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ECPMF Journalist-in-Residence: "All of us are alive because in Leipzig, laying low and protective visibility are two sides of the same coin"

The ECPMF has sheltered journalists since 2016. As of the summer of 2018, eight journalist have taken a time out in Leipzig to research, write and recover.

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Journalists-in-Residence in their own words

 

For an extended period of time, I was doing my job in the midst of urban warfare: Howitzers in the streets, house-to-house fighting, the constant fear of being exposed as a journalist reporting for a western media outlet. The three months I spent in Leipzig mean so much to me. Already after a few days, I could sense my tension ease: No explosions, no gunfire at midnight, but a peaceful and quiet environment instead. Thinking freely, moving freely and exchanging ideas freely, none of all this is possible if you live in a war zone. I enjoyed spending time with the ECPMF team, and I‘m grateful for the opportunities they created for me to share my story. I appreciated the psychological support I received, and the very helpful coaching on data security. Without exaggeration I can say that I fell in love with Leipzig. Not only did I get to know new interesting people, but also met real friends. Thank you, ECPMF!“

(female journalist, Ukraine)

 

I am a journalist from Turkey and as such I can’t stress enough how important it is for us non-EU journalists to know that safe spaces like the Journalists-in-Residence Programme exist. This may surprise you, but after having been to a number of the world’s celebrated cities in the past, I’d never expected that a smaller city like Leipzig would be the one were I would feel most at home. But the city made it easy for me to do so: Here, there is no harassment. I didn’t have to fear that my conversations were deliberatly overheard by bad guys in the streets or in a café. I felt truly safe. And because I did, I started to look ahead again. Hope is such a key factor if you are persecuted for simply doing your job. The coordinator of the programme gave me that hope. He always encouraged me and helped me see the brighter side of things when I was feeling down. I’ve expanded my network of contacts, have grown as a person, and my stay has certainly exceeded all my expectations.“

(female journalist, Turkey)

 

The sheltering programme in Leipzig is very relevant to a free press elsewhere in Europe, and I know from my own experience that the degree of protection is very effective. Yes, the ECPMF provides cozy apartments for its journalist guests and a pretty good deal all together. Most importantly though, the ECPMF offers a social environment: Among its protected journalists in Leipzig there are some extraordinary professionals. All of us are alive because in Leipzig, laying low and protective visibility are two sides of the same coin.”

(male journalist, Bulgaria)





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