Press release 13 November, 2014: “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” 2015

Nomination period ends on 28 February, 2015

Leipzig, 13 November, 2014. Since 2001, the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig awards the “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” to individuals and institutions that are committed to freedom of press. The award ceremony regularly takes place on 8 October – on the eve of the day in 1989 when tens of thousands of Leipzig’s citizens protested for freedom of speech. On 8 October 2015, the Media Foundation wants to award its prize for the fifteenth time. The prize is endowed with 30,000 Euros.

Every natural or legal entity is allowed to nominate suitable candidates. We cordially invite you to nominate your candidates for the prize:

Nomination period for the “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” 2015 ends on 28 February, 2015.

Subsequently, an expert will consider the quality of the proposals. Based on this expert assessment, a high-level expert jury elects the laureates in summer 2015.

Please consider the following criteria for your nominations:

  • The prize is awarded to journalists, media professionals, publishers and also media institutions who are committed to protection and development of freedom of press by taking personal risks and with a strong democratic conviction.
  • The committment of the candidates for the freedom of press outweighs their personal reputation.
  • The laureate’s performance demands journalistic quality and must refer to a relevant or notable issue of general interest.
  • The prize is international: candidates and laureates are not subject of any territorial restrictions.
  • Your candidate must clearly be identified by filing first- and surname or the name of the institution. Please include a short informal reasoning, a biography, publications and selected press articles illustrating the committment of your candidate for freedom of press to your nomination.

Please hand in your nominations until 28 February, 2015

Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig
“Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”
Menckestraße 27
D-04155 Leipzig
E-Mail: info@leipziger-medienstiftung.de
Fax: +49(0)341 – 562 96 63

We look forward to your nominations by 28 February, 2015.

13.11.2014


Press release 1 November, 2014: A raw movie full of energy, humor and anger

DOK Leipzig 2014: Hamza Ouni receives Leipzig Media Foundation’s Talent Dove

Leipzig, 1 November, 2014. The international jury for young cinema at the 57th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film chose to honor Hamza Ouni (Tunisia/United Arab Emirates) and his film “El Gort” with the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation’s “Talent Dove” in 2014. The Media Foundation endows the “Talent Dove” with 10,000 Euros in start-up funding for the winner’s next film project.

Stephan Seeger, Media Foundation’s Managing Director and Head of Sparkasse Leipzig Foundations, congratulates Hamza Ouni on behalf of the Media Foundation: “His film ‘El Gort’ is an impressive long-term documentation of Tunisia before and after the revolution against President Ben Ali. In a story of two young men, Hamza Ouni shows us a country and the lives of its citizens in a reawakening democracy.”

57. Internationales Leipziger Festival für Dokumentar- und Animationsfilm

Hamza Ouni (middle) with the “Talent Dove” 2014
Photo: DOK Leipzig 2014

The jury praised the film, calling it “a raw movie full of energy, humor and anger that reveals a unique and complex picture of Tunisia today.” Stephan Seeger believes the award and its endowment, sponsored by the Media Foundation since 2004, has once again achieved its goal with the selection of this year’s “Talent Dove” laureate: “The focus on young documentary filmmakers reveals perspectives that we don’t see as often in our European context – for example, this insight into the Arab world.” He spoke highly of the jurors and the keen eye for extraordinary cinema they have demonstrated time and again when awarding the prize in past years. It’s no wonder that last year’s “Talent Dove” laureate, filmmaker Kaveh Bakhtiari for his film “L’Escale”, was nominated for the European Film Award just two days after his victory in Leipzig. The laureate in 2008, Ilian Metev, even went on to win the “France 4 Visionary Award” in Cannes.

About the film:

“El Gort” portrays the lives of two young men in the Tunisian city of El M’hamdia. Day after day, they work loading heavy hay bales onto trucks. Hamza Ouni, born 1975 in Tunisia, visits them over several years – before and after the Tunisian revolution – and asks his home country how the profound political changes have changed the lives of his protagonists.

www.dok-leipzig.de

01.11.2014


(German) Dem digitalen Medienwandel mit Qualitätsoffensive begegnen

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

24.10.2014


“Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” 2014 – Impressions

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Speaker Dr. Thomas Bellut (General Director of Second German Television), Dr. Harald Langenfeld (Chairman of the Board of Sparkasse Leipzig and Media Foundation), Stephan Seeger (Director Foundations of Sparkasse Leipzig), laureate Farida Nekzad, laureate Aram Radomski, laureate Roland Jahn, laureate Siegbert Schefke and Burkhard Jung (Lord Mayor of Leipzig and Chairman of the Foundation Council) (from left to right). Laureate Christoph Wonneberger was not able to participate in the award ceremony.
Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

