Each year on International Press Freedom Day, 3 May, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) organise Difference Day. It’s a way for the two universities to draw attention to the importance of press freedom, free speech and the often dangerous work of journalists.
The war in Ukraine, the work of journalists there and the fight for press freedom in the surrounding autocratic and dictatorial regimes, such as Belarus, are the focus of this year’s programme. VUB and ULB therefore award the annual Difference Day Honorary Title for Freedom of Expression to:
- The Belarus Association for Journalists (BAJ). For 26 years, BAJ has been fighting for the rights and support of Belarusian journalists and independent media threatened and persecuted by President Lukashenko’s autocratic regime.
- The Fix, an international organisation established by and for journalists, which since the beginning of the war has been at the foundation of a consortium that offers help to journalists in Ukraine.
Russian cartoonist Victoria Lomasko
Also present on Difference Day is Russia’s most famous cartoonist, Victoria Lomasko. She fled to Brussels in March with the help of Clin d’Oeil Films, a production house that makes documentaries about female cartoonists. She will exhibit her latest work – a contemporary Guernica – during Difference Day at Bozar. Her work will then move in turn to the campuses of VUB, ULB and EhB.
Programme: European Gala Award Ceremony for Freedom of Expression
Monday 2 May, Bozar Centre for fine Arts, Ravensteinstraat 23, 1000 Brussels
Host: Annelies Beck (VRT)
18.00 Registration & networking reception
19.00 Welcome to Difference Day by former VUB rector Caroline Pauwels
19.15 Guest speaker: Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Markets / Vera Jourova, European Commission Vice-President Values & Transparency (tbc)
20.00 Guest speaker: Bruno Beeckman, journalist, EBU
20.50 Presentation of the Difference Day Honorary Title
- Belarus Association for Journalists: Barys Haretski, deputy chair
- The Fix: Jakub Parusinski, editor
You are cordially invited to attend the ceremony. Please register with the press office. For press questions and requests for interviews with Barys Haretski, Jakub Parusinski or Victoria Lomasko, please contact Lies Feron, VUB press relations, via email ([email protected]) or 0484 59 05 50.
Difference Day 2022: 2-5 May
Difference Day 2022 is organised by Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université libre de Bruxelles, Erasmushogeschool Brussel, Bozar and the Evens Foundation. They are supported by the Flemish and French-speaking media, Bertelsmann, EBU, EPC, the European Parliament, the EC, the European Democracy Endowment fund and the media ministers of both regions. View the full programme here and send questions about the programme to [email protected]. A short summary of the highlights is attached.