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GMF over: What do the participants think?

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The Global Media Forum 2009 is over. We asked some of the participants to give us feedback about their impressions from the past three days.

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Eye to Eye: Media Coverage of Terrorism After 9/11

Miguel Marquez from ABC News Intercontinental Inc. (left) and Michael Groth from DeutschlandRadio (right) in debate: How is terrorism covered in the USA? How in Germany?

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5 Minutes With Brian Storm



Brian Storm, President of MediaStorm, a multimedia media production studio in New York City.

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A Woman with Strong Beliefs

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„I turned down the German Federal Cross of Merit in 1996 in protest against the Minister of the Interior’s Resolution to repatriate Bosnian refugees” says Monika Hauser. Hauser is a woman with strong beliefs who has dedicated her life to work with victims of sexual violence. In the nineties she founded the non-governmental organisation medica mondiale, which supports war-traumatised women and girls in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Israel. Hauser presented the project at the GMF.

“As long as I can remember I have heard about sexual violence from my grandmother and aunts,” says Hauser. “And from early on I was convinced that violence against women and their health are linked.” So Hauser studied medicine, but quickly discovered that her boss and colleagues had no interest in dealing with sexual violence. And the obstacles didn’t end there.

“I’ve always faced considerable opposition: from a judge at the war crimes tribunal at Den Haag to a politician in Berlin or a journalist who doesn’t understand that he can’t interview a traumatised woman,” says the 50 year old. But never the less, Hauser carried on with her work. Last year she was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize.

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Bypassing Censorship in Zimbabwe

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Even in countries where there is strict media censorship, there are ways to spread news and information. In Zimbabwe, the online community Kubatana is doing just that, says Brenda Burrell, Kubatana Technical Director. Their project is called Freedom Fone. She told us how they are using mobiles phones to make a difference.

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“Youth Without Frontiers” — Behind the Scenes

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Nassir Aljazaeri is the director of the talk show “Youth Without Frontiers”, a co-production of Deutsche Welle TV and ERTU, the Egyptian state broadcaster, which was produced live during the Global Media Forum. But before the show starts, Aljazaeri checks the sound and light to make sure the set is ready for the shoot.

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Sara, Youmna, Rania, and Sara: four Egyptian young women who will be guests on the show. Before they go in front of the cameras, stylists are on hand to do their make -up and style their hair. And of course, they help each other and give advice.

The other participants are already being seated, getting last minute instructions. The talk show brings young German and Egyptian guests together, who exchange their experiences on different topics.

While almost everybody is a little bit nervous before the show begins, Sahar Nagui, the moderator of the talk show seems very relaxed. He and  Hossam El Deen, an Egyptian participant, have a laugh before it is — lights, camera, action…

And Mustafa Isaid Head of the Arabic Service, Deutsche Welle TV, gives a warm opening address.

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Camels in the booths: The interpreters at the GMF

Norbert Heikamp (right) and his colleague are working at the GMF in Bonn.

Norbert Heikamp and his colleague at work at the GMF

A trace of sweat glistens on Norbert Heikamp’s forehead. He takes off his jacket and switches off his mobile phone: Ready to get to work.

Just a few minutes ago, Heikamp thought he was about to translate words from speakers talking about Somalia or the African continent. Now the man from Engelskirchen has to talk about blogs and the internet.

But since Heikamp has been an interpreter for over 25 five years, last minute changes like these don’t unsettle him.”I just hope they don’t quote any poetry. But I think have the necessary vocabulary just from the name of the topic. That’s all experience.”

Look out of Norbert Heikamps cabin.

The view out of Norbert Heikamp's booth.

Heikamp is fluent in German, English, Italian and French. The four languages are his net value, but he can’t only rely on his skills. He says the most important part of his job is the preparation: “Some topics need up to two days of preparation and it’s good if we get the drafts of the speeches or the powerpoint sheets.” Sometimes Heikamp says he even prepares a dossier with key vocabulary, for special interest or delicate topics.

As the speakers begin to take the stage, Heikamp fills his glass of water. For half a day of work, he needs at least one big bottle. Some of his colleagues need three or four liters, but others are like camels and do not seem to need any liquid at all.

Translating for 90 minutes straight is exhausting — but not physically. Heikamp says the concentration is the biggest challenge. That’s why he is accompanied by a female colleague, who will take over after 30 minutes.

After the actual work is done, Heikamp says is looking forward to listening to some music  — Mozart. “When I listen to music, I can control the sound, I decide what I want to listen to. And that is great,” says the interpreter and closes the door of his translation booth. The panel is about to begin. Mozart will have to wait — at least for the next hour and a half.

Listen to the translation of Heikamp’s colleague in French:

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The BOBs: Mobile reporters for Africa

Internet and mobile communication have spread across Africa over the last few years. These kinds of new media are enabling Africans to better take part in discussions about democracy, about what’s going on in society and just about their daily lives.

The website “Africa News” by Voices of Africa is a project designed to help young talented Africans build a career in media by providing them with necessary technology they would not be able to afford themselves.

Olivier Nyirugubara is the coordinator of the project and came to Bonn to receive “The BOBs” award for Best Videoblog.

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The BOBs: Iranian Feminists Speak Out

Self-censorship - that is one of the most difficult things, says Nazil Farokhi. She is a Iranian feminist blogger keeping the world posted on her thoughts about the oppression of women, relationships and sex. Her friends persuaded her to start her own web blog, Farokhi recalls. That was four years ago. And the positive feedback of readers has kept her going ever since.

Now 4equality , another feminist website she is involved in, has even won the “The Bobs” Reporter Without Borders Special Award. The award came at the right time, says Farokhi. “We were all exhausted and had to deal with a lot of problems. The award helped to lift our spirits.”

One of the campaigns of the women’s rights activists at 4equality is to collect one million signatures in support of a petition to the Iranian Parliament to revise current laws discriminating against women.

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Satisfying your GMF hunger

kochThree days full of workshops, meetings and events can be quite exhausting. Sometimes you get out of a plenary session and the only thing you can think of is where to get something sweet to reboot your batteries. Luckily, there are around 50 people at the Bonn Conference Center in charge of satisfying that need.

Every day, the catering service provides two coffee breaks and a lunch buffet for around 700 hundred people. 450 liters of water and 100 liters of coffee are consumed every day — and lots of tea as well.

Christian Wolf is responsible for everything. He says he likes the special spirit of the GMF. “We have a lot of fun, because the visitors are so friendly. It’s such a difference to a normal business convention.”

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