Thriving media for resilient democracies

Session on media freedom at the Second Summit for Democracy

What: Session of the Summit for Democracy

Organiser: Free Press Unlimited

When: March 29th from 09:00 – 12:00 CET

Where: World Forum, The Hague, The Netherlands / hybrid

Livestream : You can follow the discussion live on Youtube.

The first Summit for Democracy organized by the United States was virtual and took place on December 9 and 10, 2021. The Netherlands, together with the United States, and the governments of Costa Rica, Zambia and South Korea, will organize the second virtual summit on March 29, 2023, followed by meetings in each of these countries on 30 March with representatives of the government, the private sector and civil society. The aim of the upcoming summit is to actively emphasize the importance of a well-functioning democracy and a free society that has access to reliable and independent information, and where press freedom and the safety of journalists are guaranteed. The Dutch events on 29 and 30 March 2023 focuses in particular on the latter points.

Starting the summit on the morning of the 29th of March Free Press Unlimited will organize a multi-stakeholder session showcasing hopeful initiatives from across the globe of diverse actors working on strengthening independent media’s resilience. Also we intend to speak about the financial viability of media that affects their ability to provide the public interest journalism that is vital for democracies to function.


Welcome with coffee/tea and some light breakfast snacks (9:00 - 9:30)

Opening remarks

Moderator: Nisha Pillai, former BBC news presenter

  • Ruth Kronenburg, Executive Director of Free Press Unlimited, will start with a short statement why media freedom is vital for any democracy.

First panel discussion (9:45-10:20)

  • The first speaker is Enrique Gasteazoro who is the Director of Communications and Engagement at Access Now. As the former CEO of CONFIDENCIAL, a leading Nicaraguan public interest media outlet, he can speak from ample experience about the resilient online civic space that journalism can built amid a process of rapid erosion of democracy.

  • The second speaker is Eddy Prastyo who is Head of New Media at the Voice of Surabaya. This radiostation has become known as a ‘social institute’ and because of their unique format of addressing issues, they have become popular both for the residents of Surabaya as well as with the local government. Eddy will speak about their format and how that supports the city Surabaya.

  • The third speaker is Mira Chowdhury, Latin America Programme Lead at Free Press Unlimited. She is co-lead of a project called VIMES: Viable Media for Empowered Societies. The VIMES project works with media outlets in Central America and Eastern Europe that are facing increased political, economic and safety issues in their countries due to their ground-breaking reporting and pro-democracy stance. By building a cross-border collaboration network of journalists their business model, resilience and viability are improved, which strengthens their position in society.

Second panel discussion (10:25-11:00)

  • The first speaker is Mira Milosevic, who is Executive Director at the Global Forum for Media Development and has in that role been a vocal advocate for media development as a development priority for States. She will be able to tell us how aware States are of the need to support the resilience of independent media and what challenges are still to be tackled in this process.

  • The second speaker is Lizzy Bans Nobre, the deputy director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who represents the Netherlands in the Media Freedom Coalition. The governments of Canada and The Netherlands co-chair the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC), established in 2019 as a partnership of countries working together proactively to advocate for media freedom at home and abroad. The MFC has a Working Group on Media Development where issues of financial viability are discussed. What has this work entailed and what is the view of the Netherlands on how independent media can be supported by States so they are able to sustain their crucial public interest journalism?

  • The third speaker is Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), who initiated the International Initiative on Information and Democracy that aims at bringing democratic guarantees to the global communication and information space. One of the reports launched as part of this initiative is “a New Deal for Journalism” calling for a major commitment on a national and international scale to foster public-interest journalism. How can democracies restore, de jure and de facto, the social function of journalism?

Break-out sessions will take place from 10:30 to 11:30 AM. The WG leads will be invited to join the plenary table to present their outcomes.

Break out sessions (10:30-11:30)

During the session we will have break-out sessions on the three priorities of the Media Freedom Cohort. The goal of these sessions is for each working group to come up up with 3 core recommendations on their subtheme which will feed into the discussions during the MFA event on the 30th.

The break out sessions will be chaired by the civil society leads of each of the working groups. Participants will be representatives from different sectors and areas of expertise (approximately 8 per breakout room). These groups can build on the commitments pledged by different stakeholders in the run-up to the Summit which will be collected in a findings report.

WG1 Breakout session: Protecting Journalists' Safety and Security (led by ACOS Alliance and IFEX)

WG3: Bolstering Independent and Diverse Media (session led by GFMD)

Break out sessions report back to the plenary with recommendations to be discussed during the high-level talkshow on the 30th of March (11:30-12:00)

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