Open Society Forum focuses on Islam and illiberalism ({{commentsTotal}})

Women wearing burqa (the woman on the right is wearing chador) Source: (Shah Marai/AFP/Scanpix)

The annual Open Society Forum “Who are all these people? Tackling the Polarization of Democratic Societies” will take place today in Tallinn. ERR News broadcasted the forum live.

The forum is organized by the Open Estonia Foundation (OEF) – a non-governmental not-for-profit public benefit foundation established in 1990 with the support of philanthropist George Soros.

“When talking about Islam in Europe we need to touch upon a number of different topics. Open Society Forum will focus on immigration, theology, extremism, social and cultural rights, tolerance, democracy, history and future,” the organizers said.

This year's keynote speaker will be one of the most influential Pakistani writers, Ahmed Rashid. His speech will be followed by a conversation with Quentin Peel, journalist and member of the British think tank Chatham House.


The second panel of the Forum will focus on the role of media on the rise of illiberalism. The recent years have witnessed a growing support to social trends all over Europe that differ substantially from the liberal consensus. Some of them have grown into parties that have achieved remarkable political power in their countries (Front Nationale, UKIP). In other cases, there are social movements (Pegida).

The forum aims to find an answer to questions such as what is the role of media in that context, does media have a social responsibility and where are the limits of freedom of speech and who can enforce them. It will take a look at these topics in the context of Scandinavia and the Baltic countries.

In the panel will be Mika Pettersson, editor in chief of the Finnish news agency STT-Lehtikuva, Didzis Melbiksis, Latvian freelance journalist, Bernt Olufsen, a journalist from Norway and Anvar Samost, director of BNS news agency. Urve Eslas from Postimees newspaper will moderate the panel.

Editor: S. Tambur

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