Projects and activities under the Freedom of Expression (FOE) Programme are aimed at creating an environment in which people can express themselves freely and the media are independent, free and safe to contribute to governance processes. Some of the projects and activities that are rolled out under this programme include the following:
Free Expression Rights Monitoring: Having credible on-the-ground information is core to promoting, protecting and defending freedom of expression and media rights. The MFWA, therefore, invests a lot of resources to ensure that incidents of FOE violations (including expressions through protests) are tracked, reported and widely publicised with calls for redress or reparation.
Working with our national partner organisations in the respective countries, the MFWA, on a daily basis, monitors and reports on violations and other developments in the media and FOE (online & offline) landscape. The reports are published as Alerts and shared with our diverse stakeholders. Sometimes, the data gathered from the monitoring is used as evidence to initiate campaigns for redress and reparation.
Statements/ Petitions: Occasionally, the MFWA issues statements on FOE and/or media rights incidents that occur. Statements are also issued on emerging issues or steady trends in the landscape to communicate the organisation’s position. Sometimes too, depending on the nature, magnitude and/or frequency of specific violation(s) or issue(s), the organisation singlehandedly, or in collaboration with journalists, national partner organisations, and/or global FOE community petitions governments, state security agents or political parties to demand specific redress actions.
Safety of Journalists and Anti-Impunity Campaigns: Activities on the safety of journalists and anti-impunity campaigns include the monitoring and reporting of abuses against journalists to highlight their plight and call the relevant authorities to action. Often, a lot of the violations go unpunished and nurtures a culture of impunity. With support from our funding partners, we sometimes take up specific cases and pursue consistently through campaigns to get justice for the victim(s). In addition to specific issues, the organisation also undertakes general anti-impunity campaigns to highlight the many violations that have not been redressed. In such campaigns, specific calls are made to governments, regional bodies and the respective UN special rapporteurs to intervene.
The MFWA also takes proactive steps to improve the safety of journalists’ situation in the region. This is often done through training workshops that equip journalists with knowledge and skill on how to stay safe in the line of duty, especially in conflict situations and also during electioneering periods.