Debate: Closing spaces – how do media and civil society fight back?

When state restrictions reshape the civic space, how do media and civil society fight back?

Venue: Kosmopol, Fiolstræde 44, 1171 Copenhagen K, Denmark (by Nørreport Station)
When: 16 November 2017 from 9:00 – 12:00

The shrinking space for media and civil society is now “the new normal” in an ever-expanding number of countries. In this new reality, what can journalists, NGOs and human rights activists do to counter the restrictions imposed on them by governments and power groups?

Join IMS and the Danish National Commission for UNESCO and our panel of international experts on 16 November to discuss global responses and resilience on the ground.

What is the strategy when an independent news platform from the Philippines adamantly writes about corruption and about President Duterte’s war on drugs? How do you pursue human rights activism in today’s Russia? What can and should the UN/international community be doing to help media and civil society become more resilient?

Our panel of experts:

Saskia Brechenmacher, Associate Fellow at Carnegie’s Democracy and Rule of Law Program, Washington D.C and author of “Civil Society under assault – repression and responses in Russia, Egypt and Ethiopia” (2017) and “Closing space: Democracy and human rights under fire” (2014). Twitter: @saskiaBrech

Maria Ressa, CEO and executive editor of Rappler, a Philippine independent news media platform combining professional journalism with citizen journalism. Rappler’s reports on government corruption and President Duterte’s “war on drugs” have led to daily harassment. Twitter: @mariaressa

Konstantin Baranov, Russian human rights defender from the International Youth Human Rights Movement. He will discuss how legal tools are used in Russia in a nationwide campaign of inspections and administrative harassment of critical NGOs. Facebook: /newaristos

Jesper Højberg, Executive Director of International Media Support (IMS), working with local media in countries plagued by conflict and authoritarian regimes. On safeguarding local media and human rights defenders in countries where the space for freedom of expression is closing. Twitter: @forfreemedia

Anna Libak, moderator. A senior Danish journalist and former foreign editor of the newspaper Berlingske Tidende with an expertise in international affairs. Facebook: /anna.libak.1

The debate is in English.

To participate, register with Gerd Kieffer ( by 13 November. Please provide name, email address, position/organisation.
For more information, contact Helle Wahlberg, Head of Communications, tel. +45 2868 1059.