freedom of expression

How technology issues impact women’s rights: 10 points on Section J

APC on 9 Mar 2015
APC's advocacy for the re-prioritisation of Section J at the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women asks governments to recognise the critical role that the media and ICT play in both advancing and stifling women's rights. At the same time, it is vital that women's rights activists and organisations examine how ICT affects their work and take up Section J demands. To that end, 10 Points on Section J describes ICT's growing impact on a variety of issues related to women's rights, from access and agency to economics and ecology. Learn more about each of the 10 issues and related demands and draw on this resource as you work to inject gender equality into all aspects of media and technology, increasing women's ability to fully enjoy their rights online and off.

Difficulties in documenting: Why it can be hard for women to speak out

Sara Baker on 30 Nov 2014
I've been trying to interview women and girls for the documentation action that Take Back the Tech! announced. I've found it's more difficult than I anticipated, so I wanted to explore the reasons why because I think they are directly related to the theme of freedom of expression.

Violence silences: Document. Challenge. Reclaim our right to expression

on 17 Nov 2014
How do you challenge existing inequalities by speaking up? When you voice your thoughts, do you face threats and abuse? How is violence used to disrupt solidarity and collective action where you are? How do you fight back? This year's Take Back the Tech! campaign invites you to help us reframe the conversation about violence against women as a violation of our fundamental human right to freedom of expression. Get involved!

What's the point of the revolution if we can't tweet? Women Human Rights Defenders speak out

on 21 Oct 2014
Syrian activist and blogger Razan Ghazzawi and Lebanese activist, blogger and APC's EROTICS project coordinator Nadine Moawad were joined by Kate Kroeger, Executive Director of the Urgent Action Fund and Mary Lawlor, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders for a lively panel on the challenges faced by women human rights defenders and what the international community can do to help.

International Women's Media Foundation website hacked

on 15 Sep 2014
The website of the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) suffered a complex brute-force attack last Friday, Sept 5. The website that features the work of the IWMF and promotes the empowerment of women journalists worldwide, was defaced and most of its original content destroyed.

Erika Smith: "It’s society’s responsibility, the companies’, and our countries’ to keep us safe"

on 7 May 2014
People Links is a monthly online gathering hosted by May First/People Link members, for members and open to the public. On 27 March they hosted a discussion on technology-related violence against women and the tensions that exist between combating hate speech and the right to freedom of expression. The discussion featured Erika Smith from the APC Women's Rights Programme (WRP).

Namita Aavriti: Through a freedom of speech and privacy laws lens

Flavia Fascendini on 6 Apr 2014
Namita Aavriti of the Alternative Law Forum speaking on the petition filed in the Supreme Court seeking a ban on online pornography from the prism of freedom of speech and privacy laws. She was speaking at the "Tangled, Like Wool" meeting held in New Delhi on January 28, 2014 as a part of the EROTICS India project.

Join People Links Digital Gatherings to discuss technology related violence against women

on 14 Mar 2014
Join us on Thursday, March 27th from 6-7pm EST and 4-5 CT-MexDF to discuss technology related violence against women and the tensions that exist between combating hate speech versus the right to freedom of expression with Erika Smith from the APC's Women´s Rights Programme.

Our right to safety: Publication addresses women human rights defenders’ approach to protection

on 11 Mar 2014
AWID, in collaboration with members of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, has developed this publication in an effort to assess the various mechanisms developed to provide protection to WHRDs at risk, including initiatives developed by national governments, and regional and international human rights bodies. The publication counts with a specific section addressing digital security and freedom of expression issues.

No easy reading

Flavia Fascendini on 29 Nov 2013
Nora Quebral (2012) - who is credited with coming up with the concept of 'development communication' in the early 70s - argued recently in an account of Asian domestic workers in the Middle East, and the right-to-drive protest by women in Saudi Arabia, that any analysis of rights is necessarily deeply contextual: “A tough question to answer would be: in which [of these two societies] do women have more equal rights to communicate and to develop?” (p63) While a universal rights-based discourse considers those rights inalienable, Quebral's point is that it difficult to analyse the extent that to which those rights are realised, and in doing so to build easy comparisons between different contexts.

Freedom of expression: Where do we set the lines

Francoise Mukuku on 7 Oct 2013
The second African Internet Governance Forum started in Nairobi, Kenya just a day after a terrorist attack was launched on this African country. The media reported 24 hours a day from the site of the attack; Twitter hashtags were created to make sure messages related to the crisis were passed on to the masses; and Facebook ready-to-use pictures of support to Kenya were circulated. It was actually a valuable experience for freedom expression defenders, as they were able to analyse how human beings exercised their rights in a time of shock and where the limit is set.

Women’s rights and threats to online freedom: reflections from the Freedom Online Conference 17 to 18 June 2013

Francoise Mukuku on 8 Jul 2013
From 17 to 18 June 2013 I took part in the conference on online freedom known as Freedom Online. This conference, carrying the same name of the coalition behind it, highlighted the continent in which it was hosted. In the midst of the international storm about surveillance and censorship, our specific focus was online freedom in Africa and the Arab world as Tunisia, like all of the Maghreb, has one foot in both worlds.

Transparency and accountability: Finding points of agreement following the #fbrape campaign

Shawna Finnegan on 13 Jun 2013
Last month a coalition of women's organisations led a campaign to hold Facebook accountable for its content policy. In particular, how it deals with hateful speech and representations of gender-based violence shared by its users. In response, freedom of expression advocates have expressed concern and criticism over the precedent set by demands for Facebook to remove hateful content from its site. This has spurred debate over gender-based hate speech, the interdependence of human rights, and the impact of sexist online culture. Debate over how to balance freedom of expression with the right to protection from incitement to discrimination is constantly being reframed in the context of new technologies and political realities. Despite this ongoing debate, there is clear space for agreement on the need for transparency and accountability in how Facebook and other internet intermediaries deal with abusive content, and takedown requests. This point has been made by advocates from a variety of backgrounds, including the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression.

#fbrape is about gender-based hate speech, not about censorship

Chat Garcia Ramilo on 13 Jun 2013
On May 21 more than a hundred organisations lead by "Women, Action & the Media”:http://womenactionmedia.org/, the journalist Soraya Chemaly, and “The Everyday Sexism Project":http://www.everydaysexism.com/ started a campaign to “Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook":http://www.womenactionmedia.org/facebookaction/. Within a week, "Facebook accepted":https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-safety/controversial-harmful-and-hateful-speech-on-facebook/574430655911054 weaknesses and lapses in implementing their policies and their own community standards and committed to take steps to improve their content policy in identifying and removal of gender-based violent content on their platform. But not all advocates of freedom on expression online celebrated with us, arguing that Facebook should not be in the business of censoring content even if it is hate speech. This is not a new debate. It is a debate that feminists, who care deeply about freedom of expression, have faced around issues of misogyny and gender-based violent content. What is new is how these arguments play out online. What is crystal clear to those of us who are backing this campaign is that this is not a call to counter the right of users to free expression. The network of women's organisations behind this action understand that internet freedoms are critical to asserting women's rights and are staunch advocates of freedom of expression online and offline.
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