IFEX: Narrowing the Digital Divide: Increased Press Freedom Campaigning through ICT Capacity-Building
An estimated 75 per cent of the world's population lives under serious restrictions on free expression and the mass media. While there are improvements in press freedom in some countries, problems can arise in others, so groups must constantly be vigilant in monitoring press freedom conditions. In its development, IFEX has had its challenges most notably in confronting the widening digital divide. While many IFEX members based in the North have implemented highly sophisticated campaigns and communications strategies using ICT, many members based in developing countries or countries in transition still face the most basic issues in ICT development: a lack of infrastructure, knowledge base and culture for using the Internet in their country; prohibitive costs for using the Internet; limited access to hardware and software, etc. IFEX places high importance on developing the communications capacity of its members as part of its work of campaigning and fostering partnerships. This request for IPDC support is made following an IFEX survey that revealed that groups require ICT support more than anything else if they are to advance their work. All parts of the project are new activities, never before undertaken by IFEX. The beneficiaries of this project will be about 6 of IFEX's 35 member organisations based in developing countries or countries in transition, and groups that are expected to become members of the network. Some of the groups are small and still developing, while others are larger but still need help to improve their ICT capacity (see IFEX members list at: www.ifex.org). The partner groups IFEX will work with promote and defend freedom of expression in the following regions: Middle East-North Africa (MENA), East Africa, South Asia, Latin America, CIS and Eastern Europe.