On Monday (11.09.2023), an international forum kicked off in the German city of Hamburg: The first Hamburg Press Freedom Week.
In the evening, a Senate reception was held at Hamburg City Hall with a panel discussion with international journalists in exile.
The forum was initiated by Dr Lothar Dittmer, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Körber-Stiftung and Prof Manuel J. Hartung, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.
Dr Lothar Dittmer, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Körber Foundation said: "Freedom of the press and democracy are one and the same. The Kerber Foundation is involved in numerous projects for people fighting for democratic rights and values. We see the Press Freedom Week, which we initiated together with the CAIT Foundation, as a contribution to pointing out the special value of press freedom for a free democracy and an open society."
The event was organised at a very high level.
A pleasant surprise was a meeting with a colleague from the Yabloko party, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta (banned in Russia), Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov. In early September, Putin's regime declared him a "foreign agent".
In his speech Dmitry Muratov presented the magazine "Gorby" dedicated to Mikhail Gorbachev. It was largely thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that the unification of Germany took place in 1990, and the countries of Eastern Europe gained freedom of speech and an independent press. Muratov bitterly stated, using Russia as an example, "The history of independent journalism is over, over." Using the examples of Evan Hershkovich, an American journalist working in Russia, Alexandra Skochilenko, a St. Petersburg artist, Vladimir Rumyantsev, a 61-year-old stoker from Vologda, and Alexei Gorinov, a Moscow municipal deputy, he showed how freedom of speech is being stifled in Russia. Dmitry thanked European foundations, including German ones, for supporting independent journalists in countries with authoritarian regimes. Dmitry Muratov posed a rhetorical question: "How could it happen that the future of the planet largely depends on one man. Whether or not this person presses the nuclear button.
Then Turkish journalist Jan Dündar and Chinese TIME correspondent Sifang Yang were invited to the stage and spoke about the difficulties of working as independent journalists in Turkey and China.
Sevgil Musayeva, editor-in-chief of the online publication Ukrainska Pravda, told the audience how independent journalists work in a country at war and how difficult it is to conduct anti-corruption investigative journalism without undermining people's faith in the ideals of a just war in a country that has fallen victim to military aggression.
German journalist Katrin Sanmann moderated the discussion.
After the official part of the event, the forum participants continued their dialogue in an informal atmosphere.
It was nice to meet our friends, former and current guests of the Hamburg Foundation for the Politically Persecuted.
Alexander Goncharenko, doctor, Russian politician and human rights activist
In Photo 1. The official advertisement of the forum;
In photo 2. From left to right, Lothar Dittmer, Katrin Sanmann and Manuel J. Hartung. Hartung;
In photo 3. Dmitry Muratov's speech;
In photo 4. From left to right Alexander Goncharenko and Dmitry Muratov;
Photo 5. From left, Alexander Goncharenko and Kirill Martynov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta. Europe";
Photo 6. From left to right Alexander and Galina Goncharenko;
Photo 7. Guests of the Hamburg Foundation for the Politically Persecuted.