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Tampere Freedom of Speech Event: Media Freedom in the Story of Independent Ukraine

Tampere University
LocationKanslerinrinne 1, Tampere
Lecture hall Pinni B1097
28.9.2023 9.00–12.00
LanguageEnglish, Finnish
Entrance feeFree of charge
What is the meaning of freedom of speech and free media in the story of independent Ukraine? What can we learn from the experience of Ukrainians? What is the meaning of free speech in the war and the forthcoming massive rebuilding? We invite all pre-registered participants, especially the journalism students and staff of Tampere University, to participate in our unique pre-lunch seminar about Ukraine’s media and freedom.

We will hear about the developments of Ukraine’s freedom of speech and media from authoritative speakers. Our keynote comes from Ms Myroslava Gongadze, the American-Ukrainian journalist who is the Head of Voice of America’s (VOA) Eastern Europe Bureau and a witness to the story of Ukraine’s freedom of speech. In September, she will receive the Inamori Ethics Prize given to outstanding international leaders for their life-long work for a better humankind.

Ms Gongadze has interviewed numerous international and Ukrainian leaders as well as other powerholders. Last summer, her news reports, for example from the border of Lithuania and Belarus, were watched by audiences around the world. Along with her journalistic activity, Ms Gongadze is a mentor to Ukrainian journalists. She is the driving force behind the journalism prize that awards journalists in Ukraine who can find innovative ways of conveying information, create sustainable media, and remain faithful to professional principles. The prize carries the name Gongadze.

Unfortunately, the name Gongadze is also associated with a tragic context. Myroslava Gongadze is the widow of the brutally murdered journalist and media innovator Georgiy Gongadze. Mr Gongadze (1969–2000) was the founder and leader of the Ukrainian-language online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, one of the first independent media in Ukraine since the country’s new independence in 1991. Today, Ukrainska Pravda remains one of the largest Ukrainian-language news media. 

The death of Georgiy Gongadze shocked everyone and became the largest political scandal of its era as leaked audio files appeared to connect the then-President Leonid Kuchma to the murder. The case remains officially unsolved, despite the promises of several governments. For more than 20 years, Myroslava Gongadze has relentlessly fought for justice to Georgiy Gongadze in court. She moved to the US after the unsolved murder of her husband and actively supports many Ukrainian causes there.

The seminar consists of three parts. It includes a brief introduction to the development of Ukraine’s media freedom and society since 1991, the Tampere Freedom of Speech lecture by our guest of honour Myroslava Gongadze about media freedom in Ukraine, and a concluding panel discussion that delves deeper into the topics of the Tampere Freedom of Speech Declaration. 

Participating in the panel discussion are war reporter Antti Kuronen (YLE), correspondent Jussi Konttinen (Helsingin Sanomat), international affairs specialist Salla Nazarenko (Union of Journalists in Finland), chairperson Yrsa Grüne-Luoma (Reporters Without Borders Finland), researcher of public service and sustainable journalism Anna Maris (FOJO Media Institute, Sweden) and Finnish-Ukrainian cellist and film director student Lukas Stasevskiy.

The event is moderated by Editor-In-Chief Matti Posio, and Ukrainian journalist Yuliia Shchetyna who is currently living in Finland.

Conditions permitting, we will hear from the famous war reporter and photographer Andriy Dubchak, about his work in the frontlines with his media company Donbas Frontliner. The Mayor of Kyiv (Tampere’s sister city), Vitali Klitschko, is expected to take part in the seminar through a video recorded interview.

The event is free, but pre-registration is required. To participate, please register on the Finnish Cultural Foundation website and use the code PI2809.

There is space for 90 registered participants in the lecture hall. The seats will be filled in the order of registration.

The event will be live streamed, and a recording will later be made available for watching online.

NB! List of panel participants updated on Monday 25 September at 4.06pm. 


Finnish Cultural Foundation, Pirkanmaa Regional Fund

Further information

Matti Posio (Mr.), Initiator of Tampere Freedom of Speech Event and Chief Editor of Lännen Media, Tel. +358 40 7717828, Email: OR Silja Minkkinen-Poikolainen (Mrs.), Fund Officer for the Pirkanmaa Regional Fund of the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Tel. +358 50 385 7610, Email: