Extremism and the Role of Media

On 21 June 2014, Grigorij Mesežnikov took part in a panel discussion "Extremism and the Role of Media", the professional event included into the program of 20th jubilee International Festival of the Local TV Broadcasters Golden Beggar in Košice. The phenomenon of contemporary political extremism and its reflection in the media was discussed (along with IVO president) by Theodore Sedgwick, U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia, Alexander Ben-Zvi, Israeli Ambassador to Slovakia and Vladimir Barović, professor at the University of Novi Sad (Serbia). The debate was chaired by well-known American journalist Ed Baumeister currently living in France.

The panelists:

Theodore Sedgwick, United States ambassador to Slovakia. Mr. Sedgwick in his private life was a media publisher and has served on the boards of several information companies, including Atlantic Information Services, and Washington Business Information Inc.

Alexander Ben-Zvi, Israeli ambassador to Slovakia. Mr. Ben-Zvi was born in Ukraine and has extensive experience in European political matters, having worked, for example, in the East European Division of the Foreign Ministry. He is also a translator of Russian literature.

Grigorij Mesežnikov is one of Slovakia’s leading political analysts and commentators, and he frequently consults Slovak and international press. He is co-founder and president of the Slovak Institute for Public Affairs, a non-profit think tank in Bratislava.

Vladimir Barović holds a doctorate from the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, and studied journalism there as well. He has worked as both a journalist and as a professor in Novi Sad. His master's thesis was titled "The influence of National Socialist ideology and the importance of media on political developments in Vojvodina Germans between the two wars." He has lectured widely in Serbian and English.

Ed Baumeister (moderator) is an American journalist living in France. He was a founder of the Independent Journalism Foundation and has worked extensively in Central and Eastern Europe. He is on the board of the City TV Foundation, which runs the festival. 

Philanthropy Band concert

The Philanthropy Band composed of Amb. Theodore Sedgwick, Amb. Alexander Ben-Zvi, George Babcoke (president of the U.S. Steel Košice), Peter Gogola (mayor of Banská Bystrica), Shai Saadon (IBM Slovakia) and Grigorij Mesežnikov (IVO) played for participants and guests of the festival at the ceremony of awarding the films and programs presented in the competition.

Extremism in the scope

Festival organizers justified their decision to include topic Extremism and the Media in the festival program by following words: 

"Extremism is rearing its ugly head all over the world. We intend to address this problem in a Panel Discussion and Q&A. Some national and commercial TV & radio stations certainly encourage extremism and racism; how can this dealt with at a community level? What lessons have you learn from your ample experience and what would you pass on to us, etc.?

Question of extremism and terrorism should be approached with special sensitivity. Importance of information grows during crises and no one has the right to deprive citizens of truthful and reliable information. Media and journalists must not be drawn into the process of producing public danger hysteria, creating of a dangerous world feeling or that of mistrust and hatred towards different cultures or religions. These might very well be the key tasks media should fulfil in terms of the preventive measures to counter terrorism and extremism in all its forms. These are also the tasks that would be the focus of the panel discussion with the participation of media experts from V4, other Europe, US and other parts of the world during this year’s Golden Beggar Festival". 

Link: www.festival.sk/2014/en/ifolt/about 

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