Dialogues Present (Parontes): Is the news on lockdown?

Curated & Moderated by:
Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou
An open SNF Dialogues discussion delved into journalism in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, as part of iMEdD’s virtual Journalism Forum.
Wednesday 17 February 2021, at 17:00

On Wednesday, 17 February, at 18:30, the SNF Dialogues held an open discussion between journalists and the public on the current state of journalism in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, as part of the “Reflect, Reform, RestartJournalism Forum by iMEdD (incubator for Media Education and Development). The starting point for the Dialogues webcast was the avant-première of iMEdD’s inaugural documentary production "Parontes" (Present) by Yorgos Avgeropoulos, which took place online before the webcast. Avgeropoulos, as the main speaker, was joined by a group of reknowned journalists, photographers, and filmmakers who contributed to the production of the documentary, despite the current unprecedented conditions.

The film "Parontes" (Present), which evolved from the homonymous multi-media project, launched by iMEdD in April 2020, unfolds against the backdrop of the public healthcare system and follows prominent figures in the frontline of the Covid-19 response, as well as unsung heroes of the pandemic.

Those of us who are alive at this moment must be present with our entire being, in order to be able to see, observe, and react in memory of all those who have been lost. This loss should not be remembered with a mere reference to statistics.

<p><strong>Yorgos Avgeropoulos</strong>, Journalist and Filmmaker</p>

Yorgos Avgeropoulos, Journalist and Filmmaker

There is a one-sidedness in political discourse. I would feel better if I heard more critical voices from journalists,” Yorgos Avgeropoulos said, referring to issues that emerged in the Greek media as a result of the pandemic, adding that “as journalists, we have an obligation to counter this one-sidedness.”

Yorgos Avgeropoulos

Greece, in contrast to the rest of the world, is faced with the following paradox: No database on Covid-19 has been made available to journalists, universities, and the public. So, from almost the first day of the pandemic, the journalists at iMEdD Lab created an application that monitors the spread of the virus, making the data open to everyone. Indeed, the data has ended up being used by the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe for the purposes of updating its own application, in the absence of a corresponding database from the Hellenic National Public Health Organization (EODY).
Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou, iMEdD Managing Director, SNF Dialogues Executive Director and Journalist

In regard to everything we have learned after a full year under the shadow of Covid-19 and looking towards the future, Avgeropoulos commented that “there is a long road ahead of us. What concerns me is how we will comprehend the lessons learned from the pandemic in order to build a better tomorrow. We must not return to pre-pandemic policies. We must move forward as a society.”

The Dialogues discussion also featured Elena Apostolidou (journalist), Fenia Chala (journalist), Sofia Exarchou (screenwriter, director and producer), Phoebe Fronista (journalist, producer and videographer), Marianna Kakaounaki (journalist), Yannis Kolesidis (photojournalist), Kostas Koukoumakas (journalist), Giorgos Moutafis (photojournalist and filmmaker), Yannis Ntrenoyannis (journalist) and Alexia Tsagkari (reporter and filmmaker).

Phoebe Fronista

Giorgos Moutafis

Marianna Kakaounaki

Elena Apostolidou

Alexia Tsagkari

Kostas Koukoumakas

Yannis Kolesidis

Sofia Exarchou

Yannis Ntrenoyannis

The Dialogues discussion took place during the first day of the “Reflect, Reform, Restart” Journalism Forum held by iMEdD, dedicated to reflecting on the experience of the pandemic. Participants looked back at how last year affected journalism and society, and at what the pandemic meant for the possibilities of documenting news and reporting it to the public, while emphasizing the need for all of us to be present in this historic moment.

The SNF Dialogues are curated and moderated by Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou and are held through the journalism non-profit organization iMEdD (incubator for Media Education and Development).

*The opinions expressed by Dialogues participants, whether officially representing institutions and organizations or themselves alone, at events, in articles, or in other audiovisual media are solely their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) or iMEdD. Speakers’ remarks are made freely, without prior guidance or intervention from the team.