25 Years After: Media Conference

When: Nov 20th, 2014 - Nov 22nd, 2014
Where: Prague, Czech Republic

Event overview

Transitions and KEYNOTE organized a special conference marking a milestone anniversary. The conference 25 Years After: The Challenges of Building the Post-Communist Media and Communication Industries addressed the transition of the media and communication industries in the post-communist countries of Europe and Eurasia since 1989. The conference took place in Prague on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the sweeping changes that took place throughout the region after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Conference publication "Media in Process".

The speakers included Jeffrey Gedmin, Former RFE/RL President and senior fellow at Georgetown University and at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London, Grzegorz Piechota from Gazeta Wyborcza, Jan Urban, journalist and a leading dissident during the communist era, and Jiří Pehe, Director of New York University in Prague and political scientist.

The London School of Economics (LSE) Media Policy Project organized a pre-conference workshop “Impacting EU Media Policy,” in which Dr. Damian Tambini and Dr. Sally Broughton Micova of the LSE Media Policy Project hosted a discussion on the upcoming revisions to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the issue of media pluralism, and the independence of regulatory authorities.

The conference was supported by the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), the Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism at Charles University, the Comparative Interdisciplinary Studies Section (CISS) of International Studies Association (ISA), and organized in partnership with New York University in Prague, which served as a host for the conference.

We would like to thank the International Visegrad Fund and the U.S. Embassy in Czech Republic for supporting the 25 Years After conference.

Keynote speakers

Grzegorz Piechota

As a head of editorial development and social campaigns of the biggest quality daily newspaper in Poland, Gazeta Wyborcza, Grzegorz Piechota moves communities and provides them with tools to change the world.

He involves journalists, readers, universities, non-governmental organizations, commercial companies into aggressive, public-minded, community-serving editorial projects that include serious investigative reporting, crowd-sourcing, transmedia storytelling, building expert platforms.

Additionally, Piechota leads the digital transformation of Gazeta’s newsroom and development of innovative new business models and products like events, services, websites, magazines.

Gazeta was founded in 1989 by an underground opposition to bring independent journalism to this communist dictatorship and support the first free elections in Central and Eastern Europe. Over 24 years it has built one of the most successful media groups there called Agora. Its businesses include leading Internet portals, magazines, books, record and movie productions, cinemas, radio stations and out-of-home advertising.

Piechota graduated in law and began his career at Gazeta in 1996 as a reporter in one of the smallest local offices rising to a news editor and a vice-president of Agora Foundation. He’s got experienced in launching, re-launching, managing, evaluating and closing projects with budgets of up to 10+ million euro. He has managed teams of up to 150 people.

Piechota is a former European president of the International News Media Association — a worldwide network of 7,000+ media executives — and serves on the association’s global board. He gives frequent lectures and consultations on various media-related issues to public and private institutions around the world.

Jan Urban

Jan Urban, who has recently worked on several projects in Iraq training journalists and working on building reconciliation measures through the reconstruction of cultural heritage sites, was one of the leading dissidents under the communist regime. In 1974, he graduated with a degree in history and philosophy from Charles University. From then until 1989, Urban, forbidden by the communists to continue his academic career, worked as a schoolteacher and a manual laborer. He was one of the founders of the Eastern European Information Agency, a dissident network. He also worked with underground newspapers and as a reporter for Radio Free Europe and the British Broadcasting Company. In November 1989, he helped found the Civic Forum, the movement that led to the eventual overthrow of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, and was placed in charge of its logistics and management. He studied post-conflict societies in Central America and won two international human rights awards from Humanitas, San Francisco, in 1991 and Centro Demos in San Salvador in 1995. Urban also served as a war correspondent in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1993 through 1996 and was the publisher of Transitions magazine from 1997 to 1999. More recently, he has made two documentary films, one of them on the Kosovo conflict. He is the author of three books, two of them on the war in Bosnia and one on a major corruption case in the Czech Republic. He is currently working on a book of interviews with the founder of the People in Need Foundation, Simon Panek.

