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Sanssouci Colloquium
Media Prize
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September 8, 2010, Potsdam

The international media conference known as M100 Sanssouci Colloquium will take place for the sixth time on September 8, 2010 during the Medienwoche Berlin-Brandenburg in Potsdam.

Every year, the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium plays host to roughly 80 of Europe`s most important editos-in-chief and decision-makers in Potsdam’s historical palaces and gardens. Here, these prominent figures engage in discussions and debates on current political, social and media-policy matters. Over the course of its first five years, the M100 has emerged as a modern bridge-builder between East and West that fosters a sustainable dialogue between the media of various cultures and regions and that examines the influence of different media on global social and political processes.

The M100 colloquium provides Europe’s leading media representatives and radio, TV and print journalists with an opportunity to closely examine both the current role of the media and the daily challenges facing the media industry. The first colloquium held in 2005 marked the launch of a truly European forum that quickly became a meeting-point not only for Western media personalities but also increasingly for representatives from the emerging Eastern regions – from Moscow to Cairo and Tashkent. Although the global media continue to take advantage of new technologies and instant worldwide dissemination to play an increasingly prominent role in the shaping of international opinion, they nevertheless, at the same time, must often make do with less financial support. With this in mind, the M100 has set itself the task of promoting an open exchange of ideas, professional networks and a more intensive intercultural understanding. It also seeks to engender high-quality reporting that is both balanced and sustainable.

Topics and Goals in 2010
In 2010, the conference will be devoted to the theme of “Freedom of the Press in Europe”. A free press plays a key role in healthy democracies. And yet, journalists are faced with increasing pressures and censorship not only in Eastern European nations but also in Western Europe. For example, Freedom House has determined that freedom of the press and freedom of speech across Europe have receded for the fourth year in a row.

The M100 conference offers participants the opportunity to explore and reflect upon the actual current situation of the freedom of the press and freedom of speech in Europe. For example, participants can examine the restrictive conditions under which French journalists work; what it means to be an independent journalist in Italy; how the Estonian government is attempting to limit the freedom of the press in that country; the impact of digitalisation on press freedom; the consequences that economical pressure and cost reduction have on freedom of the press; the influence of technological gatekeepers have on freedom of the press; but also what kind of opportunities digitalization offers. Furthermore, the relationship between the EU commission and the press will be analysed.

The Colloquium is an initiative of the state capital of Potsdam and Potsdam Media International e.V. and is part of an annual series of events – Medienwoche@IFA.

  "I am certain that today sets the tone for the topic "Freedom of the Press in Europe". The man you selected to be the laureate today, the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, is associated with freedom of opinion and freedom of the press. The question of principle at the centre of the cartoon controversy is whether his illustrations may, or may not be published in a Western society, with Western values; regardless of whether we deem his caricatures tasteful, necessary, helpful, or not. Is he allowed to do so? Yes, he is. He is one of many illustrators in Europe. Europe is a place where an illustrator is allowed to draw these things.”

Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany, in her speech on September 8, 2010

"At the same time, today’s prize is an appeal to all persons who hold positions of responsibility in governments, in culture and in the media: be steadfast, value-oriented and also COURAGEOUS when irresponsible persons and powers undermine or relativise our values of freedom. It is a virtue to yield to a convincing argument, but it is cowardice to yield to a threat from enemies of freedom."

Joachim Gauck in his laudation for Kurt Westergaard, September 8, 2010