Summing up the 1st edition of the European Journalism Symposium

The 1st edition of the European Journalism Symposium brought together more than 800 journalists, academics, students and media professionals from the 27 European countries and a dozen countries from the southern and eastern neighborhood of the European Union. It was organized in Brussels on November 23 to 25, 2022 with the aim to discuss what brings them together and sets them apart in their values and practices.

All the EU member countries owere represented as well as more than ten countries from its Southern and Eastern neighborhoods. This 1st edition was placed under the honorary presidency of Jean-Marie Cavada, president of the OGC Presse and the Institute of Digital Fundamental Rights (IFDRights). During this edition the following issues were raised :  today’s threats to journalists and the media within the EU, the link between the media and the Gafam, the fight against online harassment, the issue of migration to Europe and its media coverage.

Ces Assises ont permis aussi de présenter des initiatives pour regagner la confiance des publics – avec une composante forte sur l’éducation aux médias et à l’information – et les nouvelles tendances du journalisme européen.

Maja Sever FEJ
Maja Sever, EFJ President © Marie Jansen pour @LesAssises

For Maja Sever, President of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), this 1st edition was an important and unifying event which constitutes a unique moment: « I found this 1st edition to be a very important moment. It is unique to be able to interact with students and researchers in the media sector and journalists from all over Europe », she said.

The Media Freedom Act as a guiding thread

Vera Jourova
Vera Jourova, EU Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency © Marie Jansen pour @LesAssises

The European Media Freedom Act was at the center of the debates and workshops. During her speech at the Symposium, Vera Jourova, the Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency declared that « the correlation between the rise of disinformation and the fall of media trust in the European Union is very dangerous. At the European level, we are not equipped to guarantee the independence of the media. The European Media Freedom Act is the first moment in European history where we dare to legislate our media space.

In their Appeal published on November 25, 2022, the participants of the first European Journalism Symposium pledged to be “particularly vigilant” throughout the ratification process.

Spotlight on the work of journalists in Ukraine

This 1st edition devoted a special evening to journalism in Ukraine during which Reporters Without Borders showcased its investigation into the death of photojournalist Maks Levin. This evening brought together more than 200 people to discuss and explain war reporting and the role of photojournalism and images in times of conflict. The moment of silence respected by all the participants during the dissemination of the #OntheFrontlinesofTruth photos will have marked this evening and shown the deep respect for the work of these journalists who have been informing us about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine for nearly ‘a year.

Highlight on Journalism & migrations : a strong moment for intercultural exchanges

Among the participants, about fifty journalists from the countries of the EU Southern and Eastern neighborhoods were able to share their journalistic practices and analysis. In speech, Manar Rachwani, a Syrian journalist and researcher on these issues, pointed out that “European media interest in the countries of southern Europe’s neighborhood is seasonal and depends on the influx of refugees at its doorstep. The media coverage of the issue is often politically exploited. Journalists should be aware of this ».

This first edition was co-organized by Journalisme & Citoyenneté and  IHECS. It gathered more than 40 organizations related to media and civil society in the EU. EU funding allowed more than 50 reporters coming from the Arab world to join the different panels. Following the 1st European Journalism Symposium in Brussels, the Constructive Institute of Aarhus in Denmark has created a training module in constructive journalism.

Check out the pictures

A few numbers

A stimulating 1st edition:

  • The vast majority of participants (85%) attended the Symposium in person
  • Participants evaluated the quality of the debates at an average of 4 out of 5
  • Participants evaluated the respect for the European diversity evaluated at an average of 4 out of 5
  • Based on their feedbacks, the participants felt rather inspired when they left the 1st edition of the European Symposium on Journalism

An inclusive and rather diverse edition :

  • 60% of the participants were women, particularly active in the field of journalism and media literacy. Gender balance was also respected in the panels with 51% of women speakers and 49% of men speakers.
  • The 27 European countries were represented among all the participants. Within the debates, 20 countries of the European Union were represented and 5 countries of its Southern and Eastern neighborhoods.

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Check out the panels on Youtube


Le fil de Bruxelles