The two-day meeting, which was attended by Nobel Peace Prize winners as well as senior officials from world-renowned media companies, was held in the First National Assembly in Bonn, Germany’s first capital. Peter Limbourg, managing director of DW, gave the opening speech, followed by Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister. He began his remarks with the words of a Russian journalist living in exile, whose name he said he did not want to damage. He said that the Russian journalist, who worked as a culture page editor for a magazine in Russia, had fallen on hard times with the outbreak of the war and that it was difficult for him to do his job again. He said that in the last 12 months, the German government had supported more than a thousand Russian journalists through the Hannah Arendt Institute.
Another name that marked the conference was Russian journalist Dimitry Muratov, Nobel Peace Prize winner. Muratov said, “I will use the word ‘hell’ because the word ‘war’ is forbidden in Russia and the word ‘hell’ is still allowed.” During Muratov’s speech, sirens, the most terrible sound of war, were played. Many journalists from Ukraine also participated in the panels and the most prominent speaker was Sevgil Musaieva, who also participated in IJA events.
The opening ceremony also featured a Belarusian singing group who took to the stage with their faces masked as targets. A panel titled “Stranger in a strange land – Exiled Journalism on the Rise” discussed the growing number of exiled journalists who are forced to flee their home countries. The panel, which was also attended by Can Dündar, focused on exiled journalists who have left their countries in order to make their voices heard in the face of increasing censorship and oppression in their countries, and to inform the world about human rights violations and corruption.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Roberta Gbowee from Liberia, renowned photographer Ron Haviv, and Afghan journalist Zahra Joya, who was one of Time magazine’s most influential women of the year in 2022, also participated in the panel. El Salvadoran journalist Oscar Martinez, who was awarded the annual Freedom of Expression Award by DW at the Global Media Forum, received the loudest applause at the program.
Nearly a thousand people from many countries around the world had the opportunity to communicate with each other during the panel discussions.