Press release 10 May, 2016: Centre for Press Freedom: “The strength lies in the pan-European network”

Press release on the occasion of the Deutscher StiftungsTag in Leipzig and of Medientreffpunkt Mitteldeutschland

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (founded in 2015) receives more funding from EU Commission

Leipzig, 10 Mai, 2016. This year’s May, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, decisively initiated and developed by the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, celebrates its first anniversary. With the foundation of the ECPMF, press and media freedom in Europe has got a strong voice based in Leipzig. Core objective of the Centre is to link European initiatives and actors on media freedom and to assist in the coordination of their activities in order to jointly strengthen the freedom of press in Europe. “The Centre’s strength lies in the pan-European network and in the cooperation of highly qualified partners”, says Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of Media Foundation and member of the Board of ECPMF. Read more …

10.05.2016


Universität Leipzig und LSoM beglückwünschen bei gemeinsamer Feier mehr als 50 Absolventen

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

19.04.2016


Press release 24 February, 2016: Journalism with “vivid convictions”

Axel Eggebrecht Award 2016 goes to radio feature author Margot Overath

Leipzig, 24 February 2016. The Axel Eggebrecht Prize 2016, sponsored by Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation and endowed with 10,000 euros, will go to radio feature author Margot Overath. The award ceremony will be held during the Media Foundation’s summer party on 30 August, 2016 in Leipzig.

“We congratulate Margot Overath on winning the Axel Eggebrecht Prize and express our gratitude to jury chairman Richard Goll as well as the jury members Linde Rotta, Ulrike Toma, Aldo Gardini and Jens Jarisch for their outstanding decision. They made an excellent choice from a list of ten strong competitors, that had been proposed by the heads of programming of almost all public broadcasters in Germany and Austria,” said Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Leipzig Sparkasse Foundations, when commenting on the jury’s decision. Read more …

24.02.2016


Press release 17 February, 2016: Erich Loest’s 90th birthday: Remembering a powerful writer

Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig announces Erich Loest Prize

Leipzig, 17 February, 2016. Erich Loest would have turned 90 on 24 February, 2016. Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig is taking this as an opportunity to announce the

Erich Loest Prize

The prize will be awarded for the first time on 24 February 2017 and then every two years; it is endowed with 10,000 euros.

Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of Media Foundation, explained: “With this decision, the Foundation Board and the Foundation Council honour a powerful writer, an intellectual interested in social policy, a constant admonisher, when the depths of German and East-West German history threatened to sink into oblivion, and an avowed citizen of Leipzig, who was always wholeheartedly interested in the fate of his city.” Read more …

17.02.2016


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

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

09.12.2015


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 “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

Press release 10 May, 2016: Centre for Press Freedom: “The strength lies in the pan-European network”

Press release on the occasion of the Deutscher StiftungsTag in Leipzig and of Medientreffpunkt Mitteldeutschland

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (founded in 2015) receives more funding from EU Commission

Leipzig, 10 Mai, 2016. This year’s May, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, decisively initiated and developed by the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, celebrates its first anniversary. With the foundation of the ECPMF, press and media freedom in Europe has got a strong voice based in Leipzig. Core objective of the Centre is to link European initiatives and actors on media freedom and to assist in the coordination of their activities in order to jointly strengthen the freedom of press in Europe. “The Centre’s strength lies in the pan-European network and in the cooperation of highly qualified partners”, says Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of Media Foundation and member of the Board of ECPMF.

Since its foundation in 2015, ECPMF has initiated and realised numerous projects. “Through its successful work the Centre has established itself”, Jane Whyatt, Project Manager of ECPMF, assesses. “Among many other activities, we have, for example, performed several studies on the situation of press freedom in Hungary, Germany and Poland. And we do not just leave it at only observe the situation: In April, we addressed the Hungarian government via their embassies with a Europe-wide letter campaign. And during the following weeks we will discuss the developments in Poland with experts from Wroclaw and Paris.” In the course of his investigations on the “Lügenpresse-Bewegung” (“lying press movement”) and attacks on journalists in Germany, Martin Hoffmann, member of ECPMF staff and scholarship holder of Media Foundation, was invited as an expert for technical discussions at the Committee of Culture and Media of the German Bundestag and Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger (Federation of German Newspaper Publishers).

