Von Brand Storytelling bis Videoproduktion – Leipzig School of Media präsentiert neues Kursprogramm

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Press release 31 October, 2015: Sensitive observation of the transformation in Hungary

Klára Trencsényi wins the 2015 Next Masters Competition (Next Masters Wettbewerb) and the Media Foundation’s Golden Dove at DOK Leipzig

Leipzig, 31 October, 2015. In 2015, the Golden Dove of the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation, awarded for an exceptional film by a new artist, went to filmmaker Klára Trencsényi for her film “Reményvasút” (“Train to Adulthood”). The selection was made by the jury of the Next Masters Competition at the 58th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film. Read more …


Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media 2015 – Impressions

Pictures: Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig/Olivier Colin


Award ceremony 2015 (from left to right): Dr. Harald Langenfeld (Chairman of the Board of Media Foundation and Sparkasse Leipzig), Stephan Seeger (Managing Director of Media Foundation), speaker Henrik Kaufholz (Chairman of the Board of ECPMF), Yousef Panahi as representative of his brother Jafar, laureate Nedim Sener, Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung and Stefan Raue (Editor in chief of Television, Radio and New Media of Central German Broadcasting and Vice Chairman of Media Foundation)

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Press release 8 October, 2015: Leipzig Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media goes to Jafar Panahi and Nedim Şener

“The era of state repression and isolation is ending”

Leipzig, 8 October, 2015. The Sparkasse Media Foundation honored German-Turkish journalist Nedim Şener and Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi with the 2015 Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media at an award ceremony on the evening of October 8th. The award goes to people and institutions who dedicate themselves with courage and exceptional commitment to establishing and protecting freedom of the press and is bestowed along with a total of 30,000 euros. Read more …


Medienstiftung zeigt Preisträger-Film

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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 “Golden Dove” (former “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 degree programs and seminar programs,
  • the “European Institute for Journalism and Communication Research” (EIJC) with scholarships granted throughout of Europe,
  • special events for the genres of radio feature and radio play

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 release 15 December, 2015: Lying press?

“Journalists are part of the concept of the enemy”

ECPMF-fact finding mission in Germany investigating attacks on journalists during right-wing populist events shows an increasing danger. The Centre calls for reporting and prosecution of the cases.

Leipzig, 15.12.2015. Participants of numerous right-wing populist demonstrations and events in Germany violently attacked at least 29 journalists, dozens were threatened and insulted. The reason for those incidents: The victims are considered part of the so-called “Lügenpresse”, the lying press that is supposed to intendedly report untruthfully.

A new dimension of endangerment of journalists and other media practitioners becomes visible, especially during right-wing events like the weekly PEGIDA-marches (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident), states the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) in its concluding report of the fact finding mission, published on 15.12.2015.

The ECPMF collected and categorised all known attacks on journalists that happened in 2015 in connection to the new uprising right-wing populist movement in Germany. With the support of interviews with victims and experts, the centre investigated also the effects on press and media freedom. From 16.11. until 12.12.2015, individual cases were verified, seven expert interviews were conducted and right-wing populist demonstrations were visited and documented to better understand the circumstances of the events.

Since late 2014, Germany faces an increasing appearance of right-wing populist tendencies. Sympathizers organise in groups, many of them belonging to the PEGIDA-movement. In weekly marches, they demonstrate, for example, for the protection of Christian values, European culture and more restrictive immigration rules. Along with this goes a strong criticism of the so-called “Lügenpresse” (lying press), claiming that mainstream-media intentionally report untruthfully, especially on issues like migration and on the right-populist movement itself. Time and time again, journalists attending the events in their professional role faced not only severe insults, but also physical violence against them or their equipment.

The most important result: “An increasing part of society does not consider journalists as neutral, but as part of the concept of the enemy, consisting also of the recent government and the multicultural society”, says Martin Hoffmann, head of the fact finding mission and researcher at the ECPMF. All journalists openly attending right-wing populist demonstrations in their professional role are at risk. “This is a new quality of danger”, states Hoffmann.

A story-telling map shows that the attacks spread all over the country, but concentrate on the German federal state Saxony. The chronicle also demonstrates a temporal correlation of the attacks and the rise of the PEGIDA-movement. “Records of the attacks are incomplete. The police did not record the cases separately, but there is also a lack of documentation of the attacks through photos or video footage.”
Therefore the ECPMF calls for support: Journalists who were attacked or threatened within the context of right-wing populist events in Germany or whose property was damaged, can contact (also anonymously) the centre via the ECPMF Reporting Point on the website http://www.ecpmf.eu. The Reporting Point was established to record and investigate breaches of media freedom and provides a secure data transmission.

At the same time the ECPMF calls upon German security services to better protect journalists and investigate the attacks on colleagues. The ECPMF fact finding mission shows that press freedom in Germany stands at a crossroad with the increasing number of incidents. Although courageous journalists continue to report despite the threats, the police and security services are overtaxed with the situation. “Journalists are still endangered at demonstrations. The police operates at its limits – and therefore not in the way the current situation requires”, deduces the ECPMF investigation.

The full report, all interviews, for example with Andreas Loepki (head of Leipzig police department), Michael Hiller (manager German Journalists’ Union (DJV), regional unit Saxony), Helmut Schümann (journalist, Der Tagesspiegel) and Vera Lengsfeld (civil rights activist) as well as the map/chronicle with all incidents can be found at: http://ecpmf.eu/news/ecpmf/pegida
For interview enquiries, please contact the ECPMF press office.

Michelle Trimborn, PR & Communications Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 341 200 403 -15
E-mail: press@ecpmf.eu

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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 “Golden Dove” for the best documentary of a talented newcomer at the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (formerly known as “Talent Dove”), 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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European Centre for Press and Media Freedom

It was at the Leipzig Media Congress, held by the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation in October of 2010 on the 10th anniversary of the creation of its Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media, that Hans-Ulrich Jörges, Co-Editor of STERN magazine and Editor in Chief for Special Affairs of Gruner + Jahr, introduced the idea of creating a European Centre for the Freedom of the Press to the public for the first time. In 2009, Jörges had already initiated the European Charter on Freedom of the Press, signed by 48 editors in chief and other influential journalists from 19 countries. The next step, creating a Centre for Freedom of the Press, was a means of putting this charter into practice.

Leipzig was the heart of the Peaceful Revolution in Eastern Germany where, in the fall of 1989, tens of thousands of GDR citizens protested state power and made many demands, among them the demand for freedom of the media. Now Leipzig seems to be the perfect place to continue, with its Media Foundation that has already promoted freedom of the press for years. The Media Foundation builds on the spirit of that autumn in 1989, and has funded the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media since 2001.

Pressekonferenz_Brüssel_30.06.2015 (European Parliament)

Visit of ECPMF project partners at the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, in Brussels (from left to right): Dr Lutz Mükke (Project Coordinator ECPMF), Hans-Ulrich Jörges (Gruner+Jahr), Maria Laura Franciosi (Ossigeno per l’Informazione), Martin Schulz (European Parliament), Luisa Chiodi (Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso), Dr Harald Langenfeld (Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig), Margo Smit (VVOJ), Ides Debruyne (Journalismfund.eu), Stephan Seeger (Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig). Picture: EU-Parliament

Immediately after the 2010 Media Congress, we began working on a concept to serve as the basis for a search for new project supporters. Our tasks included identifying the legal entity that would guarantee the centre the maximum degree of independence and manoeuvrability. The board was eventually able to find a partner with expertise in EU law who was prepared to work with the project pro bono until its official foundation. This partner was the law firm CMS Hasche Sigle. They found the European Cooperative Society (SCE) model to be the most suitable legal form for the project, and set about creating draft statutes based on the Centre’s intended goals.

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF for short) seeks to provide those who defend the freedom of the press and the media in Europe with a voice that will be heard. The Centre’s core tasks are to bring European media freedom initiatives and actors together under one roof and to coordinate their activities. Thanks both to its diverse member base from all across Europe and its team in Leipzig, the ECPMF is able to document instances in which the freedom of the press has been violated and journalists persecuted, and to inform both the public and those with the power to make political decisions of relevant ongoing conflict and imminent danger in Europe.

One important step was winning the support of EU institutions in order to establish the project as a European initiative. Hans-Ulrich Jörges; Christoph Keese, Senior Vice President for Investor Relations and Public Affairs at Axel Springer SE; and Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation found an extraordinary advocate in Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament. In discussions with other members of the Parliament, including Vice President Alexander Graf Lambsdorff and Elmar Brok, Head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, we were able to form an alliance of supporters spanning all political parties. Finally, in its consultations, the Parliament approved a budget of one million euros to found the Centre.

On the condition that the project would receive EU funding, the Free State of Saxony and the City of Leipzig also declared their willingness to provide financial support. With the additional financial commitment of the Sparkasse Media Foundation, all of the necessary steps could be taken. Ultimately, we were able to create a detailed project plan that would allow us to submit an application to the European Commission and to seek the support of European journalistic organizations, institutions, and associations that promote issues concerning the freedom of the press. To do so, further expert input was needed.

We searched for a suitable project manager and found Dr Lutz Mükke. He was already familiar with the foundation, having been its first Ph.D. scholarship fellow. Dr Mükke began a rewarding search for project partners across Europe. At the same time, our attention was focused on developing a detailed draft concept. In addition to the Free State of Saxony, the City of Leipzig, and the Media Foundation, we also gained the support of the Federal Foreign Ministry. In October 2013 we were able to submit the application to the European Commission on time.

Sadly, to the great disappointment of everyone involved, including the members of the European Parliament themselves, the European Commission did not select the 2013 application. Instead of funding a single Centre, they decided to support several projects and organizations. Nevertheless, following the Board’s recommendation and explicitly encouraged by both the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and the other supporting members of the Parliament, the Media Foundation Council decided to stick to the plan and submit a new application in 2014. There was a new call for project participants and we restructured the concept before submitting it in a new application to the Commission.

