SPEAKERS – Press Freedom Conference 2020

Lech Wałęsa

Lech Wałęsa is a Polish elder statesman, pro-democracy activist and union organiser who served as the first democratically-elected President of Poland from 1990 to 1995.

He was the leader of Solidarity (NSZZ “Solidarność”), one of the first oppositional and freedom-oriented social movements in the communist bloc, for which he was awarded the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize.

Jerzy Owsiak

The originator, co-founder, and president of the board of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation one of the largest non-governmental, non-profit, charity organizations in Poland. Owsiak is the main initiator and promoter for the group’s Grand Finale, an annual worldwide festival involving music and other components intended to raise money for the medical care of children as well as the elderly suffering from various medical conditions.

Paul Giannasi
National Police Hate Crime Advisor UK

Paul works for the National Police Chiefs’ Council in the United Kingdom, has accrued 30 years of experience as a police officer. He manages True Vision (www.report-it.org.uk) on behalf of the police and is the author of the national Police Hate Crime Manual, which offers guidance to all UK police officers and partners.

Stephan Scherzer
Association of German Magazine Publishers

Since 2012, CEO of VDZ, the umbrella trade organisation representing the interests of 500 German Magazine Media Publishers. From 2007 to 2011 he worked for IDG in San Francisco as Executive Vice President, running the digital business of the consumer group. He started his career as a journalist, was the editor-in-chief of Macworld Magazine, later the Group Publisher and member of the board of IDG in Munich.

B. Bix Aliu
Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Poland

B. Bix Aliu returned to U.S. Embassy Warsaw to serve as the Deputy Chief of Mission in June 2019. Fifteen years ago, Bix was a Vice-Consul and Deputy Cultural Attaché at the Embassy. Most recently, Bix served as the U.S. Consul General in Krakow. Prior to returning to Poland, Bix was the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro, where he often served as Charge d’Affaires, a.i. During his diplomatic career, Bix was detailed to Congress as a Pearson Congressional Fellow and served as a Special Advisor to the Representative of Virginia’s Second Congressional District. He also served at the Department of State’s National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he helped shape the future generation of the U.S. Foreign Service. Bix has represented U.S. interests abroad in Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, and the UAE.

A native of Chicagoland, Bix holds a Medical Degree from the University of Kosovo School of Medicine and a Master of Strategic Studies Degree from the U.S. Army War College. He speaks fluent Albanian, Montenegrin, Macedonian, Serbian, and Polish, among others. Bix is married and has two children.

Valdo Lehari jr.
ENPA Vice-President

In November 2010, he became Vice-President of the European Newspaper Publisher´s Association (ENPA), Brussels – after serving as its President for four years, the maximum term allowed under the organisation´s statutes. Since 2001, he has been Chairman of the Executive Board and President of the Association of Newspaper Publishers of Southwest Germany, “Verband Südwestdeutscher Zeitungsverleger e.V. (VSZV),” Stuttgart.

Peter Bárdy
EiC Aktuality.sk

Peter Bárdy has been the editor-in-chief of Aktuality.sk, for which he is also a columnist, for 10 years. Aktuality.sk is one of the most popular and respected news websites in Slovakia. It was created in 2005 in Žilina. Peter has been involved in the media for more than 20 years. He started as a journalist in Žilinský Večerník, then he worked in daily Nový Čas. During his career he was writing articles about crime and the mafia in Slovakia, followed by a period focusing on politics.

Bartosz Węglarczyk 
EiC Onet.pl

He started his career as the foreign editor and correspondent in Moscow, Brussels and Washington. He was the head of the foreign department of Gazeta Wyborcza, where he continued to work until 2011. Between 2013 and 2016, Bartosz Węglarczyk served as the deputy editor-in-chief of the daily Rzeczpospolita (The Republic). In March 2016, he became the programming director of Onet.pl, and since December 2018, he took over the duties of the editor-in-chief, also being responsible for the direction and programme line of the portal.

Meera Selva  
Director Fellowship Programme, Reuters Institute

Meera is an accomplished senior journalist with experience in Europe, Asia and Africa. She joined the Reuters Institute in 2017 and runs a programme that focuses on the challenges of journalism worldwide. She has worked as a journalist in London, Berlin, Nairobi and Singapore.

Andrew Gray

European Union Editor at POLITICO Europe. Based in Brussels, he is responsible for coverage of EU institutions and politics in major European capitals including Paris and Berlin. Andrew also oversees POLITICO’s EU Confidential podcast, which he co-hosts.

Previously, Andrew worked at Reuters as a correspondent and bureau chief for 15 years. He was posted to Germany, Geneva, the Balkans, West Africa, London and Washington, where he covered the Pentagon.

Born and raised in Scotland, Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in languages and a master’s degree in investigative journalism.