During the first project year, ECPMF was also able to establish the so called “Resource Centre”. It is a steadily growing online database which connects and classifies content about issues of media freedom and which should become a contact point for everyone who is interested in the situation of press freedom in Europe (Resource Centre can be found here).

ECPMF gives special attention to the commitment for threatened journalists: “Our ‘Journalist in Residence’ program which gives refuge to media professionals in danger, has now started”, says Jane Whyatt. Additionally representatives of ECPMF supported endangered journalists and partners in Turkey. On the occasion of the “World Press Freedom Day”, ECPMF staff members presented the Centre at UNESCO World Conference in Helsinki. The successful commitment of ECMPF in the first year of its existence led to the decision of the EU Commission from beginning 2016 to keep on funding the Centre.

Long running-up for the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom
The beginnings of the ECPMF date back into the year 2010. At the Leipzig Media Congress, held by the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation on the 10th award ceremony of its “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”, 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 in Leipzig. His idea was immediately adopted by the Media Foundation: “Leipzig as the heart of the Peaceful Revolution in Eastern Germany seemed to be the perfect place: our Foundation has already promoted press freedom for years”, says Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of Media Foundation.

In 2011, the working on a concept to serve as the basis for a search for new project supporters began. Main tasks included identifying the legal entity that would guarantee the Centre the maximum degree of independence and manoeuvrability. The law firm CMS Hasche Sigle, which worked with the project pro bono until its official foundation, found the European Cooperative Society (SCE) model to be the most suitable legal form for the project. “Once all the conditions for registration of the cooperative into the German register of cooperative societies, the legal ownership passes over from the Media Foundation of Sparkasse on the cooperative,” says Stephan Seeger.

Support from many sides
To win the support of EU institutions in order to establish the project as a European initiative was the most important step. Hans-Ulrich Jörges; Christoph Keese (Senior Vice President for Investor Relations and Public Affairs at Axel Springer SE); and Stephan Seeger for the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation found an extraordinary advocate in Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and other members of the European Parliament including Vice President Alexander Graf Lambsdorff and Elmar Brok, Head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

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 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. In addition to other supporters, the German Federal Foreign Ministry also contributed to the project.

Funding approval by the EU Commission
In March 2015, the European Commission in Brussels approved that the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig had won the bid and had been selected as leading partner, together with partners from three other European countries (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), to form the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. Henrik Kaufholz, head of the Board of ECPMF, journalist of the Danish daily Politiken and cofounder of the investigative network SCOOP about the establishment of the Centre: “The work on our project has shown that there is a real need for our idea: to unite the actors of media freedom throughout Europe”.

The establishment was completed on 24 Juni, 2015, in Leipzig. Among the Board and the Supervisory Board of the ECMPF are representatives from more than 20 European publishing companies, journalists’ organisations and universities. The work of the Centre will be coordinated at its seat at Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig’s Media Campus Villa Ida.

About the Foundation
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. Among the laureates are Seymour Hersh, Anna Politkovskaya, The Guardian and many more. (More about the laureates can be found here). Beside other awards, Media Foundation supports young media professionals through scholarships or the part-time Master courses at its Leipzig School of Media (LSoM). All Foundations of Sparkasse Leipzig (Media Foundation, Leipziger Land Culture and Environment Foundation, Sparkasse Foundation for the Torgau-Oschatz region) as well as LSoM and ECPMF are based at the Media Campus Villa Ida in Leipzig’s district of Gohlis.

More information at:
https://ecpmf.eu/
http://www.mediencampus-villa-ida.de/ http://www.leipzigschoolofmedia.de/
http://www.kultur-und-umweltstiftung.de/
http://www.stiftung-torgau-oschatz.de/

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Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media

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.

For further information concerning the Laureates klick here.

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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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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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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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