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Václav Havel European Dialogues 2020: Do Free Media Equal Free Society?

Václav Havel European Dialogues is an annual international conference held in Brussels that aims to initiate and stimulate a discussion about issues determining the direction of contemporary Europe while referring to the spiritual legacy of Václav Havel. The on-line debate which will take place on on 9 December 2020 (18:30 – 19:45) is organized by the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU, Václav Havel Library, Prague, Czech Embassy to the Kingdom of Belgium and Czech Centre in Brussels. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook of each organising partner and also via www.havelchannel.cz

This year the conference would like to pose a question: “Do free media equal free society?”. Independent media play an irreplaceable role in controlling the government and ensuring transparency of the state administration. At the same time, they oversee the fair conduct of elections. International comparisons confirm the direct link between the degree of freedom of speech, the state of democracy and the quality of life. Restrictions on free media and human rights are one of the features of undemocratic regimes and are clearly visible, for example, in Belarus and other countries in the EU‘s neighborhood. Thanks to the availability of social networks and digital media, people are quickly informed, but on the other hand, there is a risk of misinformation that can undermine democratic values.

The event is held under the auspices of Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency.

18:30 Opening of the Conference:
Edita Hrdá, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the EU
Pavel Klucký, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Belgium
Introduction by the Moderator of the Discussion:
Michael Žantovský, Executive Director of the Václav Havel Library

18:45 - 19:45 Online Panel:
Věra Jourová / Yevhen Hlibovytsky / Daniel Michaels / Václav Štětka

Are public media still the indispensable fourth pillar of democracy? How has the role of media in the process of democratization changed over time? Can they be replaced by social networks? Should national and transnational actors support free media? Is reliable information available to everyone and are citizens actually interested in it? How to defend democracy against the threat of misinformation? How can the EU help?

VHED programme - download (PDF, 2 MB)