Storytelling as Resistance

The challenge is bigger than “fake news”: resistance against populism, disinformation and hate speech

In many ways, the current coronavirus pandemic serves as a catalyst for distributing lies, misleading information and conspiracy theories. The effects of disinformation, hate speech and populist speech on political life and democratic and social values are now becoming brutally visible. On 2 October, we will discuss strategies for resisting populism, the spread of disinformation and internet and social media use to propagate hate speech.
During a one-day conference on 2 October 2, we will discuss strategies for resisting populism, the spread of disinformation and internet and social media use to propagate hate speech.

In this context, we will address the challenges of fighting the distribution of misleading information and lies online, and resisting the discursive effect that disinformation and populist speech have on democratic and social values. Together we will discuss online platforms’ impact on political communication. What are the negative and positive effects of online networks on political mobilization? What influence does the dissemination of lies have on the political climate? How can we resist the effects that disinformation can have? And how should hate speech be addressed?

Looking at these questions and challenges, we will discuss with experts from wide-ranging disciplines how we, as storytellers, can address the problems of disinformation and hate speech.



Date: October 2, 2020
Time: 8:30 am  - 5:30 pm
Location: HRFFB Festival Centre @ BUFA, Oberlandstraße 26-35, 12099 Berlin

Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, only a limited number of people can participate in the events in person. However, the entire event and sessions in smaller groups will also be available to virtual participants. Registration is required for online participation, but no participation fee is charged. More about the CONFERENCE TICKETS here.


08:30 - 09:00am: Arrival & Check In

Please arrive on time, so that you have enough time to get your accreditation and a coffee.

09:00 - 09:30 am: „You are Fake News!“: Disinformation in times of digital structural change of the public sphere

Alexander Sängerlaub (Stiftung Neue Verantwortung e.V.)

09:30 - 09:50am: How to Make Media Matter When the World Is On Fire

Sam Soko (Director "Softie)

09:50 - 10:30am: How to Combat Targeted Disinformation

A conversation between Fabian Reicher (Social Worker) and Daniel Laufer ( Moderated by Cristina Helberg (Journalistin)

10:30 - 11:00am: BREAK

Networking, Coffee and Cake.

11:00 - 12:00am: Forms of Resistance

A conversation between Douglas Herman (director "Even After Death"), Michael Ruf (director, "Mittelmeer Dialoge"), Berghof Foundation. Moderated by Initiative für eine offene Gesellschaft.

12:00 - 12:30pm: How citizens perceive online hate speech and what they want to be done about it

A presentation by Simon Munzert (Assistant Professor of Data Science and Public Policy, Hertie)

12:30 - 01:00pm: Already Everything Lost, or Still Hope in the Fight Against State Surveillance?

Constanze Kurz (Speaker Chaos Computer Club & Activist) in Conversation With Lennart Mühlenmeier (Freelance Journalist).


Network and enjoy a delicious vegan or vegetarian lunch.

2:00 - 2:45pm: The Negative and Positive Effects of Online Networks on Political Mobilization

Discussion with Markus Beckedahl (

2:45 - 3:30pm: The Rise of Populism and Threats to Journalists

A panel organized by Reporters Without Borders:

Juliane Matthey (Media Relations Officer, Reporters Without Borders), Marie Declercq (Brazil; Journalist writing for UOL TAB about human rights, sexuality, pornography, politics and internet culture) and Kirstin McCudden (USA; Managing editor for the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker)

3:45 - 4:45pm: Resistance Against Populism: Comparative Perspectives

A Panel organized by the Hertie School:

Małgorzata Szuleka (Lawyer at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland), Ezel Buse Sönmezocak (Human Rights Lawyer and Aktivist, Turkey) and Başak Çalı (Professor of International Law & Co-Director, Centre for Fundamental Rights).

4:45 - 5:30pm: Activism & Shrinking Spaces

Njeri Mwangi (Kenyan Activist, Protagonist "Softie")

5:30 - 5:45pm: Whistle Blowers - Beyond Borders

Margje de Koning (Artistic Director, Movies That Matter)

5:45 - 6:00pm: Closing Remarks

Anna Ramskogler-Witt (Human Rights Film Festival Berlin)

Further Conferences at the Human Rights Film Forum

Date: October 1, 2020

Start: 8:30 am

End: 6:00 pm

More Information


Storytelling can be a powerful tool to expose injustice, fight stigmatization and encourage others to stand up and speak out. On 1 October, we will discuss the impact of best case examples, the risks survivors face and new media guidelines. We will also learn about trauma-sensitive approaches and the need for mindful storytelling. 

Date: October 5, 2020

Start: 8:30 am

End: 6:30 pm

More Information


On 5 October, Berlin will host internationally renowned experts from a wide range of fields. Together with experts and storytellers, as well as representatives of German politics and civil society, we will think about how we can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the challenges we face and how to overcome them.

Date: October 6-8, 2020

Start: 8:30 am

Ende: 6:00 pm

More Information


Climate communication is more critical than ever before: we need excellent storytelling to achieve its full potential and reach the audiences that matter. Out of this conviction, we will bring the Climate Story Lab to Berlin to discuss sustainable storytelling with experts. Together, we aim to create innovative, diverse and sustainable climate storytelling approaches and foster transdisciplinary partnerships.

2. OCTOBER 2020