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Dr. Harald Langenfeld welcomes the guests of the award ceremony
Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

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Leipzig’s Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung
Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

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“Leipzig Speech to the Freedom of Media and Press” 2014: speaker Dr. Thomas Bellut
Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

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Burkhard Jung, Farida Nekzad and Dr. Harald Langenfeld (from left to right)
Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

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Siegbert Schefke, Aram Radomsik and Roland Jahn (from left to right)
Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

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Aram Radomski, Farida Nekzad, Roland Jahn and Siegbert Schefke (from left to right)
Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

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Group photo at “Media Campus Villa Ida”
Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

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Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

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Photo: Media Foundation/Olivier Colin

10.10.2014


Press release 8 October 2014: “Creating Crystalline Clarity”

The Leipzig “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” was presented today: ZDF Director Dr. Thomas Bellut speaks on freedom of the media and press

Leipzig, 8 October, 2014. In today’s ceremony, the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation presented the 14th “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” to journalists who continue to fight for the implementation and preservation of freedom of the press with courage and exceptional engagement. The winners are the Afghan journalist Farida Nekzad and participants in the “Peaceful Revolution” in the GDR Aram Radomski, Siegbert Schefke, Roland Jahn, and Christoph Wonneberger.

On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the “Peaceful Revolution”, Burkhard Jung, Lord Mayor of Leipzig and Chairman of the Board of the Media Foundation, spoke about the unique objective of the Leipzig Media Award: “Those who are contemptuous of free speech have many names, locations, and motives. There is little they fear more than the gaze of the public eye. This is a good sign, for it shows that free speech continues to bear power. But it is also troubling. It is proof of the serious threat that still exists to this precious asset to free societies. In the face of this danger, the most important task of the free press can only be this: to create crystalline clarity, to voice facts concisely and intelligibly, to name names. Who could be more aware of this than the people of Leipzig?”

Dr. Harald Langenfeld, Executive Chairman of Sparkasse Leipzig and the Media Foundation, congratulated the winners, saying: “Aram Radomski, Siegbert Schefke, Roland Jahn, and Christoph Wonneberger generated publicity for the demands of the protest movement with courage, intelligence, and at great personal risk…As one of the leading journalists in her home country of Afghanistan, Farida Nekzad is one of the most prominent defenders of women’s rights and freedom of the press. Death threats, a bombing, and even an attempted kidnapping have been unable to prevent her from doing her job as a journalist.” At the same time, he spoke critically of conditions in the age of social networks: “The ever-increasing rate of turnover for news items, competition between classic media and the endless stream of news from social networks, as well as recent technological advancements make things easier for those who seek to manipulate public opinion. In the race to publish news and images, journalistic diligence is constantly in danger of being crushed under the wheel”.

The winners accepted their award in Leipzig, endowed with a total of 30,000 Euros. Farida Nekzad expressed her gratitude, saying: “This is an especially meaningful award, and in the best possible way, because it honors more than me alone. I see this award as an acknowledgement of all journalists and women’s rights activists who carry out their incredibly important work in Afghanistan under difficult conditions and in the face of grave danger”.

Roland Jahn talked about “the fear of the people as the mortar of dictatorship” that can be conquered by independent reporting. For Siegbert Schefke, the most important message sent by the Peaceful Revolution is that one must believe in change: “It is possible.” Schefke knows that this statement still resonates in many countries across the globe. Martin Wonneberger, whose speech was read by Thomas Mayer, former head reporter at the Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper and author of a biography of Christoph Wonneberger entitled Der nicht aufgibt, said: “The people who, like Edward Snowden, bravely reveal the actions of those in power, should, especially in this country, be defended and protected – and even honored!” Aram Radomski described how he and his fellow combatants accepted the Leipzig Media Award on behalf of all of the people who took to the streets in 1989 in Leipzig and elsewhere to protest the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.

Director of ZDF (Second German Television) Dr. Thomas Bellut discussed the “Peaceful Revolution” that took place 25 years ago in a speech on freedom of the media and the press during the award ceremony. He explained that one must remember “that everything that seems so reasonable to many of us today hung by a thread – our very ability to congregate and talk openly about freedom.” Freedom is “not a matter of personal carte blanche, but a public commodity that must be mutually generated in cooperative society.” According to Bellut, “there is no political freedom without freedom of the media…The freedom to communicate as a fundamental democratic right is a premeditated liberal defensive weapon against State-controlled media or interference on the part of the State in the freedom to broadcast.” However, freedom of the media cannot exist if free journalists fail to fulfill their professional obligations: “If a public outrage machine with all its moralistic hype and shitstorming is able to entrap even the German Bundespräsident, then the problematic concept of the media as the State’s ‘fourth source of force’ will become a reality”.