Galina Arapova
Director, Mass Media Defence Centre / Vice-Chair ARTICLE 19

Director and senior media lawyer of the NGO Mass Media Defence Centre (Russia). She is a trustee of the human rights organisation ARTICLE 19; Russian national expert on the admissibility of the Council of Europe’s HELP programme (Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals).

Mina Dennert

Swedish writer, journalist and the founder of the #iamhere network, which has inspired far over a hundred thousand people from all over the world to take up the fight for a democratic and inclusive society. Through the Facebook groups of the same name, members counteract fake news, alternative facts and hate speech.

Zoltan Varga
Graduated from the University of Pécs, Hungary. In 1990 he joined the Budapest Stock Exchange board and in 1991 to the CSFB as a deputy manager. He first worked in London and then in New York. After 10 years of international carrier, he joined the Wizz Air success story among the firsts as the biggest private shareholder in 2004. He founded Centrál Group. In 2014 Central Group expanded with Central Médiacsoport Zrt, manages the biggest Hungarian independent print and digital media portfolio. Central has several interest in Poland, among them Central owns one of the largest educational business, called WSIP.

Mr. Varga has established a Math Foundation in his hometown in Bonyhád. Social responsibility is highly important for him; he is a dedicated supporter of several foundations and the largest private donor for Budapest Festival Orchestra.
Peter Peto
Peter PETO (35), journalist. Editor-in-chief of 24.hu, leading online journal of Hungary.

He has been working as a journalist for eleven years, first gaining experience at Népszabadság. He was the deputy editor-in-chief in 2016, the year the leading Hungarian political daily newspaper was shut down for political reasons.

He started at his current workplace in 2017. Awarded several times for his professional achievements in Hungary,  and nominated for the Press Freedom Award of Reporters Without Borders. Author of four books.

Christian Davies

Christian Davies is a foreign correspondent based in Warsaw for the Guardian and Observer. He has written for the New Statesman, Foreign Policy, Haaretz, and the London Review of Books, and he is a columnist for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. In 2018, he received a commendation from the judges of the World Justice Project’s Anthony Lewis Prize for Exceptional Rule of Law Journalism.

James Shotter

James Shotter is the Central Europe Correspondent at the Financial Times. He joined the paper as a leader writer in 2010, and before moving to Warsaw worked as German banking correspondent in Frankfurt, and Switzerland and Austria correspondent in Zurich.

Franz Hofmann

Prof. Dr. Franz Hofmann, LL.M. (Cambridge) read law at the Universität Bayreuth and the University of Cambridge. He worked also as a research assistant at the Chair of Prof. Dr. Ansgar Ohly, LL.M. (Cambridge).

Franz Hofmann is a professor for Private Law, Intellectual Property and Technology Law at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.

His research focus is set on fundamental questions in the field of Intellectual Property Law and Unfair Competition Law as well as in the field of the Law of Remedies and liability questions. Particularly, he is interested in questions related to digitilization (e. g. copyright in the digital single market).


Bogusław Chrabota

A graduate and Ph.D. student at the Law Faculty of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Blogger, author of books, screenplays, press publicist and columnist. Academic lecturer. Debut in the independent press in 1986. He worked at TVP. From 1993 in TV Polsat, where he was the program director. The editor-in-chief of “Rzeczpospolita” since 2012.


Magdalena Adamowicz

Member of the European Parliament of the 9th term, doctor of law, solicitor, academic teacher.

Ms. Adamowicz graduated in law from the University of Gdańsk, and after completing her legal advisor apprenticeship, she obtained the professional title of solicitor. After defending her dissertation and obtaining a doctoral degree in legal sciences, she began working at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Gdańsk, and as an academic teacher at the university’s Faculty of Maritime Law. She graduated two schools of foreign law: the School of English and European Law’s introduction to English and E.U. law organized by the University of Cambridge, as well as the School of German Law’s Deutsche Rechtsschule Danzig organized by Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn. She specializes in maritime law, including maritime transport law and maritime insurance.

Ms. Adamowicz is a driving force behind the international coalition “Imagine There’s No Hate” (#ITNH), that she established following the tragic death of her husband Paweł Adamowicz, who was for more than two decades the mayor of the northern Polish city of Gdańsk and was stabbed while on stage at a charity event in January 2019 and died soon after. 

In the European Parliament, she is a Chair of the Delegation for relations with South Africa and sits on the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, Transport and Tourism Committee and the Legal Affairs Committee. She is also a member of the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.



Hans-Jörg Vehlewald

(55) is working as Chief Reporter Politics at BILD-Zeitung (Axel Springer SE). Born in Minden (Nordrhein-Westfalia) in 1964 he studied Political Sciences in (West-)Berlin from 1983-1989. In 1991 he finished Henri-Nannen-School (Gruner&Jahr) and worked for ARD (NDR-Radio), “Der Spiegel” (1991-2001). Since 2001 he is writing for BILD-Zeitung on national and international politics. He is married (since 1994) to a polish woman and has two children. 


