As part of Medienwoche@IFA


Global Democracy –  A Triumph for Social Networks?

How Blogs and Social Media Networks boost Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech

September 8, 2011, Potsdam


For the seventh time, the international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium has invited leading media professionals to the Sanssouci Gardens of Potsdam.

Every year, the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium plays host to roughly 80 of international important editors-in-chief and decision-makers in Potsdam’s historical palaces and gardens. Here, these prominent figures engage in discussions and debates on current political, social and media-policy matters. Over the course of the last years, the M100 has emerged as a modern bridge-builder between East and West that fosters a sustainable dialogue between the media of various cultures and regions and that examines the influence of different media on global social and political processes.

The M100 colloquium provides Europe’s leading media representatives and radio, TV and print journalists with an opportunity to closely examine both the current role of the media and the daily challenges facing the media industry. The first colloquium held in 2005 marked the launch of a truly European forum that quickly became a meeting-point not only for Western media personalities but also increasingly for representatives from the emerging Eastern regions – from Moscow to Cairo and Tashkent. Although the global media continue to take advantage of new technologies and instant worldwide dissemination to play an increasingly prominent role in the shaping of international opinion, they nevertheless, at the same time, must often make do with less financial support. With this in mind, the M100 has set itself the task of promoting an open exchange of ideas, professional networks and a more intensive intercultural understanding. It also seeks to engender high-quality reporting that is both balanced and sustainable.

Topics and Objectives 2011

The Arab revolution has demonstrated the influence and power that blogs and social networks can have in helping the people of the Middle East to demand an end to dictatorships and autocracies.

In three consecutive workshops the impact and power that blogs and social networks can have in overcoming dictatorships and despotic systems will be discussed and whether the riots would have been possible without Facebook, Twitter & Co. Moreover, different questions arise, including whether blogs and social networks also will play a political role in the aftermath of revolutions; to what extend autocratic governments exploit the technologies for their own ends and against the activists; what consequences the Arab revolution has for Eastern Europe, Iran and China; how Iran currently attempting to develop its own, censored version of the internet, creating a false sense of internet freedom amongst the population; what role American and European technology companies play selling their products to autocratic governments; how Skype and Facebook are not used by activists only, but are also infiltrated and controlled by governments; and what consequences the development involves for the traditional media.


In 2011, the conference is supported by the Federal Capital of Potsdam, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the Foreign Ministry, ZEIT foundation, Bertelsmann AG, Google, and Air Berlin. Co-operation partners are Freedom House, Radio Free Europe and Reporters without Borders. Kindly supported by Google, Air Berlin, and Plista.

The M100 Sanssouci Colloquium is an initiative of the Federal Capital of Potsdam, the association Potsdam Media International and takes place as part of Medienwoche@IFA.