In March 2015, we finally received the message from the European Commission in Brussels saying that the Media Foundation had won the bid and had been selected as leading partner, together with partners from three other European countries, to form the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. The other partners were Journalismfund.eu from Belgium; the Institute for European Media Law from Germany; Ossigeno per l’Informazione and Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, both from Italy; and the South East Europe Media Organization, or SEEMO, from Austria.

The founding assembly of this European Cooperative Society (SCE) and the election of the members of the Board and Supervisory Board took place in Leipzig on 24 June, 2015.

The list of founding members includes representatives from more than 20 European journalistic organizations, media companies, and trade unions, as well as media experts and lawyers from all over Europe. The legal entity of the European Cooperative Society guarantees the Centre’s validity in all 28 EU member states and a maximum degree of independence from government institutions. At the same time, it enables the direct participation of affiliated organizations and initiatives in the Centre’s work. This cooperation can be seen in many places, including in the bodies of the ECPMF. Both the Board and the Supervisory Board count a number of representatives from important European freedom of the press initiatives among their members. The Centre’s operations are coordinated in Leipzig at the Media Campus Villa Ida, the seat of the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation.

After having played such a decisive role in developing, planning, promoting, and financing this project, the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation has now decided to pursue its inclusion in the register of cooperative societies and attain full legal capacity to act, thus becoming a completely independent and autonomous institution. The foundation will always support the ECPMF to the best of its ability. The foundation would like to thank CMS Hasche Sigle law firm, BDO auditing company, certified public accountant and tax consultant Hartwig Künckeler, and German Cooperative Union in Frankfurt for having offered their expertise and generous support.

Stephan Seeger
Managing Director of the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation
Director Foundations of Sparkasse Leipzig

Further information: www.ecpmf.eu and twitter.com/ECPMF

ECPMF members

  • Galina Arapova, Director of Mass Media Defence Centre (MMDC), Russia
  • Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard, President of European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
  • Federica Delogu, journalist at Ossigeno per l’informazione, Italy
  • Vesselin Dimitrov, Deputy Editor in Chief of Forbes Bulgaria
  • Jodie Ginsberg, Chief Executive of Index on Censorship, UK
  • Nadine Gogu, Executive Director of Independent Journalism Center, Moldavia
  • Esad Hećimović, investigative reporter and editor of OBN TV Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Hans-Ulrich Jörges, Co-Editor of STERN magazine and Editor in Chief for Special Affairs of Gruner + Jahr, Germany
  • Henrik Kaufholz, Co-founder and Manager of SCOOP, Denmark
  • Christoph Keese, Senior Vice President of Axel Springer SE, Germany
  • Dr Harald Langenfeld, Chairman of Sparkasse Leipzig and Media Foundation, Germany
  • Gavin MacFadyen, Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, University of London, UK
  • Răzvan Cristian Martin, Coordinator of the FreeEx Program at ActiveWatch, Romania
  • Anthony McNicholas, Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, University of Westminster, UK
  • Kerstin Mey, Dean of Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, University of Westminster, UK
  • Dr Helga Montag, Member of the Board of Journalisten helfen Journalisten association, Germany
  • Dr Lutz Mükke, General Manager of ECPMF
  • Balázs Nagy Navarro, independent journalist, Hungary
  • Peter Noorlander, CEO of Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI)
  • Professor Stephan Ory, Director of Institute for European Media Law (EMR), Germany
  • Dr Georgios Pleios, Professor and Head of Communication and Media Studies Department at National and Kapodistrian University Athens, Greece
  • Vladimir Radomirovic, Editor in Chief of Pištaljka, Serbia
  • Renate Schröder, Director of European Federation of Journalists
  • Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of Media Foundation, Germany
  • Naser Selmani, Director of Association of Journalists of Macedonia, Macedonia
  • Ljiljana Smajlović, President of Journalists’ Association of Serbia, Serbia
  • Trine Smistrup, Project Manager, Journalismfund, Belgium
  • Margo Smit, independent investigative journalist, ombudswoman at public radio NOS, the Netherlands (former Director of Dutch-Flemish Association of Investigative Journalists (VVOJ))
  • Martin Stoll, President of Öffentlichkeitsgesetz.ch, Switzerland
  • Dr Dirk Voorhoof, Professor for International Media Law, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Oliver Vujovic, Secretary General of SEEMO, Austria
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Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig

Menckestraße 27
D-04155 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 – 5629 661
Fax: +49 341 – 5629 663

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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.

“Media Campus Villa Ida” is home of the “Leipzig School of Media” (LSoM), a subsidiary of the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig. In cooperation with local universities, the LSoM offers part-time master courses for media professionals. www.leipzigschoolofmedia.de

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.

Hotel Michaelis Leipzig runs our “Restaurant Campus” and is the exclusive partner for the catering of every event at “Media Campus”.

Media Campus Villa Ida
Hotel Michaelis

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