Deniz Yücel and Asli Erdoğan will be awarded the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig’s “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” 2017
Leipzig, 6 July 2017. The German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel and Turkish journalist Asli Erdoğan will be honoured together this year with the Leipzig “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”, which is endowed with 30,000 euros. Following Ahmet Altan (2009), Nedim Şener (2015) and Can Dündar & Erdem Gül (2016), the choice of Deniz Yücel and Asli Erdoğan means the award will once again go to journalists threatened or already incarcerated by Turkey’s judiciary under President Erdoğan. By selecting these award winners, the Media Foundation aims to demonstrate solidarity with all journalists who face wide-scale repression in Turkey for advocating the right to report freely. Read more …
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”).Diese Seite ausdrucken
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:
Discover these areas by visiting the related web pages and learn more about the funding spectrum of the Media Foundation.Diese Seite ausdrucken
Press release 6 July, 2017: A symbol of solidarity – Two more Turks honoured with Leipzig’s freedom of the press award
Deniz Yücel and Asli Erdoğan will be awarded the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig’s “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” 2017
Leipzig, 6 July 2017. The German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel and Turkish journalist Asli Erdoğan will be honoured together this year with the Leipzig “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”, which is endowed with 30,000 euros. Following Ahmet Altan (2009), Nedim Şener (2015) and Can Dündar & Erdem Gül (2016), the choice of Deniz Yücel and Asli Erdoğan means the award will once again go to journalists threatened or already incarcerated by Turkey’s judiciary under President Erdoğan. By selecting these award winners, the Media Foundation aims to demonstrate solidarity with all journalists who face wide-scale repression in Turkey for advocating the right to report freely.
“The awarding of our prize to Deniz Yücel and Asli Erdoğan is linked to a promise to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who is taking part in the G20 Summit in Germany. He and his government can no more get rid of the demand for a return to press freedom and the release of arbitrarily arrested journalists than they can escape the responsibility for their political actions, for which they will some day be accountable”, explains Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig.
“A famous poem by theologian Martin Niemöller ends with the line: ‘Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me’. With this in mind, the media prize jury stresses that we will not simply get used to the persecution of journalists in Turkey,” stresses Seeger. “With Deniz Yücel and Asli Erdoğan, we honour two journalists who go about their work with conviction and tenacity, who are serious about the original promise of democracy in the Republic of Turkey, and whose critical reporting has resulted in their persecution by that same republic.”
“We very much welcome the choice of the laureates,” says Lutz Kinkel, Managing Director of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom in Leipzig. “President Erdoğan is trampling on the European Charter on Freedom of the Press and is moving further and further away from the Europe’s democratic consensus. The Turkish judiciary is trying to silence oppositional voices with ambiguous legal paragraphs. Deniz Yücel is one of more than 150 journalists in jail. We must make it clear to President Erdoğan: journalism is not a crime.”
Statements by former award winners can be found here. The award ceremony takes places in Leipzig on 6 October 2017.
About the laureates:
was born in 1973 in Flörsheim am Main and has German and Turkish citizenship. He began studying political science at the Free University Berlin in 1996. From 1999, he worked as a freelance writer for media such as Tagesspiegel, taz, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Der Standard as well as German broadcasters BR, NDR and WDR. He was an editor at taz from 2007 until 2015. Since 2015, Deniz Yücel has been the Turkey correspondent at the WeltN24 group. His work has repeatedly brought him into conflict with the Turkish authorities. Yücel was arrested again on 25 December 2016. He has been accused of carrying out “propaganda for a terrorist organisation and inciting violence”: He had reported on hacked emails from the account of Berat Albayrak – the Turkish energy minister and son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – which suggested corruption. After an arrest warrant was issued, Yücel voluntarily gave himself up to the police in February 2017. In March 2017, a judge ordered that he be remanded in custody. Now Yücel is charged with offences related to terrorist propaganda because he conducted an interview with the PKK leader Cemil Bayik. His criminal prosecution is viewed as politically motivated.
was born in 1967 in Istanbul. She began studying computer science and physics at Bosphorus University in 1983, then worked at the Faculty of Physics at the same university and also at CERN in Geneva. She wrote her first novella in 1990, while her first novel, Mucizevi Mandarin (Miraculous Mandarin), was published in 1996. She then focused on her work as an author. Her breakthrough as a writer came in 1998 with her third book, Kırmızı Pelerinli Kent (The City in a Crimson Cloak). From 1998 until 2001, she wrote columns for the left-liberal Turkish daily Radikal and reported on conditions in Turkish prisons, on violence against women and on state repression against Kurds. In addition, she worked on the PEN Writers in Prison Committee. In 2010, her novel Taş Bina ve Diğerleri (The Stone Building and Other Places) earned her the Sait Faik Award, Turkey’s most important literary prize. In the more recent years, scholarships took her to cities such as Zurich and Graz, and later she worked for the Turkish-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem. On 16 August 2016 Asli Erdoğan was detained during a series of arrests at Özgür Gündem after prosecutors ordered the newspaper’s closure. Erdoğan has been charged with “propaganda for an illegal organisation”, “membership of an illegal organisation” and “incitement”. Her articles and columns have been used as evidence. In November 2016, the public prosecutor demanded lifelong imprisonment for the author, and the trial began on 29 December 2016.
On the first day of the trial, the judge ordered her release from custody for health reasons. The trial continued and she was banned from leaving the country, although this ban was lifted for the time being in June 2017.
About the Leipzig Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media:
Every year since 2001, the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation has awarded its “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” to honour journalists, publishers, and institutions that have demonstrated great personal commitment to ensuring the freedom and future of the media. The award is also intended to commemorate the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig on 9 October 1989, during which protesters demanded “free press for a free country”.
The Peaceful Revolution in the former GDR began in 1989 in Leipzig. People gathered together to pray at St. Nicholas Church, then protested in the streets by tens of thousands. The courageous citizens of this city effectively defied state authority, demanding – not least of all – freedom of expression and the press. Much like the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig with all of its sponsorship activities, the “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”, first awarded in 2001, stands in the tradition of the Peaceful Revolution.
The Leipzig Media Prize is expressly not about a bold and daring feat of journalism or an exceptional piece of journalistic work. The prize is intended for distinguished journalists, publishers and media institutions from around the world that are committed to the cause of protecting and expanding freedom of the press, and in doing so display a willingness to take risks, great personal commitment, persistence, courage and a firm belief in democracy. The list of prizewinners from the last years clearly demonstrates what the prize is about.
Ruling elites in many countries around the world use dubious media laws, pressure on journalists and publishers, paternalism in radio and television, and state censorship as instruments of power. But also processes of economic concentration and self-censorship endanger the plurality of expression and are an obstacle to independent reporting. Journalists themselves bow to the dictates of shareholders and compromise their credibility by publishing too quickly.
The previous prizewinners resisted these threats and temptations.
It is the aim of the Leipzig Media Foundation to embolden the spirits of them and others.Diese Seite ausdrucken
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.
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.
Managing Director of the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation
Director Foundations of Sparkasse Leipzig
Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig
Phone: +49 341 – 5629 661
Fax: +49 341 – 5629 663
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”.Diese Seite ausdrucken