First Annual TLN Conference on Freedom of the Media

Washington, D.C.
June 21-22, 2022

“It’s our duty as journalists to shine light into the dark recesses of government secrecy.”

- Society of Professional Journalists

Agenda

Monday, June 21

Washington, D.C.

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Registration & Light Breakfast

9:00 a.m.
Welcoming remarks

9:30 a.m.
Keynote addresses

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
The Phenomenon of Fake News and its Ramifications in the Digital Age

The immediate and international availability of information in the digital age allows those that spread falsehoods and misinformation to have a far-reaching impact. Fabricated stories posing as credible information are unlikely to go away. Even as awareness of fake news and its negative impact increases, the public remains ill-equipped to separate fact from fiction. This panel will examine fake news from an international perspective, particularly how technology in the digital age allows its spread across national borders, and how best to identify and combat misinformation.

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Social Media’s Role in Delivering News

According to the Pew Research Center, most Americans are highly concerned about the quality and fairness of news on social media platforms. 82% of U.S. adults say social media companies treat some news organizations differently than others, and 88% say these companies favor news organizations that produce attention-grabbing, sensational articles. At the same time, getting news from social media sites is becoming an increasingly common experience. This panel will cover social media’s role as a platform for time-critical and quickly shareable information, and the impartiality and fairness of news delivered through social media.

1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Lunch Break

2:15 p.m.
Keynote address

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2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The State of the Media in the Middle East and Gulf

Since the Arab Spring, authoritarian elites in the Middle East have realized how independent media threaten their rule, and as such have repressed and persecuted the media under the guise of combatting misinformation and fake news. Armed conflicts, charges of terrorism against journalists and media, and growing online surveillance and censorship threaten the freedom and independence of journalists in the Middle East. The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 demonstrated the risks that journalists take in investigating and reporting on behalf of the public in the region. This panel will shed light on media repression in the Middle East and Gulf, and offer ways in which the U.S. and EU might respond.

4:00 p.m.
Keynote address

4:15 p.m.
Closing remarks

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7:00 p.m.
Reception

Tuesday, June 22

Washington, D.C.

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Registration & Breakfast

9:00 a.m.
Greetings

9:30 a.m.
Keynote addresses

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Memorial to Murdered Journalists

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Rule of Law and the Media: How Best to Protect Journalists
In certain regions, the lack of proper follow-up by law enforcement and the judiciary has become a new normal. In 2018, there were 26 alerts in Europe where state authorities failed to identify, prosecute, or punish those responsible for crimes against journalists, including 17 individual cases involving murder. In addition to a lack of legal enforcement, laws that threaten to criminalize journalism as defamation continue to threaten journalistic integrity. This panel will look at the legal framework that allows would-be assailants to operate with impunity, and how a faulty rule of law can lead to repression of the media.

11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Illiberal Democracy: Editorial Independence and Europe
In the 1980s, the European Union began to observe issues of media concentration and pluralism as potentially affecting freedom of expression and media freedom. In spite of the media regulations that the European Union has put in place, governments of certain EU countries used repressive laws to influence media in the government’s favor. This panel will explore the challenges journalists and media face in these countries, and what can be done to protect the press in illiberal democracies.

1:15 p.m. 2:45 p.m.
Lunch break

2:45 p.m.
Luncheon Address

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3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Role of the Media in the Arab Springs: What’s Next?
Though media played a key role in mobilizing protests during the Arab Spring, it also played a key role in the faltering transition processes that followed as conflicts sprang up in the ensuing power vacuums in parts of the region. Instead of supporting the crafting of new identities and institutions, or holding emergent regimes to account, the media contributed to social polarization, discontent, and the doubling-down of authoritarian forces. Transnational broadcasting, pervasive social media, and division over Islamist movements all contributed to the debilitating role of media in the environment after the Arab Spring.

4:30 p.m.
Keynote address

4:45 p.m.
Closing remarks

Reception

TLN Freedom of the Media 2021 Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony