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Politicians construct and journalists search for reality?

Plenary / Panel
english language


Professor of Journalism, City University; Media Commentator; Blogger, The Guardian, London Abstract
In every society, from the dawn of newspapers onwards, the political elite have sought to manage the output of journalists. So journalists, having first been required to wrestle freedom from political control, have always regarded politicians with suspicion. There is a seemingly ever-present fear among journalists, even in advanced democracies, that their freedom could be compromised by politicians at any moment. No matter that the political and media élites often overlap, in Britain the rivalry between them remains intense and unrelenting. Both believe they are acting in the public interest and, quite plausibly, both may be correct. The outcome of the conflict, as both struggle to control the news agenda, is ultimately good for society. Neither side, however, will agree that it is so.
Spokesperson, Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations, New York Abstract
Reality is not absolute. As John Lennon once said, "Reality leaves a lot to imagination" . Politicians undoubtedly put their spin on events and messages, however, that´s their job if they want to succeed in convincing people that their policies are reasonable. But also journalists offer their perspectives, by stressing facts or leaving others out. Politicians tend to describe a glass as half full, whereas most journalists will call it half empty. The reality is the same, judgements differ. These discussions about judgements between politicians and journalists are rather healthy for a check-and-balance democracy - as long as they are based on facts, not (only) on emotions or a mental state.
Director of Communications under former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Writer, Broadcaster and Commentator, London Abstract
When Barack Obama observed "I am who the media says I am. I say what they say I say. I become who they say I've become" he was a frustrated politician still on the ascent to power. He would not say the same today. Effective politicians can be what they want to be. Those who exaggerate the power of journalists weaken themselves and normally fail fully to achieve their potential. Politicians can create reality. Some journalists seek to understand and illuminate that reality. Others less interested in the facts are more concerned to tackle a different reality, the competitive market in which they operate. These less fastidious journalists are as likely to distort the truth as a weak politician who believes he can make something real by claiming it is real.
Stellvertretender Chefredakteur, Die Presse, Wien
Co-founder and Editor, Agentura.Ru, Moscow Abstract
In 2000s the new media in Russia were considered as the last stand for democracy: it was the only part of the media that was able to operate freely since television came under government control and the newspapers fell into the hands of oligarchs loyal to the Kremlin. But the true reason of the adopted soft-line might be simpler. The Russian new media is unlikely to pose any threat to the authorities, being dependent as it is for its content on the few surviving independent newspapers. In turn, the printed media are cautious in using the information published on the websites, as the latest example shows, when in July the Russian secret service FSB documents were published on the Internet (the same time as Wikileaks published Afghanistan's documents) and went completely unnoticed because Russian printed press did not cover the story.
Online Journalist,, Budapest Abstract
In my presentation I am going to talk about two political events, an earlier and a recent one. My aim is to show how these events are presented in the Hungarian political media.
The first event is the Hungarian Socialist Party´s (HSP) congress held last April when delegates accepted the new prime minister, the free market-orientated Mr. Bajnai, and they sang the Internationale, the anthem of the international working-class movement.
In connection with the second event I would like to point out how the speaker of Parliament, Mr. Schmitt was elected the President of Hungary by the Parliament in June.
I have chosen two papers and a news portal: left-wing Népszava (" People´s Voice") related to HSP, the Christian-conservative Magyar Nemzet ("Hungarian Nation"), close to the recent government and its party, Fidesz and finally a news portal, the independent, more or less liberal HírszerzQ (" Intelligence Agent" ,
I shall present not only reports but pictures too.


Professor of Journalism, City University; Media Commentator; Blogger, The Guardian, London

  Worked for: Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Sunday Times
1969 Journalist, The Sun
  Professor of Journalism, City University London
 Mr. Greenslade writes a daily blog about the media for The Guardian website and is the media columnist for the London Evening Standard.
1990-1991 Editor, Daily Mirror


Spokesperson, Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations, New York

1988-1996 Journalist with Profil, News and Cash Flow
1996-1998 Spokesperson, Austrian Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hannes Farnleitner, Vienna, Austria
2000-2001 Senior Consultant, Control Risks Germany, Berlin, Germany
2001-2006 Spokesperson for European and Foreign Affairs, Austrian Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, Vienna, Austria
2007-2008 Head of Shanghai Office, Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws), Shanghai, China
since 2008 Spokesperson, Austrian Mission to the United Nations, New York City, USA


Director of Communications under former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Writer, Broadcaster and Commentator, London

1977-1980 Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Oxford University (Hertford College)
1977-1980 Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Oxford University (Hertford College)
1980-1982 News Trainee, BBC News
1982 Scriptwriter, BBC TV News, London
1982-1986 Reporter, BBC TV and Radio News, Belfast
1986-1987 General News Reporter, BBC Radio News
1987-1989 Foreign Affairs and Defence Correspondent, BBC TV and Radio News
1989-1998 Political Correspondent, BBC TV and Radio News, London
1998-2000 Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London
2000-2001 Director of Communications, The Labour Party, London
since 2001 Freelance broadcaster, writer and political commentator. Consultant: politics and media affairs

Dr. Michael PRÜLLER

Stellvertretender Chefredakteur, Die Presse, Wien

1986 Dr. juris, Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg
1987 Diplomstudium, Institut Européen des Hautes Etudes Internationales, Nizza
1996-1999 Senior Consultant, PR- und Werbeagentur Ogilvy & Mather, Wien
2000-2004 Ressortleiter, Wirtschaftsressort ("Economist"), Tageszeitung "Die Presse"
seit 2004 Stellvertretender Chefredakteur, Tageszeitung "Die Presse"


Co-founder and Editor, Agentura.Ru, Moscow

 Andrei Soldatov graduated from Moscow State Social University and began his career in journalism in 1996, working as a correspondent for Segodnya, Izvestia, Versiya, Moscow News and Novaya Gazeta. In September 2000, together with colleagues, he launched the investigative website Agentura.Ru, which covers developments related to terrorism and to the security services in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Soldatov covered the Moscow theatre hostage crisis in 2002 and the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004. For Novaya Gazeta, he covered the Lebanon War in 2006 and tensions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Together with his colleague, deputy editor Irina Borogan, he wrote the book, The New Nobility: A Contemporary History of Russia s Intelligence Services (PublicAffairs Books, 2010).


Online Journalist,, Budapest

1993-1998 Bachelor and teacher of history, University of Miskolc
1996-2005 Bachelor and teacher of political sciences, University of Miskolc
2004-2005 Department of Journalist Studies, National Association Of Hungarian Journalists
1990 Member, Election Monitoring Comittee during the local elections
1994 Member, Election Monitoring Comittee during the parliamentary elections
1998-2000 Teacher of History, Kürt Secondary Grammar School
since 2000 Journalist
2000 Polling Supervisor during the Parliamentary Elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina
2000 International Observer during the Parliamentary Elections in Serbia
2003 Member, Election Monitoring Comittee
2005 Journalist and Editor, Echo Television Online
2006-2009 Outside Correspondent, Szombat and
since 2007 Outside Correspondent,
2001-2004 Identities of the Contemporary Hungarian Jewry, sponsored by 20th Century Institute
2001 Methodological Problems of Shoa s Teaching In Secondary Schools, sponsored by Ministry of Education and Yad Vashem Institute, Jerusalem, Israel
2004 Summer Seminar by China Youth Corps, sponsored by Government of Republic of China, Taipei, China

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