I was honoured to attend the Media Forum 2019 in Prague, Czech Republic last week. I was representing the Westminster Russia Forum and was the only British delegate among the one hundred or so international invitees. There were editors and publishers of Diplomatic and International Relations magazines, academics, political scientists and international relations organisations from as far away as Hong Kong, Singapore, USA and Dominican Republic.
The impressive event was staged over three days and seventy speakers spoke in panels on topics including: Is the crisis of liberalism relevant today, Societal Values and Hyper Tolerance: Do we need any Red Lines, Migration Processes and the “New Framework” of Media Freedom, The sovereignty of the Individual, media and the state: a search for balance and Internet and Radicalisation of young people.
For three days I engaged in intellectual debate and watched/listened to presentations that were thought-provoking, informative and exposed me to new ideas.
Armen Oganesyan, Editor-in-Chief of International Affairs magazine and effective chairman and lead organiser of the Forum posed a question “Do we control digitalization or does digitalization control us?”
Dirk Pohlmann, a German journalist and film director, lambasted Wikipedia, the number five web site in the world as being far from it’s open source reputation, He said 1% of the editors edit 70% of the content. These are highly motivated people, many with a rigid point of view.
Chavdar Minchev, the Editor-in-Chief of Bulgaria’s International Relations magazine, said, “we need new rules for world order.” The US hegemony is in decline as it is no longer able to impose its will in his opinion. He said Japan, the UK, Germany and the US are all in decline while the GDP is growing at tremendous pace in some countries.
The phenomenon of Greta Thunberg was the theme of the Serbian-American professor and author, Srdja Trifkovic’s presentation. Coached and manipulated, with big money backing, Greta seemingly came from nowhere. Mr Trifkovic blows the myths away and highlights that “Greta is a marketing project in a global campaign to build consensus for the “Green New Deal”.
Amrita Dhilon, the young Indian founder-editor of Kootneeti magazine tackled the question of Young Victims of online radicalisation. Currently living in Singapore with her husband, Amrita says the advent of 4G mobile phone technology in 2016 was behind a boom in mobile broadband subscriptions to 50% worldwide which led to an upsurge in social media use.
She detailed the radicalisation process in this slide.
She advises to go directly to credible news websites for the news which we see trending over social media. Far from relying on Facebook/twitter to see what is “trending” or what is being shared across your newsfeed Koorneeti verify every single meme or news article we come across. A few of the fact-checking websites Kootneeti use are Agence France-Presse, Associated Press and Reuters.
Timur Altov, Deputy head of Digital Financial Technologies Commission of the Russian Chamber of Commerce, crisply and succinctly explained how Russia was preparing for 5G mobile telephony access to the web. These included the MIR card system was the alternate to Visa and Mastercard, the Ministry of Communications beefing up security on personal data.
Adam Cooper, a Swiss cyber-mediation expert, told the audience the expanding cyber-security industry had to work to basic principles to be successful including Focus on common ground, strengthen conflict prevention as Confidence Building Measures (CBM), work across geopolitical divides and exchange information, discuss and ensure agreeing norms to be implemented.
“It is easy to talk to friends but more essential to talk to your adversaries” was the thought he left with all delegates.