International Human Rights Day in Riga

Weblogbericht | 22-12-2017

Geschreven door Sanita Sīle.

To pay attention to International Human Rights Day, the Netherlands Embassy in Riga together with local NGOs held two film screenings from "Movies that Matter", this year focusing on both LGBT rights and on Freedom of Expression.

International Human Rights Day - Who's Gonna Love Me Now

The screening of the “Who’s Gonna Love Me Now” took place on December 10, the movie was added to a whole-day program to celebrate the International Human Rights Day. The main organizers of the event was the Amnesty International Latvia, the program also had movies provided by the Danish Cultural Institute and the French Institute in Latvia. The event took place at a broadly accessible public location, a cultural center in Riga which is very popular among younger audiences, Kaņepes Kultūras Centrs. For this screening, the Embassy just ensured the availability of the movie and attended the screening, we were less actively involved in all the organizational aspects of the event.


Freedom of Expression: 'Laughter and Democracy'

As media independence and media diversity are high on the Embassy’s list of current policy priorities, the movie addressing the freedom of expression was a logical choice for organizing a bigger event, which took place on December 14. The Embassy formed a partnership with the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence (BCME) to co-host a public discussion “Laughter and Democracy – conversation about the role of humor in public debate”, also taking into account the story of “Tickling Giants”. The panel was moderated by the executive director of the BCMI, Ms Rita Ruduša and it consisted of two stand-up comedians, both locally well-known for political satire, and the head of online petitions site A number of media specialists, colleagues from other embassies and ministries active in the field of media were invited to the event via personalized invitations. The gathering was made accessible to wider audiences by promoting it via public Facebook event. The screening was hosted at a local art-house cinema, Kino Bize, and the event was concluded with an informal networking reception. In total, the audience consisted of around 40 people. 

It can be said that organizing such event strengthened the position of the Embassy as one of the international community’s stakeholders in the independent media scene. A few valuable contacts of local journalists were added to the Embassy’s network as a result of the screening.

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