Building Free Expression Advocacy Capacity in the MENA Region
The Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region continues to rank poorly in terms of political rights, civil liberties and press freedom, with harassment and threats towards journalists and human rights defenders being a routine occurrence. Instead of improving, the situation is worsening with governments clamping down recently on online freedom of speech leaving journalists too afraid of retribution to report honestly and critically. The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) works actively to fight this oppression of freedom of expression by emphasizing organizational capacity-building, the reporting of violations, and encouraging collaboration between countries on free expression advocacy. The purpose of this project from IFEX is to build the capacity of at least 14 MENA free expression advocates (from IFEX member and partner organizations) by conducting a week-long series of workshops and skills-exchange opportunities during which a campaign strategy building curriculum tailored specifically to the MENA context will be developed for future use. The project will result in participants acquiring the relevant skills and techniques for campaigning and advocacy work which they can consequently apply in their respective national contexts thus contributing to the creation of a more hospitable environment for media development, democratic government and the empowerment of civil society. OBJECTIVE To conduct a series of workshops and skills-exchange opportunities in order to equip 14 MENA-based free expression advocates with the relevant skills and techniques for campaigning and advocacy work in freedom of expression, tailored specifically to the MENA context.