Since 2001, with its “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”, the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation has honored journalists, publishers, and institutions that invest great personal energy in the fight for the freedom and future of the media. The award is also intended to commemorate the “Peaceful Revolution” of 9 October 1989 in Leipzig, when protestors demanded “free press for a free country”.

About the laureates:

The Afghan journalist Farida Nekzad is one of her home country’s most renowned journalists. She returned to Afghanistan in 2002, after having lived in exile in Pakistan and studied briefly in India. From 2004 to 2009, she worked as the News Director and editor in chief of an independent news agency, and Afghanistan’s largest, “Pajhwok News”. After that, she became editor in chief at the “Wakht News Agency”, an organization dedicated primarily to reporting on women and women’s rights in Afghanistan. Until June of 2014, she was an elected member and Director of the “Media Commission” within Afghanistan’s “Independent Election Commission”, the task of which was to enable a balanced media presence of the campaigning parties during Afghanistan’s elections in 2014.

Farida Nekzad has trained young journalists in Afghanistan and serves as a volunteer member of the international organization “South Asian Women in Media”. Her engagement and journalistic activities have made her an influential voice in the fight for women’s rights and freedom of the press. In the past they have also made her the target of multiple death threats, a bomb attack, and an attempted kidnapping. Farida Nekzad currently resides in Germany as a guest of the “Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People.

Aram Radomski, Siegbert Schefke, Roland Jahn, and Christoph Wonneberger participated in the “Peaceful Revolution” of 1989 in the GDR as well as the opposition movement that led up to it. Between 1977 and 1984, Christoph Wonneberger was a Lutheran minister in Dresden, and moved to Leipzig in 1985. Starting in 1986, he coordinated the Monday prayers for peace at the Saint Nicholas Church and worked in opposition groups from within the church. In 1989, he kept a “protest telephone” with which Western journalists could be kept abreast of occurrences in Leipzig. On the evening of 9 October 1989 Wonneberger gave a live interview on the ARD news program “tagesthemen” in which he told the world about Leipzig’s peaceful protest with 70,000 participants.

Roland Jahn was expelled from university in 1977 for criticizing the dissolution of Wolf Biermann’s citizenship. He is one of the founders of the “Jena Friedenskreis” (“peace circle Jena”) and has been subject to political persecution due to his promotion of freedom of expression, among other things. In 1982, he was taken into custody, convicted, and released ahead of schedule following protests in the West. Then, in June of 1983, he was exiled from the GDR against his will. From West Berlin, he provided financial and logistical support to the opposition, including by supplying printing presses and video cameras. As a journalist, he produced numerous programs for ARD on the subjects of GDR opposition, human rights violations, and environmental pollution, and thus made a significant contribution to generating counter-publicity. Since March of 2011, Roland Jahn has served as Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the Former German Democratic Republic.

Siegbert Schefke is one of the founders of Berlin’s “Environmental Library”. It was there that he met Aram Radomski. Together, they did freelance work for various West German media and specialized in documenting the deterioration of historic parts of cities, environmental destruction in the GDR, and the budding opposition movement. With a camera supplied by Roland Jahn, they positioned themselves in the tower of the Reformed Church on Leipzig’s central ring road and filmed the Monday demonstrations on 9 October, 1989. West German media broadcast this important material on October 10, 1989, after which the Leipzig demonstrations were shown all over the world, including throughout the GDR itself. Today, Schefke works as a television editor at the Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk (Central German Broadcasting). Radomski is the CEO of the Berlintapete GmbH.

08.10.2014


Foundation

Whoever wants to support and sponsor the development of a free media has to consider more than the mere economic and employment-oriented aspects. A media centre becomes especially important and attractive when it represents a climate where the media’s great responsibility towards society is recognized as a duty as well as a challenge.

The Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig public savings bank wants to contribute to this climate. One of its key commitments is the fostering of training and further education possibilities for young people in the media field. This involves scholarships (e.g. through the Leipzig Media Award), targeted project support, and the organization of civic education events, such as for the commemoration of the Peaceful Revolution of 1989 in Leipzig.

The Foundation projects are financed by the Foundation itself as well as third party contributions and donations.

Every year, the Foundation awards its “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”. In addition, the Foundation awards the “Axel Eggebrecht Prize”, the “Günter Eich Prize” and the “Talent Dove”.

