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Respekt: Media freedom and responsibility in the age of terrorism of global reach

The murder of Theo van Gogh and bombings in Madrid and London ought to remind Europeans of a truly inconvenient truth: although many of us would like to pretend that the
“War on Terrorism” is an invention of the White House, its battles are being fought worldwide. How should the European media report on a war that is as unpopular as it is real? Watch live broadcast on ČT24 from 10 - 12 am and 1 to 3 pm.

The murder of Theo van Gogh and bombings in Madrid and London ought to remind Europeans of a truly inconvenient truth: although many of us would like to pretend that the

“War on Terrorism” is an invention of the White House, its battles are being fought worldwide. How should the European media report on a war that is as unpopular as it is real?

The conference “Respekt: Media Freedom and responsibility in the Age of Terrorism of the Global Reach” wants to give reporters, security experts and academics the chance to consider some of the most complex issues of the War on Terrorism.

Do we have a common language to define and describe various types of terrorist activities? How should one distinguish between Muslims and “radical Islamists?” How the civil society in the Middle East, including the media, responds to terrorism? Are there any conspiracy

theories circulating in the Western media that give ideological ammunition to terrorists? Are there efficient measures that can be used to counter successful propaganda of terrorist networks?

Western civilization is not fighting only the war on terrorism, but it is also struggling to defend its own principles. We will be looking at the principle of the freedom of the media, and examining the circumstances when it's legitimate to curtail them. Is media freedom and

security of our civilization in contradiction in the Age of War on Terrorism?

The conference will try to address these issues from different perspectives. The first panel is constructed as discussion among experts on Islamic world, media and security and their perspective on western media reporting on it. Does the perspective on media freedom and security change when it moves to Central Europe? To answer this question will be the task for experts and journalists from Central Europe. Both perspectives will be confronted in the third session when the experts of both previous panels join the audience for discussion.

Project was financially supported by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Czech Republic.

Conference Programme

Date: November 30th, 2007

Time: 10:00 until 17:30

Venue: The New York University in Prague, Male namesti 11, Prague 1

Sponsors/Organisers: Respekt o. p. s., New York University in Prague, Forum 2000

Languages: Czech, English (both simultaneously translated)

Session 1 (10:00 – 12:00)

Authoritarianism, civil society and democracy in the Middle East.

Ressentiment and conspiracy theories in Anti-Americanism.

The principle of the freedom of the media. Are there circumstances when it's legitimate to curtail them?

Farhad Kazemi, New York University, New York (US)

Husain Haqqani, Boston University, Massachusetts (US)

Chandler Rosenberger, Boston University, Massachusetts (US)

Richard Danbury, BBC, Fellow at the Reuters Institute, Oxford University (GB)

Moderator: Jiri Schneider , Prague Security Studies Institute

Lunch break (12:00 – 13.00)

Session 2 (13:00 – 15:00)

Freedom or security? Are they in conflict?

Why should we train Iraqi journalists? A project of People in Need.

Is Europe capable of defending the freedom of the media? The influence of terrorism on freedom of the media in different Euroepan countries.

Media in the Middle East and incitement to the violence.

Tomas Vrba, New York University in Prague

Jan Urban, New York University in Prague

Jan Ruml, Respekt Publishing

Bretislav Turecek, Czech Public Radio

Moderator: Jan Machacek, Hospodarske noviny Daily

Coffee Break (15:00 – 15:20)

Session 3 (15:20 – 17:30)

Covering terrorism: The media’s responsibility in reporting on militant Islam.

Guest Speaker Joyce M. Davis, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty

Join session of all panellists.

Moderator: Jiri Pehe, New York University in Prague

Closing Remarks 17:30

For registration please contact: [email protected], Jan Kurka +420 773 119 995.

Participant List with Short Credentials:

Joyce M. Davis, currently Associate Director of Broadcasting for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, will soon end four years of service to U.S. international broadcasting based in Prague. She will return to the United States to accept a position as Senior Vice President of WITF, Inc., a multiple media center in Pennsylvania's capital of Harrisburg. Ms. Davis will supervise television, radio, internet and print services that are part of the U.S. public broadcasting network. In her position with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Ms. Davis supervised broadcast and internet services to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Central Asia. She has significant expertise in Islamic movements and is the author of many articles and two books in the subject. Her latest book is enttiled „Martys: Innocence, Vengeance and Despair in the Middle East.“ Ms. Davis is beginning research on a third book that will look at solutions to the current divide between the Islamic world and the West. Ms. Davis has more than three decades of experience as a columnist, reporter and editor in print and broadcast.

Richard Danbury, BBC TV producer, Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism,

Oxford University.

Husain Haqqani, Director of the Center for International Relations and Professor at Boston

University. He is Co-Chair of the Hudson Institute's Project on the Future of the Muslim World as well as editor of the journal ‘Current Trends in Islamist Thought' published in Washington DC. He is a former adviser to three former Pakistani Prime Ministers.

Farhad Kazemi, Professor of Politics and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University. A leading scholar on issues of the Middle East, Professor Kazemi is a member of the Advisory Group for Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World. He has also served as President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America and of the Society for Iranian Studies, and is a member of the

Council on Foreign Relations.

Chandler Rosenberger has written about post-Communist Central Europe for scholarly journals and for such publications as Critical Review, National Review, World Policy Journal, and The Wall Street Journal. He is now writing a biography of former Czech dissident and president, Václav Havel, for Pearson/Longman Publishers. Professor Rosenberger is a Fellow of the Centre for International Relations at Boston University.

Jan Ruml, former Minister of Interior of the Czech Republic and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Respekt Publishing a.s.

Bretislav Turecek is working for the Czech Public Radio. Since January 2008 he will be assigned to Jerusalem as a correspondent for the Middle East region. As a journalists working for the daily Pravo since 1997 he has been following the Israeli /Palestinian conflict as well as he has focused on Pakistan and Afganistan. He has appeared on BBC Czech Radio and Czech TV and has been contributing to other leading magazines as Reflex and Respekt. Bretislav Turecek is an author of a book “Lights and Shadow of Islam”.

Jan Urban, professor at New York University in Prague. He has recently worked on several projects in Iraq training journalists and working on building reconciliation measures through the reconstruction of cultural heritage sites. Jan Urban is author of three books, two of them on the war in Bosnia and one on a major corruption case in the Czech Republic.

Tomas Vrba, professor at New York University in Prague. He was a member of the board of the Czech chapter of Transparency International until 2002. He is a former Vice president of the Association of European Journalists and a former Chair of the Czech News Agency Council (CTK), since 2007 he serves as a President of the Board of Directors, Forum 2000.

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