From May 14 through May 19, 7 representatives and officers of the HaTnuaParty, the Foundation’s counterpart, visited Berlin.
The visit was conducted under the theme “50-Year Diplomatic Relationship between Germany and Israel” and concluded with the solemn inauguration of the photo show “Religion*Freedom*City”. Pictures were chosen from a photo contest held by the FNF in Jerusalem.
An intense program was conducted in Berlin covering political informational conversations and a deep examination of the Jewish history and life in Berlin.
During two days of the program the participants visited the FDP federal convention in Berlin. Once there, they had the opportunity to become thoroughly familiar with the work of the Liberal Youth and the FDP municipal politicians, as well as to analyze the relevance of these political organizations and the own party structure.
FNF fellow workers explained to the visitor group the positioning of the FDP within the political party spectrum, both in Germany and in Europe, as well as the work performed by the FNF both in Germany and abroad.
Visitors were particularly interested in getting acquainted with Jewish life in Berlin. Talks held with a board representative of the synagogue located at Oranienburgerstraße and a representative of the Central Jew Council, as well as a visit to the synagogue offices, were highly enlightening. A city round trip was especially dedicated to Jewish life in Berlin before and during the Nazi regime. Meetings with German-Jewish society representatives and the European-Jewish ELNET network focused on the enhancement of relationships.
The IAF International Seminar on Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Information 2015 took place from April 19th to May 1 in Gummersbach, Bonn, Cologne and Hamburg. Twenty-six participants from twenty-five countries world-wide explored the current state of media freedom in their respective countries and identified core threats like political oppression, religious fundamentalism, self-censorship and digital surveillance.
Media, unfortunately on the decline in recent years in a number of countries, was identified as an indispensable part of liberal democracy driving political liberties and fundamental rights. The optimism still linked to social media and the versatility of new mobile digital devices has been seriously cautioned by new authoritarianism and an increase in physical violence towards information-doers and practicing journalists in war-torn or conflict-prone societies. Digital spying and surveillance motivated by commercial or security interests add a new dimension of global danger to the freedom of information and the protection of privacy.
Visits to the Deutsche Welle in Bonn (read more about our visit here) and to leading German media houses in Hamburg complemented the academic part of the 12 days programme. The participants met various interlocutors who shared their practical experiences, insights and professional concerns.
In a final proactive work group the participants identified and drafted a number of concrete interventions and projects to enhance media freedom in their countries and regions in accordance with the concurrent UN World Press Freedom Day 2015 theme:
Let Journalism Thrive! Towards better reporting, gender equality and media safety in the digital age.
- – Freedom of the Press Report 2015 published by Freedom House
- – About the media situation in Turkey and Germany