freedom of expression

Censorship in South Africa: Protecting or policing?

Sonia Randhawa on 18 Jun 2012
The Spear is a painting that depicts the African National Congress leader and South African president Jacob Zuma in a rallying pose, with genitals exposed. It has caused controversy and been defaced. Images of the painting have gone viral on internet. In late May 2012, the South African Film and Publications Board classified the painting, as "16N" - not suitable for people under the age of 16 because it contains nudity. But in a country where one in four women is raped, Sonia Randhawa wonders just who the ban is supposed to protect.

Take away personal dynamics, be anonymous

on 25 Apr 2012
Who said we should write things in our own names? It makes it personal. Today there was a debate at AWID Forum about a letter that was distributed criticising the exclusion of a certain discourse in the MENA region, and a point that was used to attack the letter was that it was not signed, you can't identify the authors of the letter, and no one "to take responsibility" for its content.

MENA: Who talks for the region?

Kateřina Fialová on 20 Apr 2012
I am an AWID participant, and it is my first time to attend the forum.I attended the first session of in-depth session on “Women’s Rights and Transitions to Democracy in the MENA region”and I stayed only for the introduction of the panelists, I was disappointed and I left. I found no young feminists on board, no one who is actually taking part on the ground in the region, the panelists came from a funding organization, AWID, UNFPA and an international women's rights organization. But where are the feminists on the ground?

Opportunities for Ecuadorian women to connect their rights online

Flavia Fascendini on 5 Apr 2012
In the interview with Flavia Fascendini of GenderIT.org, Valeria Betancourt, manager of APC’s Communications and Information Policy Programme, argues that the incorporation of knowledge transfer through technology, connectivity for the information and knowledge society, and finally, inclusion and the guarantee of human rights within the broad strategies of Ecuador’s National Plan for Good Living for 2009-2013 represents an excellent opportunity for a structural consideration of women’s rights in relation to the internet.

Brazil, Magaly Pazello: “We have no specific debate on women's internet rights”

Flavia Fascendini on 5 Apr 2012
Magaly Pazello, activist and specialist researcher in gender and information and communication technologies, recently joined the team that developed the Brazil report for the UN's Universal Periodic Review. In discussion with Flavia Fascendini, the editor of GenderIT.org, Pazello confirmed that there is still a great deal to do with regards to the connection between women's rights and a broad understanding of the internet.

Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of South Africa

APC on 4 Apr 2012
This joint submission from APC, CALS, CIVICUS, Gender Links, Highway Africa Chair in Media and Information Society, IDASA, ODAC, Right 2 Know, SANGONet, Section27, and SERI focuses on freedom of expression, the right to information, freedom from censorship; freedom of the press, the right to privacy, and the importance of affordable access to the internet in South Africa. The submission criticizes women's underrepresentation in media ownership, and highlights the importance of safe public internet access for women, specifically marginalised women, e.g. unemployed women in rural areas.

The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and the internet: Submission to the UN HRC by APC

APC on 23 Feb 2012
In this submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, Association for Progressive Communication (APC) acknowledges the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association to be together with the right to freedom of expression at the core of a democratic and open society and makes recommendations for how these rights can be promoted and protected online.

Take Back the Tech! But know the risks first

erika on 13 Dec 2011
Like any tool, ICTs can be tremendously useful, but dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. This is doubly true for activists and women's rights defenders. Jennifer Radloff and Erika Smith speak to participants from one of our secure online communications for women human rights defenders workshops who share their own experiences with ICTs and what they've learned from the training.

Help us to "make the connection" between human rights and internet rights

Kateřina Fialová on 12 Dec 2011
When did you first realise how your freedom of expression or association could be violated online? When did you first "make the connection" between human rights and internet rights as a women human rights defender? The "Connect Your Rights campaign" campaign and GenderIT.org is calling for submissions of blogs, poems, digital stories, artwork and other visuals to help others make the connection.

Silence is not the solution - women bloggers stand up to trolls

Grady Johnson on 18 Nov 2011
The net is not neutral. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the experience of women bloggers. Women bloggers face an unprecedented level of harassment and abuse online - both in terms of the volume and vitriol of attacks. But now women writers everywhere are standing up and speaking out against cyberharassment.

Commentary to the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

Kateřina Fialová on 13 Sep 2011
The Commentary to the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders maps the rights protected in the Declaration and explains in what parts of the document are they protected, unpacks what each right entails and which are the common restrictions and violations of those rights, and lastly highlights good practices and recommendations regarding those rights. It pays particular attention to the specifics of the situation of women human rights defenders and the particular challenges they face, The guide is based mostly on information received and reports produced by the institute of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

Connectedness or alienation?

ItsAllMaya on 13 Sep 2011
Women's human rights activist Edna Aquino remarks on how ICTs have impacted her work, presenting both new opportunities and new risks. In her interview with new GenderIT.org writer, Maya Ganesh, Edna argues that activists using ICTs must be mindful of alienating women with the use of excessive jargon, and must always be keenly aware that there are inherent risks in online communications. However, she argues that these problems can be remedied through secure online communications training and capacity building.

ICT skills gap = online security risks

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza on 13 Sep 2011
GenderIT.org contributor Mavic Cabrera-Balleza interviews Mary Jane Real, outgoing coordinator of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition about the use of internet and information and communication technologies by women human rights defenders, the opportunities they present as well as the digital security risks women human rights defenders confront. Real goes on to share her ideas on how the risks could be minimized or eliminated.

“Defending yourself means defending your community”

Jennifer Radloff on 13 Sep 2011
In the second part of the interview with c5 and anonymous, the trainers from the secure online communications workshop provide strategies for mitigating some of the dangers for women's human rights defenders. While examining the practices of policy-makers, internet intermediaries and every day users, they conclude that security means more than just awareness -- it requires behavioural change.

The changing face of women's rights activism: be careful what you say online

Jennifer Radloff on 13 Sep 2011
Jennifer Radloff, GenderIT.org contributor, and Running Toddler, a participant of a recently hosted workshop in secure online communications for women human rights defenders, interviewed the workshop's trainers, c5 and anonymous. In this first part of the interview, the trainers talk about their experience in training activists and human rights defenders to use technology securely, and the challenges inherent in communicating safely as feminists and women's human rights defenders, and the importance of awareness that these technologies can both serve us and put us at risk.
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