Global Freedom of Expression

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5 to 8 October

IFEX Strategy Conference for Freedom of Expression Defenders

  • 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Port of Spain Trinidad

October 5-8, 2015 IFEX Strategy Conference and General Meeting in Trinidad will have over 170 participants from 70 different countries. Columbia Global Freedom of Expression’s Project Manager Dr. Hawley Johnson will give a presentation on the Global Case Law Database during the panel discussion “Digital Collaborations: Benefits, risks, and opportunities.”

Conference Details

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It is Complicated.

Free expression issues are complex, and talking about them isn’t always easy. Some of the thorniest topics are those around limits: where, if anywhere, lines should be drawn, under what conditions, and who should get to draw them.

As a network, IFEX is choosing to meet this challenge head on at our Strategy Conference this year—-providing a space where we can talk about these complicated issues, exchange ideas, enrich and expand on our understanding, and find ways to work together to create a safer and richer environment for freedom of expression around the world.

So… What’s having an impact on us? 

We’ll be talking about what’s having an impact on us, as freedom of expression defenders—and what we can do, individually and together to have a bigger impact, in our own countries and around the world.

In IFEX’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, the vision statement describes what our network is working toward: a world where everyone is free to exercise their right to freedom of expression and information without fear, and is able to access, generate and share ideas and information in any way they choose.

The reference to “without fear” was, of course, intentional. One of the realities affecting free expression defenders, and possibly one that is growing in power and influence, is an atmosphere of fear. Fear that is experienced, that is succumbed to, that is, in some cases, created and manipulated.

Whether it is ISIS using fear as a weapon, trolls bullying people into silence online, individuals fearing targeted acts of violence or the loss of their hard-won democratic freedoms, communities fearing marginalization, or states fearing the loss of power and playing on their citizen’s fears in the name of “national security”—fear and the way people respond to it is threatening progress toward a world where people are better able to “access, generate and share ideas and information in any way they choose.“

Issues of limitations on the right to free expression, where the line is between defending people’s right to offend but not incite violence or discrimination, whether (and how) to measure the intention, or impact, of words… these lie at the heart of discussions, disagreements and soul-searching among our free expression community, and IFEX members are directly engaged in these debates. Some of these conversations heated up again most recently after the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo at the beginning of this year.

So, how is all of this affecting our work? What needs to change? What can we do to help bring about that change?

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Who’s talking?

Join the IFEX network of over 95 member organisations and some of our most active and engaged colleagues in the world of human rights.

We’ll be facilitating solutions-oriented discussions with individuals on the free expression front lines, civil society organizations, UN Special Rapporteurs, and media representatives.

We represent so many stakeholders, so many actors working at so many different levels – let’s work our network, make some connections, share strategies and come up with some plans to bring about change that allow us all to build on our strengths, for increased impact in our work.

Connect, contribute, collaborate, change.