In advance of the Second Global Conference on Media Freedom


→ Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria
→ Embassy of Canada in Austria
→ British Embassy in Austria
→ International Press Institute (IPI)
→ Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)/Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media



The webinar addressed both physical and digital threats and attacks on journalists and media workers and the deteriorating working conditions of journalists while identifying opportunities to help reverse these trends. In some cases, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges and the parallel ‘infodemic’, or rapid spread of disinformation, underscores the key role of free media systems in democratic societies, and the risks to media pluralism that are associated with a state of emergency and restrictions to freedom of expression. The webinar is aimed at promoting media development and freedom of expression in line with international human rights standards and OSCE principles and commitments.

The event consisted of a high-level opening session and two panels, one on safety of journalists and media workers and one on independence of journalism, with a regional focus on Central and Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. The first panel, in particular, looked at the effects of COVID-19 on journalistic independence.


(20 October, 2020)

14:30-14:45       High-level Opening
Ambassador Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Secretary General, Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria (video message)
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Minister of State (video message)

14:45-15:45       Panel 1: Safety of Journalists and Media Workers
Moderator: Kanbar Hossein Bor, UK Coordinator for Global Media Freedom Campaign
Dominik K. Cagara, Co-founder and Director, Open Caucasus Media (OC Media)
Estera Flieger, Journalist,, Poland
Andrey Rikhter, OSCE/Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media
Marija Vučić, Journalist, KRIK, Serbia

15:45-15:55       Virtual Coffee/Video Break

15:55-16:55       Panel 2: Independence of Journalism
Moderator: H.E. Heidi Hulan, Ambassador of Canada to Austria and to the International Organizations in Vienna
Márton Gergely, Lead Editor, HVG weekly, Hungary
Scott Griffen, Deputy Director, International Press Institute (IPI)
Mira Milošević, Executive Director, Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
Natalia Morari, Journalist, TV8 Moldova

16:55-17:00       Conclusion
H.E. Heidi Hulan, Ambassador of Canada to Austria and International Organizations in Vienna


The webinar contributes to work of the Media Freedom Coalition, a partnership of currently 37 countries working together proactively to advocate for media freedom, online as well as offline, and for the safety of journalists and media workers. The Media Freedom Coalition aims to hold to account those who harm journalists or severely restrict them from doing their job, as well as support the work and initiatives of the Global Campaign for Media Freedom.