Nikolaisäule (Andreas Lamm)

Sculpture “Nikolaisäule” (“St. Nicholas Column”) as symbol of the “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” (Photo: Andreas Lamm)

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Teaching and Research

The Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig is particularly committed to education and training in the media sector. Therefore, the Foundation cooperates closely with local universities and other educational institutions and founded institutes, launched initiatives and projects and created the necessary infrastructure for media-related activities. The respective core institutions are:

  • the “Leipzig School of Media” (LSoM) with its part-time academic master’s degree programs and seminar programs,
  • the “Institute of Practical Research on Journalism and Communication” (IPJ) with four basic research fields: journalism, communication management, media management and media informatics,
  • the Radio Workshops “Feature” and “radio play” as think tanks for the content-related and methodological training of authors and media experts,
  • the “Media Campus Villa Ida” as a multifunctional venue.

Discover these areas by visiting the related web pages and learn more about the funding spectrum of the Media Foundation.

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Press

Press release 13 November, 2014: “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” 2015

Nomination period ends on 28 February, 2015

Leipzig, 13 November, 2014. Since 2001, the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig awards the “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” to individuals and institutions that are committed to freedom of press. The award ceremony regularly takes place on 8 October – on the eve of the day in 1989 when tens of thousands of Leipzig’s citizens protested for freedom of speech. On 8 October 2015, the Media Foundation wants to award its prize for the fifteenth time. The prize is endowed with 30,000 Euros.

Every natural or legal entity is allowed to nominate suitable candidates. We cordially invite you to nominate your candidates for the prize:

Nomination period for the “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” 2015 ends on 28 February, 2015.

Subsequently, an expert will consider the quality of the proposals. Based on this expert assessment, a high-level expert jury elects the laureates in summer 2015.

Please consider the following criteria for your nominations:

  • The prize is awarded to journalists, media professionals, publishers and also media institutions who are committed to protection and development of freedom of press by taking personal risks and with a strong democratic conviction.
  • The committment of the candidates for the freedom of press outweighs their personal reputation.
  • The laureate’s performance demands journalistic quality and must refer to a relevant or notable issue of general interest.
  • The prize is international: candidates and laureates are not subject of any territorial restrictions.
  • Your candidate must clearly be identified by filing first- and surname or the name of the institution. Please include a short informal reasoning, a biography, publications and selected press articles illustrating the committment of your candidate for freedom of press to your nomination.

Please hand in your nominations until 28 February, 2015

Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig
“Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”
Menckestraße 27
D-04155 Leipzig
E-Mail: info@leipziger-medienstiftung.de
Fax: +49(0)341 – 562 96 63

We look forward to your nominations by 28 February, 2015.

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Leipzig Media Award

The Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig is committed to the memory of the Peaceful Revolution that took place in East Germany in 1989. Freedom of speech and unrestricted gathering of information through a free and independent press were key demands of the civil rights activists and demonstrators during the Leipzig Monday demonstrations at that time.

Through the annual awarding of the “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”, the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig supports the freedom of press and with it the memento of the events of 1989.

The defense of the freedom of press is more important than ever. Even in free societies it is endangered: the patterns of suppression of information are becoming more subtle. The “Leipzig Media Congress”, which was organized by the Media Foundation in October 2010 and which formed the thematic framework of the award ceremony 2010, was dedicated to this issue.

By awarding further prizes – such as the “Talent Dove” for the best documentary of a talented newcomer at the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, the “Günther Eich Prize” and the “Axel Eggebrecht Prize”, the Foundation promotes culturally and qualitatively sophisticated work in text, sound and film.

All awards of the Media Foundation are summarised under the generic term “Leipzig Media Award”.

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Media Campus

The Media Campus in the Leipzig district of Gohlis was erected by the Media Foundation. Together with the historic Villa Ida building where the actual seat of the Foundation is located it forms an interesting ensemble and thus literally combines old and new.

The building includes a large hall for events with a capacity of up to 280 seats, which can be divided by a movable partition wall. This room can also be used as a lecture hall. On the first floor you find two seminar rooms with 25 seats each, a training room for video editing with ten seats and an audio recording studio. On the top floor there is a PC room with 23 seats and offices for lecturers. In addition, the building accommodates a small public bistro, which also supplies the Media Campus and four apartments for scholars/guest lecturers.

Media Campus Villa Ida

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Contact

Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig

Menckestraße 27
D-04155 Leipzig
Germany

Phone: +49 341 – 5629 661
Fax: +49 341 – 5629 663
info(at)leipziger-medienstiftung.de

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