Free Media Awards 2018 - Conference in Yerevan

The 2018 Free Media Awards will be bestowed at the Free Media Awards conference in Yerevan, Armenia under the auspices of Fritt Ord and ZEIT-Stiftung, on Tuesday 2 October 2018.

The awards go to: 
  • Chai Khana in South-Caucasus for their efforts to bring attention to under-reported news stories spanning national borders in the region
  • Fontanka in Russia for their coverage of ongoing and forgotten conflicts
  • The Belarusian website Belarus Partisan for their tireless investigative work, also following the murder of their editor-in-chief in 2016.

Read more about the laureates here.

The conference is free and open to the public. 

Venue: The Opera Suite Hotel, Mozart Hall
Address: 1 Baghramyan Street 1, 3, 0019 Yerevan, Armenia


9.15 – 9.30: Welcome

Dr. Knut Olav Åmås, Executive Director, The Fritt Ord Foundation

Prof. Dr. Michael Göring, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ZEIT-Stiftung


Panel I: 9.30 – 10.45: Media entrepreneurship and failure as opportunity


Free Media Awards 2018: Chai Khana


Panel participants:

Caroline Sutcliffe, founder and director of Chai Khana, Tbilisi, Georgia –South Caucasus

Jura Manvelyan, editor of, Yerevan ( received the award in 2014). A view from Armenia.

Monica Ellena, editor of Chai Khana, Tbilisi, Georgia – South Caucasus


Moderator: Silvia Stöber, freelance journalist specialized for more than ten years on development in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia for the German public broadcaster ARD and other media, and a jurymember for the Free Media Awards.


Panel II: 10.55 – 12.10: 20 years of media crackdown


Free Media Awards 2018: Belarus Partisan


Panel participants

Svetlana Kalinkina, editor, Belarusian Partisan, Minsk, Belarus

Zaruhi Mejlumyan, former journalist and head of the information block in the State Supervision Service, Jerevan, Armenia (she received the award in 2017). A view from Armenia.

Juri Durkot, journalist and translator, Lviv, Ukraine, and a jury member for the Free Media Awards. A view from Ukraine.


Moderator: Martin Paulsen, Eastern Europe expert with a PhD in Russian language from the University of Bergen, and a jury member for the Free Media Awards.


12.15: Lunch at the hotel


Panel III: 14.00 – 15.15: Rules for successful independent media in modern Russia


The Free Media Awards 2018: Fontanka


Panel participants:

Alexsander Gorshkov, editor-in-chief of, St. Petersburg, Russia

Marianna Grigoryan, director and editor-in-chief of MediaLab Newsroom-Laboratory, Jerevan, Armenia (she received the award in 2009). A view from Armenia.

Guri Norstrøm, Europe correspondent for NRK (The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation), Berlin, Germany, and a jury member for the Free Media Awards. A view from Germany/Norway/Central Europe.


Moderator: Alice Bota, Moscow correspondent for the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT, and a jury member for the Free Media Awards.

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