Srdan Kosović

Srdan Kosović is an editor-in-chief of Vijesti (daily and website) the most influential and most read media in Montenegro. Vijesti are one of the very few independent media left in the country and Kosović has been in charge since fall of 2018. Kosović spent his entire professional career with Vijesti, starting of as an online journalist and becoming an editor-in-chief at the age of 30. He is recognized as a human rights advocate and is known also for his political columns. Kosović also works as a consultant for developing online media outlets and writes for regional media outlets.

Aleksandra Karasinska
Editor-in-Chief Newsweek.pl & Forbes.pl

Editor and journalist with 20 years of experience in major Polish and international media: TVN24, Polsat TV, Radio Zet, Newsweek, Wprost, Forbes Women. An expert for internet content publishing & distribution, TV production, print magazines. Recently working on digital paid content and data driven paywalls. Interested in everything involving media, internet, and technology. She teaches digital journalism on SWPS university and Wroclaw University (Digital Media Campus)

Alen Galovic
24sata, Croatia

Croatian writer, journalist and editor. He was executive editor of Globus weekly newsmagazin and editor-in-chief of Express weekly magazine, now he is a deputy editor-in-chief of the 24sata daily (newspaper with the highest circulation and the most visited news portal in Croatia). Galovic is the author of several books and is also an award-winning Croatian poet.

Deniz Yücel

Is a award-winning journalist. He was born 10 September 1973 as child of Turkish immigrants in Flörsheim (Germany). He studied political science and worked as editor and author for the German weekly Jungle World daily die tagszeitung. In May 2015, he began to work as Turkey correspondent for the newspaper Die Welt. In February 2017, he was imprisoned for “terror propaganda” and spend one year without an indictment in high security prison Siliviri No. 9; the most of the in solitary confinement. Turkish president Erdogan blamed him as “terrorist” and “spy”, in the same time he received strong support from his colleagues in German media, from the German civil society and from the government. In February 2018, he was released. The trial is still continuing. In October 2019, he published his book Agentterrorist about his time in prison.

Robert Kroplewski

Robert Kroplewski is a legal adviser, a long-term practice of technological convergence and a specialist in the field of new technologies law and their transfer, electronic media and social communication services (since 1994). Founder and owner of kroplewski.com law firm. In 2016, he was appointed Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Digitization for the Information Society. Since June 2018, he has been a member of the high-level expert group on AI Strategy for the European Commission (AIHLEG), and since November 2018 he has been nominated by OCED also as an AI expert in the AIGO group.

Marko Stjepanović

Marko Stjepanović (46) is Editor in Chief of Blic.rs and Digital Editorial Director of Ringier Axel Springer for Hungary, Slovakia end Serbia.

For 23 years in print and online journalism worked his way from the bottom to the top: part time journalist, full time, deputy section editor, editor, executive editor, deputy EIC, EIC, Editorial Director.

Produced and designed more than 500 front pages of Blic, the biggest and the most influental daily newspaper in Serbia for past 20 years, while at the same time leading digital editorial operations of Ringier Axel Springer in Serbia for the last 10 years.    

Believes in tabloid journalism as the best way of spreding liberal values. Dedicated to finding sustainable business model for independent journalism.

Guy Berger

Guy Berger is UNESCO’s director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, based in Paris. He oversees programmes that promote press freedom and freedom of information, safety of journalists, media development, and media and information literacy. These activities cover media online and offline, and include UNESCO’s Internet Freedom Series and UNESCO’s indicator framework for assessing Internet Universality. He oversaw the production of UNESCO’s 2015 publication “Building digital safety for journalism” and the 2019 In-Focus edition of UNESCO’s report on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development (provisionally titled “Expanded attacks, Stronger Responses – Assessing the Safety of Journalists (2014-2018)”. He is also author of several published articles on journalism safety.

Berger previously headed the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, South Africa.

Kasia Kozłowska

Kasia Kozłowska has 15 years’ experience in editing newspapers and books. Since January 2019 she’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Fakt (the biggest Polish newspaper) and Fakt24.pl. Prior to that, she was a managing editor of the Magazine of Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (Daily Legal Gazette). In the period 2008-2010 she was the deputy editor of “Wprost” and in the period 2007-2008 she served as the deputy editor of ”Super Express”, the second biggest Polish newspaper. She was also involved in several publishing ventures of different scale, for e.g. a non-fiction book outlet.

She studied journalism at Warsaw University. Since 2013 she’s been the mentor for the Vital Voices Poland international organization.

Zied Ounissi

Zied Ounissi – Advisor in communication and press relations at the national delegation against racism, antisemitism and homophobia (DILCRAH) in France. Directly attached to the French Prime Minister’s office, the DILCRAH is in charge of the coordination of the anti-racism, antisemitism and anti-homophobia state policy. The DILCRAH works with all the main ministries such as the ministries of education, interior, justice and culture. The DILCRAH has notably coordinated the nation plan against racism and antisemitism 2018-2020 that focuses on the regulation of online’s hate speeches.

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