The “Free Speech Week” will take place for the second time from Monday. Many events are planned in Frankfurt and throughout Germany. The initial discussion focused on early media literacy as a key to forming opinions.
The fact that education is key was highlighted by Friday morning’s discussion titled ‘Freedom of Speech Under Pressure: What Can Media and Culture Professionals Do?’ “. At a time when you have to master a flood of information on social networks and know how to differentiate yourself, when many journalists and authors are imprisoned around the world and when freedom of the press is also deteriorating in Germany, we must be aware of freedom of expression again and again. The panelists agreed. “Freedom of speech is not self-evident,” said Margit Ketterle, spokeswoman for the stock market association’s freedom of speech IG. “The war made us realize that opposition costs something.”
Author Sebastian Fitzek also pointed out that it needs to be made clear again how valuable freedom of expression is. Due in particular to the development of social media, it is also important to learn to question yourself very early on. “We need to integrate media education into schools as early as possible,” says the author. Stern editor Anna-Beeke Gretemeier also explained that it was important to be able to distinguish between opinion and fact. It’s also new for journalists to have to question everything and verify so hard. Establishing media literacy as a school subject therefore makes perfect sense, says Gretemeier.
Around 50 events throughout Germany
With around 50 events all over Germany, Free Speech Week aims to draw attention to topics like this. The virtual exhibition “Creative children on the subject of freedom of expression” can be viewed on the Buchkinder Leipzig website throughout the week. Lectures and music by Jazz Montez and Melodiva on the relevance of jazz for democratic society are planned for May 4 and 6 in Frankfurt under the title “Jazz is our democracy”.
In a discussion on the Frankfurt Book Fair in cooperation with the Börsenverein and the Deutschlandfunk Kultur, among others, on May 7 online (on the websites of the Book Fair and the Deutschlandfunk Kultur), literature in wartime will be discussed. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., texts by persecuted or imprisoned authors from countries such as China, Chile, Germany and Turkey will also be read with Amnesty International at the Liebfrauenbrunnen in Frankfurt. On May 9, the “Freedom of Speech” memorial by Frankfurt artist Frank Tils will be unveiled on the mediacampus frankfurt in Seckbach. The entire Germany-wide program can be viewed on the Free Speech Week website.