Open Estonia Foundation

12:40-13:00  Welcome coffee

13:00-13:05  Welcome message from Mrs. Mall Hellam, Executive Director of the Open Estonia Foundation

13:05-13:20  Keynote speech by Mr. Ahmed Rashid, Journalist and Writer, Pakistan

13:20-14:30  1st Panel: Islam as Part of Europe

Recently one of the most debated topics in public sphere has been that of Islam. It rarely fails to create strong emotions and it sells well as news. Yet the current and future role of Islam in Europe and the world deserves a serious, learned and honest debate. Talking Islam means talking about panoply of issues. It means talking about civil and cultural rights, tolerance, immigration, theology, extremism, history, and the future.


  • Mr. Ahmed Rashid, Journalist and Writer, Pakistan
  • Mr. Ilmar Raag, Strategic Communication Adviser for the Estonian Government, media executive, screenwriter and film director, Estonia
  • Moderated by Mr. Quentin Peel, Journalist and Mercator Senior Fellow at Chatham House, UK

14:30-15:00  Coffee break

15:00-16:30  2nd Panel: Media in Face of the Rise of Democratic Illiberalism

Recent years have seen the rise of illiberal societal forces across Europe. Some of them, like France’s Front Nationale or UK’s UKIP, have formed into political parties and have, by democratic means, gained considerable power in several countries in Europe. Others, like PEGIDA, have remained social movements. Yet the tide can clearly be felt. It is in this context that the role of the media comes into question. Is there a societal responsibility that is held by the media? Where are the limits of free speech and if there are any, who sets them and how? We talk about these issues in the context of Scandinavia and the Baltics.


  • Mr. Anvar Samost, CEO, Baltic News Service (BNS), Estonia
  • Mr. Mika Pettersson, Editor-in-Chief and CEO, STT-Lehtikuva, Finland
  • Mr. Didzis Melbiksis, Freelance journalist, Latvia
  • Mr. Bernt Olufsen, Journalist, Norway
  • Moderated by Mrs. Urve Eslas, Journalist of Postimees, Estonia

16:30   Reception and snacks   

The foundation works to help develop open society in Estonia and other countries