Jeffrey Gedmin

Jeffrey Gedmin is Co-Director of the Transatlantic Renewal Project at the World Affairs Institute and Journal in Washington, DC. Additionally, he is a Senior Fellow at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service Masters Program and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London. From 2011 to 2014, Gedmin was President and CEO of the London-based Legatum Institute, where he was responsible for the Institute’s strategic direction, budget, board relations, fund raising, research and programmatic agenda. Prior to joining the Legatum Institute in early 2011, Gedminserved for four years as President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). He shaped the company’s strategy and oversaw its budget (100 million dollars) and multi-media broadcast operations, including radio, television, web and social media. As RFE/RL President and CEO, Gedminreported directly to the bi-partisan Broadcast Board of Governors (BBG), whose membership includes the U.S. Secretary of State. Before RFE/RL,Gedmin served as President and CEO of the Aspen Institute in Berlin. In this role, Gedmin reported to the Institute’s Board of Trustees and was responsible for vision and strategy, fund raising, budget, personnel, and programs in Germany and abroad. Before that, he was Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C and Executive Director of the New Atlantic Initiative.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York), a member of the National Endowment for Democracy’s Research Council (Washington, D.C.), a member of the Board of Directors for the journal Turkish Policy Quarterly (Istanbul), and a member of the editorial board of the World Affairs Journal. In addition, he is a board member at the Institute for State Effectiveness (Washington, D.C.) and the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Development, University of California. He has been an Honorary Professor at the University of Konstanz in Germany and currently serves on the board of the Masters Program of Georgetown University’s Foreign Service School.

Jiří Pehe

Currently Director of NYU in Prague, Jiří Pehe was director of the Political Department of Czech President Václav Havel between 1997 until 1999. From 1995 to 1997, Pehe was director of Analysis and Research Department at the Open Media Research Institute in Prague. Between 1988 and 1995, he first worked as an analyst of Central European affairs and later as director of Central European Research at the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany. From 1985 to 1988, Pehe was director of East European Studies at Freedom House in New York. He holds a doctorate in law from the Charles University

Kaarle Nordenstreng

Kaarle Nordenstreng is professor emeritus of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Tampere. Before joining this Scandinavia’s oldest institution of journalism education in 1971, he worked as head of audience research at the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Earlier, as radio journalist he conducted interviews among others with Carl Gustav Jung and Marshall McLuhan. He has attended numerous committees on international relations, media policy and higher education in Finland. Internationally, he has been expert of UNESCO (1969-82), Vice-President of International Association for Mass Communication Research (IAMCR, 1972-88) and President of the International Organization of Journalists (IOJ, 1976-90).

Nordenstreng’s research has focused on communication theory, international communication, development communication, and media ethics. He has written or edited over 30 books, including Normative Theories of the Media: Journalism in Democratic Societies (with Clifford Christians, Theodore Glasser, Denis McQuail and Robert White, Illinois University Press 2009) and Useful Recollections: Excursion into the History of International Movement of Journalists I-II (with Jiri Kubka, IOJ 1986, 1988). He has published over 300 articles or book chapters, including “The international movement of journalists: 120 years of continuing struggle” (in Hizfi Topuz Festschrift, ILAD Hiperlink 2014).

Homepage with more extensive CV and list of publications: http://www.uta.fi/cmt/en/contact/staff/kaarlenordenstreng/index.html

Tudor Vlad

Dr. Tudor Vlad is the Associate Director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia. Dr. Vlad came to the Cox Center of the University of Georgia in September 1999 as a Senior Fulbright scholar.

While being in the Cox Center, Dr. Vlad conducted workshops in Romania, Belarus, Kenya, Republic of Moldova, the Philippines, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, and the United States. He was a co-director of the of the summer course “Media, Democratization and Development: Foundations for a More Robust Research Agenda”, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, June-July 2009.

Tudor Vlad holds a doctorate from the Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Bucharest, Romania. Dr. Vlad was the founder and the chairman of the Department of Journalism at the Babes-Bolyai University. The four-year journalism program at the Babes-Bolyai University has three independent sections: Romanian, Hungarian and German. The program started in 1994.

Since June 1998, Dr. Vlad has been a Director for Central Europe of the World Free Press Institute, San Francisco, California.

In 2008-2010, Dr. Vlad was a consultant to The New York Times.

In 2009, Dr. Vlad was a consultant to the Russian Journalists’ Union (RUJ).

Since January 2010, Dr. Vlad has been a Gallup World Poll Senior Research Advisor.

Since March 2013, Dr. Vlad has been a Freedom House senior ranking adviser.

Dr. Vlad is the author of four novels, two journalism books (The Interview. From Plato to Playboy and The Romanian Writers’ Fascination with Film), and the co-editor of Copyright and Consequences. Central European and U.S. Perspectives.

Dr. Vlad was the editor-in-chief of Transylvanian Review (1991-1999) and the deputy editor-in-chief of Tribuna (1990-1999), the oldest weekly newspaper in Transylvania.

Dr. Vlad has written on assessment of press freedom indicators, evaluation of international media assistance programs, media systems in emerging democracies, media management in post-totalitarian regimes, and journalism and mass communication curricula.

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