Press release 5 November, 2016: A deaf, Georgian “Billy Elliot”

Mariam Chachia wins the 2016 “Next Masters Competition” and the Media Foundation’s Golden Dove at DOK Leipzig

Leipzig, 5 November, 2016. The Georgian filmmaker Mariam Chachia wins the “Next Masters Competition” at the 59th DOK Leipzig, along with the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation’s Golden Dove, which is endowed with 10,000 Euros. Her film “Listen to the Silence” beat ten other international productions in this competition. Its world premiere was held in Leipzig.

Preisträgerin Mariam Chachia (Foto: DOK Leipzig 2016/ Maiju Saari)

Laureate Mariam Chachia (Picture: DOK Leipzig 2016/ Maiju Saari)

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06.11.2016


Solidarity address of the laureates of Leipzig Media Award with Turkish journalists

Because of the current situation in Turkey, the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig has initiated a solidarity address of the laureates of the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media for their Turkish colleagues. On 7 October, 2016, this solidarity address was published on the occasion of the awarding of the Prize to Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. The list of signatories is constantly being expanded.

Solidarity address

We, the laureates of the Leipzig “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” subscribing this resolution, strongly condemn the persecution of Turkish journalists, columnists and authors Ahmet Altan, Nedim Şener, Erdem Gül and Can Dündar, the endangerment of the independent work of hundreds of other Turkish journalists, and the continuing restriction of freedom of expression, media and press in Turkey.These four journalists, everyone himself a laureate of the Leipzig “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”, are exemplary for the massive action of the Turkish state against media and journalists critical against the government both before and after the failed coup d’état in July 2016. Read more …

01.11.2016


Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media 2016 – Impressions

On 7 October, 2016, Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig awarded its Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media to Turkish journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. Can Dündar personally received the award in Leipzig. However, Erdem Gül was prevented from leaving Turkey by Turkish authorities.

Impression of award ceremony and press conference

(all pictures: Media Foundation/ Anna Lena Kreft)

From left to right: Stephan Seeger (Managing Director of Media Foundation), laudator archbishop Dr Heiner Koch (Berlin), Burkhard Jung (Lord Mayor of Leipzig), laureate Can Dündar and Dr Harald Langenfeld (CEO of Media Foundation and Sparkasse Leipzig).

Dr Harald Langenfeld welcomes the guests of the award ceremony.

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21.10.2016


Feierliche Immatrikulation: Leipzig School of Media begrüßt neue Studierende

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

21.10.2016


Press release 7 October, 2016: Reveal the truth

Turkish journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül receive the 2016 Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media

Leipzig, 7 October 2016. The Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation honored Turkish journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül with the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media on the evening of 7 October 2016. Every year, the award honors journalists, media representatives and institutions who dedicate themselves with courage and exceptional commitment to protecting the freedom of the press; it is bestowed together with a total of 30,000 euros. Can Dündar received the award in person, although Erdem Gül had been denied permission to leave Turkey after his passport was withdrawn. Read more …

07.10.2016


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 5 November, 2016: A deaf, Georgian “Billy Elliot”

Mariam Chachia wins the 2016 “Next Masters Competition” and the Media Foundation’s Golden Dove at DOK Leipzig

Leipzig, 5 November, 2016. The Georgian filmmaker Mariam Chachia wins the “Next Masters Competition” at the 59th DOK Leipzig, along with the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation’s Golden Dove, which is endowed with 10,000 Euros. Her film “Listen to the Silence” beat ten other international productions in this competition. Its world premiere was held in Leipzig.

Preisträgerin Mariam Chachia (Foto: DOK Leipzig 2016/ Maiju Saari)

Laureate Mariam Chachia (Picture: DOK Leipzig 2016/ Maiju Saari)

Winners of the “Next Masters Competition” receive 10,000 Euros in prize money; this is provided by the Media Foundation and is intended to help fund the award winner’s next project. Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Media Foundation and Director of the Sparkasse Leipzig Foundations, congratulated the Georgian filmmaker: “Her production is the perfect example of what a documentary can do: It brings us up close to a remarkable person who has to master the challenges of life in an unlikely place. As we watch the film, the skilful use of cinematic means leaves us empathizing with its protagonist.”

Renowned Russian director and producer Marina Razbezhkina, who was the juror of this year’s “Next Masters Competition”, explained that Mariam Chachia was receiving the honour “for her belief in the fact that a person can change their world from within themselves, even if life is cruel to them.” The Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation has supported DOK Leipzig since 2004 by providing prize money for exceptional films by new artists.

A brief summary of “Listen to the Silence”: The film takes the viewer to a school for deaf children in Tbilisi, where they also learn to dance. Mariam Chachia focuses mainly on the ups and downs of a boy called Luka, a deaf “Billy Elliot” with the temperament of a hurricane. The viewer experiences the school, its children, their dance lessons, quarrels, a little love story – and all of this is perceived from an unusual perspective, such as when the sounds of life fade into a woolly nothingness in the film just like they do for the children.

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Laureates 2012: Balázs Nagy Navarro and Aranka Szávuly

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Photo: Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig

The two Hungarian journalists Balázs Nagy Navarro and Aranka Szávuly are vice-presidents of the Independent Trade Union of television and film makers in Hungary and, until recently, were editors at public Hungarian television “MTV”.

On 10 December 2011, after a scandalous blurring out of Zoltan Lomnici, the former head of the Hungarian Supreme Court, in public television news, Nagy Navarro and Szávuly initiated a three-week hunger strike protesting against news manipulation by pro-government responsibles of the channel. On the 17th day of the hunger strike, Nagy Navarro and Szávuly were dismissed illegally. After their dismissal they were not allowed to enter the public media buildings despite their rights as trade union leaders. Half a year later, Nagy Navarro was allowed by court order to pick up his personal belongings from the building.

With the entry into force of the internationally controversial Hungarian media law in January 2011, the leading positions of public broadcasting have been filled with cadres close to the ruling party FIDESZ. These people abuse their powerful positions to manipulate news information almost daily, say numerous employees of the stations.

In order to protest against these practices, Nagy Navarro and Szávuly started a hunger strike on 10 December 2011, which continued until 31 December. Shortly before, both editors were dismissed, although they enjoy protection from dismissal as trade unionists. Since their public protest, Nagy Navarro and Szávuly are often defamed or criticized by FIDESZ-controlled media outlets. When asked about his commitment, Nagy Navarro said: “I must always remember, that elsewhere people are risking their lives for civil rights. I am only risking my job.”

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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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