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Václav Havel European Dialogues 2020: Do free media equal free society?

When and Where

  • Date: 10 December 2020
  • Where: Havel Channel, facebook pages of all the organisers
  • Organizers: Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU, Václav Havel Library, Prague, Czech Embassy to the Kingdom of Belgium, and Czech Centre in Brussels


Independent media play an irreplaceable role in controlling the government and ensuring transparency of the state administration. At the same time, they oversee the fair conduct of elections. International comparisons confirm the direct link between the degree of freedom of speech, the state of democracy and the quality of life. Restrictions on free media and human rights are one of the features of undemocratic regimes and are clearly visible, for example, in Belarus and other countries in the EU's neighborhood. Thanks to the availability of social networks and digital media, people are quickly informed, but on the other hand, there is a risk of misinformation that can undermine democratic values.

Are public media still the indispensable fourth pillar of democracy? How has the role of media in the process of democratization changed over time? Can they be replaced by social networks? Should national and transnational actors support free media? Is reliable information available to everyone and are citizens actually interested in it? How to defend democracy against the threat of misinformation? How can the EU help?

18.30 Opening of the Conference

  • Edita Hrdá, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the EU
  • Pavel Klucký, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Belgium
  • Introduction by the Moderator of the Discussion: Michael Žantovský, Executive Director of the Václav Havel Library

18.45 – 19.45 Panel 

  • Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency
  • Václav Štětka, Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Longhborough University
  • Yevhen Hlibovytsky, Member of the Board of Directors of Ukrainian Public Service Broadcaster
  • Dan Michaels, Brussels Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal

The whole programme can be found here.

The video recording of the discussion can be found on Havel Channel