Good communication, bad communication in Europe

Monday 4 September 2017

First, we visited today the German-Polish Magazine DIALOG. We met Sabine Stekel, an editor of the magazine, a very interesting and impressive person. We got a lot of information about the relationship between Germany and Poland. Especially interesting was the change she told us about now that Poland has a new government. She said during the last 10 years they wrote a lot about Poland as a country for industry or for tourism but now there are new subjects coming up because what happens in Poland right now differs to what Germans understand of democracy. She gave us an interesting inside view when she shared with us her opinion that people in Brussels are searching for a way to put sanctions on the polish government but in a way so that these sanctions won’t effect the local governments.

Second, we met Karolina Fuhrmann who is a project coordinator at the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation. She told us about the foundation and the projects and how the funding of projects by the foundation works. The foundation is not only about the cooperation of Poland and Germany but they are also cooperating with other countries like Ukrain or Belarus to support countries which have crisises. Also we found interesting that they try to contribute to an open dialogue between German and Polish journalists by organising there so-called media days. Karolina also told us, that thanks to investments in long-term cooperation on the local and regional level (especially in the borderline area) there have been established many German-Polish partnerships within the civil society, which are good and stable and function no matter what is happening on the political level.

In the second part of the day we visited the Czech Center in Berlin and met Dr Thomas Sacher, the director of the Czech Centre, who briefly told us about the history of the building, what they are doing and which organisations support them – funny fact that they wanted to build a kind of “fortress” in the middle of the city with thick walls and bulletproof windows, just next to Berlin Wall. He was very interested and asking us questions about from which media we get our information and even asked whether some of us subscribed to – old-school- written newspapers. Unluckily, he had only 40 minutes for us although we would have liked to discuss these interesting topics with him for more time.

The last person we met was Dr Yasmina Banaszczuk, a freelancer and consultant. We were talking about hate speech, fake news and post truth. Her instruction how to discover whether an article is Fake News or someone’s propaganda was quite helpful and interesting. What was new for us was that Germans and on the other hand Czech and Polish people seem to have a different understanding of what being “Nazi” means which led to some discussion and maybe created some misunderstandings.

After a very long day full of listening and discussing about media we came back to the academy and discussed the highlights of the day.