Members of the EMPA gather in Estonia to learn about its defence forces
The European Military Press Association (EMPA) 35th Congress was held in Tartu and Tallinn, Estonia from 23 to 27 September. The aim of the congress was to introduce military journalists and editors with Estonian Defence Forces and the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL). This was already the second EMPA’s congress that took place in the Baltic States; EMPA’s 2008 Congress was held in Latvia.
EMPA’s 2014 Congress gathered more than 30 chief editors and journalists from military newspapers and periodicals as well as public relations specialists from Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Finland, Switzerland, Hungary and Germany.
During EMPA’s General Meeting association’s annual accomplishments were evaluated, such as the transfer of EMPA’s Archives to Switzerland – Bern Library Am Guisanplatz, work during Riga Conference 2014, possible design improvements and other tasks concerning association’s website www.empamil.eu, and EPMA’s future plans were discussed.
During the congress, EMPA’s 2014 Best Article and Best Photo Award winners were announced. Ms Vesna Pintarić from Croatia was awarded with EMPA’s 2014 Best Article Award for her article “Two villages – two worlds apart” that was published in magazine Hrvatski vojnik. Her article tells about the current situation in Afghanistan. Ms Velli Ehasalu from Estonia was awarded with EMPA’s 2014 Best Photo Award for her photo from military exercise Põhjakonn published in journal Kaitse Kodu!.
While in Tartu, the congress’ participants got acquainted with the BALTDEFCOL and had a chance to interview college students from the respective countries that were represented at the congress.
PhD Halliki Harro-Loit, the Head of Institute of Social Studies of the University of Tartu gave a lecture “Do we need a professional education in journalism?” EMPA’s members from Norway Mr. Erling Eikla and Mr. Tor Eigil Stordahl gave a presentation “Independent magazine in the armed forces – the Norwegian experience”. The two lectures were followed by discussions among the University of Tartu students and EMPA’s congress participants.
The congress’ program for Tartu ended with discussion on situation in Ukraine where various topics of national security, security guarantees from NATO, sanctions, possible consequences and responsibilities were discussed.
EMPA’s congress participants visited the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn where they were introduced to the centre’s functioning, and discussed current issues in cyber security.
Colonel Aivar Jaeski, Chief of Strategic Communications Department of Estonian Defence Forces briefed congress’ participants on Estonian Defence Forces. During the congress, EMPA’s members visited the Estonian Defence Forces 1st Infantry (Scout) Battalion and Kalev Battalion in Ämari Airbase.
EMPA’s 36th Congress will be held in Germany from 29 September to 1 October. During next year’s congress, the members of association will be introduced to German Bundeswehr and state security policy; they will be able to participate in events commemorating the 25th anniversary of German reunification.