A series of sessions on current topics of European importance led by experts both from V4 states and from other European countries forms an important part of the Festival. These meetings seek the answers to the question of what topics should be brought by televisions and independent producers and in which ways they are supposed to do this.

Panel 1: The Rise of Nationalism and Populism and Its Consequences

Nationalism can be understood as the collective ideology of a particular social group. Nationalism defines common origin, history, territory, language, and culture as the bases of a nation, and tends to exclude those who do not share these elements of commonality.

Every festival participant has in one way or another experienced rising nationalism and populism in his own country. The two phenomena are different, but a rise in both at the same time is not uncommon. Nationalism is based on a sense of sameness; populism is based on a feeling that ordinary people are being unfairly exploited or rendered powerless by others, by their own countries’ elites, or by “foreigners.” The likely bridge between the two is easily seen.

Among the factors tied to the rise of nationalism, it is possible to include the negative effects of globalization and the unexpected, sometimes massive movement of people – waves of refugees from conflicts and the migration of others for economic reasons. Those who rise up against globalization and immigration often see in their actions a way to power. Combined with fear of terrorism and almost ever-present economic problems, the appeal to nationalism and the invocation of populism can be toxic.

The experts on the panel will examine the phenomena, keeping in mind that their audience consists of media professionals.

Panel 2: The Role of the Media in the Rise of Nationalism, Populism and Conspiracy Theories

Freedom of speech and the freedom of media to report that speech are cornerstones of a democratic society. But recent elections in Europe and beyond have confirmed an increase in nationalist, populist and extremist forces that could jeopardize these very foundations of democracy. The rise in nationalism and extremism has seen efforts not only to control the media, but also to restrict their freedom, by both legislative and other, repressive interventions. Efforts to control media involve taking control of existing media or creating custom media.

The panel discussion should define a clear boundary between what constitutes the dissemination of objective and independent information and misinformation used by extremist groups to advance their agendas.