Peiraios 260, September 28-30, 2023: Over 140 speakers from 35 countries shared their expertise with more than 1450 participants in 59 sessions during the course of three days. The Forum had it all; from investigations and case studies on climate crisis, migration, corruption, and war, to advancements in artificial intelligence and discussions on press freedom and media sustainability.
Journalists from both international and Greek media organizations and outlets collaborated and networked with scientists, academics, and students. Together, they tackled global issues that redefine today’s media landscape. One of the Forum’s underlying theme –collaboration– was also manifested via the Media Village that hosted 18 independent media and journalism organizations, providing participants with the opportunity to interact and learn about their work and vision.
The Forum featured innovative formats like the Live Journalism sessions and a collective hearing event, documentary screenings, photography exhibitions and a physical data installation. Also, importantly, the European Press Prize Community Event 2023 took place within the Forum.
During her keynote address, Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou, Founder & Managing Director of iMEdD, and journalist, emphasized, “We need a collective reality check. At a time when journalism is both discredited but also targeted by those it strives to hold accountable, we need to find the appropriate response. We need to remind ourselves of the importance of journalism. And the only way to achieve this is by being together as a community, like we do today”.
“The great changes of the current period, at all levels, are dominated by brutality, exaggeration, lack of trust and of course insecurity on top of all. On this dystopian framework, media professionals are forced to walk on the edge or constantly improvise”, remarked Stratis Trilikis, iMEdD Co-Founder and Programme Director, and a journalist.
Significant panel discussions explored press freedom across the world. “It's a quite common line, which we may say among ourselves for fun, 'Be careful what you write because you may find yourself in a ditch', said journalist Eliza Triantafyllou, regarding the threats and perils reporters face in Greece.
In partnership with Greek journalists and press freedom organizations, an investigation into the unresolved murders of journalists Sokratis Giolias and Giorgos Karaivaz was presented, intensifying questions about state accountability. Among the audience were both Giorgos Karaivaz’ widow and Sokratis Giolias’ brother.
Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Brussels Bureau Chief of The New York Times, shared her thoughts on migration coverage, acknowledging the emotional toll it takes on journalists: “We bear a heavy emotional burden, but it is essential to remember that the people we write about have it so much worse than us”.
Other notable sessions included discussions on climate change narratives by Emiliya Mychasuk from the Financial Times. She highlighted the importance of precise and considerate language when discussing climate change, stating, “We have to be very careful with the terms we use when we refer to the campaigns that are happening on climate change (...) So the language we use to describe those people, the groups that make up the climate movement is specific and needs attention”.
Bill Marczak, senior researcher at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, shared tips on ways journalists can protect their devices from attempts to hack into our digital lives. As he mentioned, “At its core, the spyware problem is mostly a technical problem, but it also has to do with a lack of accountability”.
iMEdD Lab showcased the experimental project blended human expertise and AI to analyze Greek leaders' election speeches. Furthermore, in a collective listening session of the audio documentary “TRAUMA”, produced by iMEdD, we heard interviews with survivors and relatives of victims affected by seven major disasters and accidents in Greece from 1999 to date. As journalist Kostas Koukoumakas said “We had to weave the stories in such a way, at the risk of leaving many out because we talked to more than 25 people, so that there is a common thread that connects them and that is the trauma in terms of our personal experience”.
The three-day Forum aimed to empower participants, providing them with valuable knowledge and a renewed sense of inspiration for their journalistic work.
Selected sessions are available on-demand at forum.imedd.org.