causes) and with what impact on life in society (consequences). At the core of this work is the goal to strengthen the representation of victims and making their voices heard to provide more social recognition.

Against this background and as part of a whole-of-society project, the work of truth commissions has to be continuously communicated to communities, the general public and political decision-makers. Forms of communication that are not accidental or arbitrary, but highly strategic, also to collaborate with media and journalists.

To discuss experiences with truth commissions and their communication strategies experts from Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe are invited to a practitioners’ dialogue.

Taking inspiration from these different insights participants will have the opportunity to identify together with the experts lessons learnt and challenges encountered in communicating the past.

Rousbeh Legatis, Peace and Conflict Researcher, International Consultant

Ricardo Corredor, communication coordinator/Truth Commission, Colombia
Refik Hodzic is a strategic communications specialist from Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Baba Jallow, was Executive Secretary of The Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC)

1 pm Lunch (90 min)

2.30 pm Impact Measurement in Media Projects in Fragile Contexts 

Panel hosted by Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), with input from the Fondation Hirondelle

The session will focus on options to conceptualize and experiences with measuring the effects (outcomes or impacts) of radio projects in post-conflict and fragile contexts. It will illustrate what realistically can be expected in terms of impact and will share methodological insights and key findings from three different approaches (process tracing, qualitative, quantitative) implemented recently by researchers and Fondation Hirondelle.

  • Challenges in conceptualizing impact of media – Inspirations from theory, and experiences with process tracing in a radio project in Niger – by Guido Keel, ZHAW, evaluator, researcher, and lecturer in journalism.
  • Effects of addressing information needs and giving voice to marginalized persons in fragile contexts – Insights about realistic effects of radio projects especially with women, youth and IDPs in West Africa, combining qualitative and quantitative methods (focus groups discussion and content analyses) – by Emma Heywood, University of Sheffield, researcher and lecturer in Journalism, Radio and Communication.
  • Effects of radio journalism in fragile contexts – Insights from quantitative large scale randomized control trials on impacts of radio journalism in Madagascarby Jeff Conroy-Krutz, Michigan State University, Department of Political Science, African Studies Center.

Guido Keel, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), evaluator, researcher, and lecturer in journalism
Emma Heywood, University of Sheffield, researcher and lecturer in Journalism, Radio and Communication
Jeff Conroy-Krutz, Michigan State University, Department of Political Science, African Studies Center

3.30 pm Coffee Break (30 min)

4 pm Moving Justice Forward: Ending Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 

Panel hosted by Reporters without Borders 


5 pm End of sessions 

6 pm Visiting editorial department of Der Spiegel and others 

7 pm Get together with drinks & snacks 


Wednesday, 14th September 2022

9.30 am The Role of Media and their Development Cooperation for Fostering Social Cohesion – Input by Dr. Carsten Brosda, Senator and Head of the Hamburg Authority for Culture and Media

10 am Dealing with the Past and Preparing for the Future – How Can We Do That? A field report from Matabeleland/Zimbabwe 

Panel hosted by Interlink Academy for International Dialog and Journalism 

The independent media organiZation CITE from Bulawayo works towards both directions: In its Gukurahundi project, CITE makes the murders of the Mugabe regime in Matabeleland public. It is estimated that at least 20,000 people were murdered in the 1980s and many more were taken to reeducation camps and tortured. To this day it is dangerous to report on it and to give the victims a voice with documentation and eyewitness interviews. In its Media and Information Literacy project, CITE trains multipliers from all over Matabeleland to lay the basis for competent use of social media in their communities and to train people in dealing with hate speech, fake news and security. A CITE team will present both projects in Hamburg in a video and lecture and show what Dealing with the Past has in common with Preparing for the Future.

Zenzele Ndebele, Center for Innovation & Technology (CITE), Zimbabwe
Bhekizulu Tshuma, Center for Innovation & Technology (CITE), Zimbabwe
Lungile S. Ngwenya, Center for Innovation & Technology (CITE), Zimbabwe
Loctricia  Nleya, Center for Innovation & Technology (CITE), Zimbabwe

11 am Coffee break (60 min)

12 am Resilience, Viability, Continuity. How today’s media can prepare for the crisis of tomorrow

Panel hosted by Deutsche Welle Academy

Most media do not prepare for crisis, even if one is already knocking at their door. But the recent past has shown how exposed they are to sudden shocks and disruptions. Many have struggled in the last years: the COVID-19 pandemic, violent conflicts, natural disasters. Yet, some media outlets could adapt quickly and continue to provide news and important information.

To find out why some media are more resilient than others, DW Akademie has conducted interviews with media managers and experts from 15 countries. They had successfully steered their organization through crisis and all had one thing in common: they anticipated risks and had made a crisis plan.

In this session, five managers and experts will share their best practices and shed some light on how to best encourage media to prepare for crisis.

DW Akademie will also present it’s Media Resilience Scanner, an online tool for media managers to develop tailor made crisis plans.

Chay Hofileña, Head of Rappler’s Investigative Desk, Philippines
Ann Hollifield, Media Resilience Expert, USA
Salam Omer, Editor-in-chief, KirkukNow, Iraq
U Soe Myint, CEO and Co-founder of Mizzima (Independent multimedia news organization in Myanmar)
Luz Mely Ryes, Director and Co-Founder of Efecto Cocuyo (Independent news website in Venezuela)

1pm Lunch (90 min)

2.30 pm Fome Reflects: Ownership in Media Development Cooperation 

Panel hosted by Thomson Foundation and WELTFILME

The term ‘ownership’ is used in development policy discussions to describe people’s identification with a project that affects them. Ownership comprises the personal responsibility that target groups and partner organisations assume in development cooperation. It is considered an important precondition for the efficiency, sustainability, and the success of implemented measures.

But what does ownership mean in hands-on pragmatic project implementation?Can it bridge the power gap between donors and local partner organisations?How can ownership be enacted throughout the project cycle when short deadlines and rigid reporting templates reinforce a client-contractor relationship and hence dependent structures between the partners? Should the current crises be used to initiate a discussion on new types of ownership?

Christine Liehr, Thomson Media

Kwabena Nketia Addae, Executive Director, Ghana YMCA
Ahamed Rislan, Head of Development Services at Chrysalis, Sri Lanka

3.30 pm Coffee Break (30 min)

4 pm War in Ukraine: specific topic and format TBA

Panel hosted by n-ost, Friedrich Naumann Foundation & others


5 pm End of sessions