Human Rights in the 21st Century

Human Rights and Media Freedom

online roundtable, 18. 11. 2021 at 17:00

Respect for human rights is inseparable from democracy, which itself is based on free citizenry that freely expresses its diverse opinions and thoughts. Media, be it classical or social, play crucial role in ensuring that variety of information and views reach wide range of the society, providing for voters capable of making well-informed political decisions.
In recent years, the world has witnessed both decline in democracy and decline in freedom of expression. Media are under pressure; journalists face intimidations, and the work of press has become increasingly dangerous. Social media provided democratisation information and increased opportunities for citizens to be vocal, but it also led to proliferation of fake news, misinformation, manipulation and even hate crime.

These tendencies have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with media being further silenced due to extraordinary circumstances and authoritarians seizing the momentum for imposing restrictions and curtailing media freedoms.
The democratic community must push back offer clear and resolute response to these negative tendencies that curtail media freedom, thus putting the democracies and respect of human rights. The panel will discuss the initiatives that have been raised and discussed on EU and international level and will investigate proposals for actions to be undertaken.

Event schedule

Welcome address

Milosz Hodun |Vice President, European Liberal Forum

Sebastjan Pikl | Institute Novum

Opening keynote

Irena Joveva | Member of European Parliament (LMŠ/RE), Slovenia

17:20 – 19:00
Panel discussion: Human Rights and Media Freedom


Darren Bergman MP | Shadow Minister – International relations and co-operation, Member of the executive SADC-Parliamentary Forum, South Africa

Irena Joveva | Member of European Parliament (LMŠ/RE), Slovenia

Adelheid Wölfl | South-East Europe Correspondent of Der Standard, Austria

James Gomes | Regional Director of Asia Centre, Thailand


Emil Kirjas | Founder, Kirjas Global


Milosz Hodun, Vice President of ELF. Current board member of Projekt: Polska Association. He is an expert at the Nowoczesna party and was previously a part-time teacher at the Reykjavik University School of Law.

Sebastjan Pikl

Sebastjan Pikl is one of the founders and director of Institute NOVUM, an institute for strategic and applicable research that deals with policy analysis, visual media, and public relations. He has also served as an advisor for various communications projects, including the campaign for president of Republic of Slovenia Dr. Danilo Türk in 2007 and several liberal political parties. Mr. Pikl is a philosopher and political scientist by training, with special interests in the field of psychoanalysis, policy analysis and history of Mediterranean region.

Irena Joveva is a Slovenian journalist who entered politics in 2019 when she decided it is time for a change and was elected as a Member of the European Parliament. In parliament, she has since been serving on the Committee on Culture and Education. In addition to her committee assignments, Joveva is vice-chair of the Parliament’s delegation to the EU-North Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee. She is outspoken on behalf of the Renew Europe group on the matters of press freedom and the European Media Freedom Act.

Darren Bergman is a South African politician who has served as Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation since 2019. In the Parliament of South Africa he sits from the Sandton constituency for the Democratic Alliance since 2014. He is Member of SADC Parliamentary Forum, where he serves as Vice-Chair for Democracy, Governance & human rights., and Treasurer on the Executive. Over the last 4 years he has been active as member of Liberal International Human Rights Committee. Darren Bergman has been in politics since 1999, when he was the youth leader for a region of the Democratic Party. Before that he was the managing director of Youth Against Crime, a policeman, basic life paramedic and a consultant.

Dr. James Gomez, a Singapore national, is Regional Director, Asia Centre, a not-for-profit social enterprise that seeks to create human rights impact in the region. Dr. Gomez currently oversees the Centre’s operations in both Thailand and Malaysia and provides strategic oversight for the regionalization of the Centre. He represents the Centre in media and public speaking engagements and builds relationships with key stakeholders around the world. Dr. Gomez brings to Asia Centre over 25 years of international and regional experience in leadership roles at universities, think-tanks, inter-governmental agencies and non-governmental organisations. He holds a PhD. (Monash University, Australia), MA (University of Essex, United Kingdom), and B. Soc. Sci. (Hons.) (National University of Singapore).

Adelheid Wölfl is Austrian journalist. She is the Southeast Europe correspondent of one of Austria’s best-selling daily newspapers Der Standard – a paper from which foreign media readily quote when an opinion from the Austrian press is required. Her reports and analysis with focus on the Balkans and human rights are published in variety of high-profile media, especially in the German speaking world.

Emil Kirjas is a Vice President of Liberal International, after having served earlier as its Secretary General from 2007-2017. From 2004-2006 he was State Secretary for Foreign Affairs in the Government of then Republic of Macedonia. He has extensive experience in various international organisations and institutions, having worked for Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Earlier over four years he led the International Federation of Liberal Youth. In 2018 he established “Kirjas Global” and advises heads of states and governments, as well as senior political leaders on geopolitics and international relations. He is frequently invited at international level to addresses issues of transformative powers of political networking, strategy and communication. He holds a Master’s Degree in Geopolitics from King’s College in London and Computer Engineering from the Skopje Univeristy.

This event is organised by the European Liberal Forum asbl with the support of Institute Novum.
Co-funded by the European Parliament. Neither the European Parliament nor the European Liberal Forum asbl are responsible for the content of this event or for any use that may be made of it.
The views expressed herein are those of the speaker(s) alone. These views do not necessarily reflect those of the European Parliament and/ or the European Liberal Forum asbl.